Revenue rises at VR Education as pandemic drives business

Adoption of virtual reality platform rises as restrictions fuel alternate ways of communication

David Whelan and Sandra Whelan of Immersive VR Education. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

David Whelan and Sandra Whelan of Immersive VR Education. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

 

Revenue at Waterford-based virtual reality technology company VR Education rose 83 per cent to €1.25 million in the six months ended June 30th, the company said, as adoption of its Engage platform strengthened.

The company, which also sells showcase experiences across virtual reality platforms, said revenue from Engage has increased from €200,000 in 2020 to €900,000 in the first six months of 2021, and now makes up 72 per cent of the group’s revenue.

Engage is a next generation communications platform that facilitates meetings, events, training and remote learning within virtual reality.

More than 130 customers have signed up for the platform, with Engage expanding to the United Arab Emirates.

“The first six months has seen the continued growth of Engage, building on the trends of 2020, as more and more companies and organisations around the world see VR a better way of communicating,” said David Whelan, chief executive of VR Education. “The pandemic has had a major impact on the use of Engage which is set to continue as the technology becomes more accessible, and the drive to live more sustainably, and reduce travel, picks up pace.”

He said although its previous revenue projections were similar, the pandemic had shifted where the revenue was coming from.

“We had a revenue stream for our showcase experiences like Apollo 11, Titanic and so on; that used to make up 80 to 90 per cent of our revenue. That at the moment is about 30 per cent of our revenue,” he said. “All the revenues are coming in from the platform, so that’s why we have changed focus.”

China

VRE is also developing a new corporate metaverse codenamed “Engage Oasis”, and is set for launch in the first half of 2022. That is expected to drive the Engage platform further, as will its expansion in China.

VRE’s strategic partner HTC Corporation has begun selling Vive Sessions, an Engage product, in China as part of Vive 3 headset bundle, and with new HP ProBook laptops being sold in the region.

That is a key factor for the company’s future growth, Mr Whelan said. “We work very closely with our partners HTC; they pushed it out there,” he said. “It only takes a small fraction to pick up the platform and it can be one of the most widely used metaverses in the world.”

Pretax losses widened to €1.3 million, versus €1 million a year earlier, as the company continued to invest in its business. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation loss was flat at €1 million.

The six month period also saw the announcement of an oversubscribed placing that raised €9 million at a price of 16 pence per share. Net cash at the end of the six months was €9.2 million.

“We have seen major developments in the first six months, including the roll-out of our software in China through our partnership with HTC, passing the milestone of 100 commercial customers, and VRE entering new markets, including the Middle East,” Mr Whelan said.

“The development of our new corporate metaverse codenamed Engage Oasis is set to build our product offer further and create even more demand. Our outlook is more exciting than ever as VR comes of age as a business communications tool.”