12 Mar 2018 | 11.29 am
Immersive VR Education Raises £5.2m In IPO
Startup has initial market cap of over €20m
12 Mar 2018 | 11.29 am
A Waterford virtual reality company specialising in education has become the first Irish tech company to get away an initial public offering on the Irish Stock Exchange’s Enterprise Securities Market since 2005.
VR Education Holdings plc has begun trading on both the ESM and the LSE’s Alternative Investment Market in London after raising a gross amount of £6m (€6.7m) through a placing of 60 million shares priced at 10p each, for an initial market capitalisation of €21.6m. The costs of the IPO are estimated at £800,000 (€900.000).
VR Education Holdings plc is the holding company for Immersive VR Education, founded in 2014 by husband and wife team David Whelan and Sandra Whelan, which uses virtual reality technology to provide educational environments that allow educators and corporate trainers teach students from any location in the world in a virtual classroom.
As David Whelan put it in an interview with Business Plus last year: “Why even teach class in a classroom? If you are teaching kids about Mars, why not bring them to Mars and let them explore the surface? The possibilities are endless.”
The company has worked with Google, Oxford University, New Haven University, Royal College of Surgeons, Oculus/Facebook and HTC and its market is the distance learning sector for both education and corporate training.
The money raised from the IPO will go to developing its latest platform, ENGAGE, which is designed to enable educators and trainers to hold lessons, meetings and presentations in a virtual, multi-user environment as well as create pre-recorded or live content, the company says.
Chief executive David Whelan said: “As a VR software and technology group operating in the niche education sector, we provide students, educators and corporate trainers with a real alternative to attending brick and mortar institutes. Benefits include cost-savings and course completion rates, among others.
“With the support of our new shareholders, our focus is now on strengthening our network of educational institutions and corporations, which already includes the likes of Oxford University and the BBC, and building our sales team to roll out and position ENGAGE as the go-to platform of choice for digital education and simulated training globally.
“Furthermore, we aim to strengthen our portfolio of compelling content, replicating the success of our revenue generating, award-winning experiences including Apollo 11 VR and Titanic VR, whilst also helping others to create content for their own lessons.”
Immersive VR Education previously raised €1.3m from investors including Suir Valley Ventures, Kernel Capital Venture Funds and Enterprise Ireland. It has 21 employees in its Waterford offices, including animators, artists, researchers, marketers and developers.
Photo: Immersive VR Education founders David and Sandra Whelan. (Pix: Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic)