VRAI secures €1.2m in funding to boost VR training tech during Covid-19

20 Aug 2020

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Seed funding for the company comes as it expects significant future demand for its virtual reality remote training technology.

With 12 employees now on the books, Dublin-based VRAI has announced the closing of €1.2m in seed funding over the past 12 months.

The start-up – which combines virtual reality (VR), AI and internet of things (IoT) technologies to create training simulations for hazardous environments – said the funding was made up of existing private investors and Enterprise Ireland.

One of the key investors in this seed round is former Bord na Móna chief Gabriel D’Arcy, who was named VRAI’s chair in 2019.

VRAI clients include the Irish Defence Forces, the International Airlines Group at Heathrow Airport and the United Nations in Somalia.

“This investment is a recognition that the market is ready for this type of solution and gives us the backing we need to continue growing our team and building out the product features our customers want,” said VRAI’s managing director and co-founder, Pat O’Connor.

“As more and more large organisations focus on remote working, reduced travel and limiting physical interaction, an enterprise-ready remote VR simulation training platform becomes a necessity to enable this.”

Impact of Covid-19

VRAI said that it hopes its remote VR training solutions will allow businesses to continue their employee training and development while many continue to work from home as a result of Covid-19.

It cited a recent PwC report that found that those trained with VR experience up to a 40pc boost in confidence in their ability to put newly learned skills into practice.

The company’s main offering is the Hazardous Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) VR system, which is used by organisations participating in high-risk activities. HEAT can also be used to train employees in remote or rare tasks, offering them an “authentic, memorable and measurable” experience.

In March, the company was named winner of this year’s Dublin City Enterprise award, taking home the top prize of €5,000.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic