Studying hard in immersive VR metaverses, London

Gemba, a London-based enterprise metaverse developer, aspires to create virtual worlds for corporate training. It announces an $18 million Series A raise led by New York-based investor Parkway Venture Capital. Raised at a valuation of $60 million, the funding is expected to help expand Gemba’s business in North America while focusing on the EMEA region.

A lot has been said about the Metaverse, but one thing most can agree on, at least when it comes to the full VRs that got the most hype, is that the Metaverses will likely have a business impact first, part of the future. work category.

On January 20, Microsoft announcement it’s shutting down an early metaverse-like VR app it acquired a few years ago, AltSpaceVR, after integrating much of the useful metaverse technology into its company-led mixed reality vehicle, Microsoft Mesh.

As far as business goes, learning is probably one of the most obvious wins in the commercialization of virtual reality. Actually practicing new skills in virtual reality, especially manual skills in the field or in highly specialized fields like medicine, is likely to engage more visual learners. At Gemba, employees of health products company Johnson & Johnson and pharmaceutical company Pfizer as well as Coca-Cola are notable customers.

Learning differs from person to person, so there will always be room for traditional courses and recommended readings. But where Gemba excels is in supporting the training of business executives whose students may appreciate the practice and experimentation.

Based in London, Gemba was founded in 2013 by CEO Nathan Robinson as a spin-off from The Leadership Network, an established provider of executive-level training.

Gemba’s executive-level “masterclasses” merge VR classrooms, educational content, and business-specific services. For example, a logistics manager may be able to walk through virtual factories to understand front-line pressures.

In particular, Gemba is seeking adoption by employers with multiple operating sites, as virtual reality is a standardized, hands-on approach that doesn’t make executives rush to time travel to learn.

“In the digital age, Gemba is an impactful solution to the greatest challenge facing transformational leaders: deploying powerful and effective training at scale, in a compelling and effective way,” Robinson said.

Alongside Series A, Parkway Venture Capital’s general partners Gregg Hill and Jesse Coors-Blankenship will join Gemba’s board.

Parkway’s Series A check is intended to fund the further development of Gemba’s platform to expand beyond its existing early access customers of some 4,000 executives at 675 companies. The R&D program will likely lead to a subscription service allowing more companies to sign up.

Gemba’s product pipeline also includes new features, including colocation services, adaptable mixed reality, AI-powered consultants, new security features, and bespoke VR teaching tools.

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