Helping professional workers upskill in immersive VR, London’s Gemba raises $18 million

London-based corporate Metaverse developer Gemba aims to build virtual worlds for corporate training. It announces the raising of 18 million dollars in Series A led by the New York investor Parkway Venture Capital. This funding, raised at a valuation of $60 million, is expected to help grow Gemba’s business in North America, while enhancing EMEA.

A lot has been said about the metaverse, but one thing most can agree on, at least in terms of the full virtual reality that has fueled most of the hype, is that the metaverse will likely impact the organization first, and be part of the future of work.

On January 20, Microsoft announced that it was shutting down an early Metaverse-like VR app it acquired a few years ago, AltSpaceVR, after rolling much of the useful Metaverse technology into its enterprise-led mixed reality vehicle, Microsoft Mesh.

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For the enterprise, learning is probably one of the most obvious wins in the commercialization of virtual reality. In fact, practicing new skills in VR, especially manual skills in field work or specialized fields like medicine, may attract more visual learners. At Gemba, employees of the health products corporation Johnson & Johnson and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer as well as Coca-Cola are prominent clients.

Learning is different from person to person, so there will always be a place for traditional courses and recommended reading. But where Gamba excels is in supporting corporate executive training that its students might welcome hands-on practice and experimentation.

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Based in London, Gamba 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 enterprise-specific services. For example, a logistics manager may be able to move between virtual factories to understand the pressures on the front line.

In particular, Gemba is seeking adoption among employers with multiple locations of operations, where virtual reality is a standard, hands-on approach that doesn’t put managers under pressure to time travel to learn.

“In the digital age, Gemba is an impactful solution to the biggest challenge transformation leaders face – delivering powerful and effective training at scale, in a compelling and effective way,” said Robinson.

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Along with the Series A round, Parkway Venture Capital’s general partners Gregg Hill and Jesse Coors-Blankenship will join Gemba’s board of directors.

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

Gemba’s product pipeline also includes new features, including co-location services, customizable mixed reality, AI-powered advisors, new security features and custom VR tools.

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