Serious Labs receives $5 million to develop VR training
By Lindsey Anderson14 August 2017
Serios Labs has received $5 million in a Series A equity financing round through an investment by United Rentals and Brick and Mortar Ventrues. The money will be used to develop and improve its virtual reality (VR) training. In addition, Serious Labs also secured $3.5 million in new product development contracts to augment SLI’s suite of VR equipment simulators.\
Serious Labs, based in Edmonton, Alberta, is a developer in cutting-edge technology like VR in interactive training solutions. The new VR equipment simulators will include additional crane models, forklifts, backhoes and skid steers. Serious Labs has a global customer base in the construction, mining, plant and maintenance, and oil and gas industries.
“With our unique business model of working with industry domain experts, we have attracted the attention of many global companies looking to take their training content into the 21st century,” said Jim Colvin, CEO, Serious Labs. “Our technology makes a difference in worker safety and productivity. It’s something that the industry is ready for as the boomers continue to retire and are replaced by the digital millennial workforce that likes to learn by doing rather than sitting in a traditional classroom.”
Serious Labs and United Rentals have a strong history of partnering together, according to the companies. They have innovated to improve safety and productivity with the co-developed United Academy Premium Online Training. “This training has made it easier and more convenient for employers to satisfy their need for compliance training while effectively reducing cost and risk, improving productivity and making their workforce safer,” a statement said.
“This investment underscores our commitment to driving positive change in our industry through innovation,” said Jeffery Fenton, senior vice president of business development with United Rentals. “Virtual reality and other technology-rich techniques can help our customers work more safely and with greater productivity—for example, VR simulation offers hands-on training that mirrors the operator experience on a construction or industrial site, and delivers it in a safe and controlled environment. We are pleased to support Serious Labs in its exploration of new immersive learning technologies.”
“The world of equipment operator training, certification, and validation of skills represents a large market ripe for change by VR simulation,” said Darren Bechtel, managing director, Brick and Mortar Ventures. “Virtual reality is already the gold standard in aeronautics and aviation, and adoption is now beginning in the Architecture-Engineering-Construction (AEC) world.”
“Witnessing the holes in workforce training, we’re proactively solving wide-reaching safety and productivity issues,” said Colvin. “The proof: our technology’s extensive track record of not only reducing incidents, but saving lives.”
Serious Labs won an Innovative Technology International Award for Powered Access (IAPA) earlier this year. Judges said, ”This virtual reality simulator brings to the access industry technology that has previously only been available in the military and aerospace industries. It offers a fantastic learning experience for operators.”