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VR Education raises £6m from IPO

publication date: Mar 30, 2018
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VR Education (VRE), the Waterford-based developers of ENGAGE, an online virtual social learning and presentation platform, has raised £6.0m gross proceeds following an oversubscribed IPO on AIM and the ESM of the Irish Stock Exchange on 12 March 2018. The early stage VR software and technology company issued 60m new ordinary shares as a placing price of 10p each, implying a market capitalisation of £19.3m on admission.

Co-founded in 2014 by David Whelan (CEO) and Sandra Whelan (COO), VRE’s core focus is on the development and commercialisation of ENGAGE, which provides a platform for creating, sharing and delivering proprietary and third-party VR content for educational and corporate training purposes.

VRE says its ENGAGE platform has been designed to overcome certain limitations of MOOCs and traditional learning methods by allowing for virtual face-to-face education and training in a variety of environments regardless of the geographical location of the user.

The company plans to use the net proceeds of £5.2m to develop and market ENGAGE ahead of the roll-out of its commercial strategy in H1 2018, build out the company’s development and marketing team, produce VR content to help draw traffic to the ENGAGE platform, and for working capital and general corporate purposes. The company currently employs a team of 21 developers and programmers, including its executive directors.

Prior to admission on AIM and ESM markets, VRE has been funded primarily by investment from private institutions including Enterprise Ireland, Kernel and Suir Valley, and around €1m of revenue to date from the companies two showcase VR experiences (Apollo 11 VR and Titanic VR).

For the nine months to 30 September 2017, VRE posted an operating loss of €343k (31 December 2016: €107k – 12 months), on revenue of €468k (31 December 2016: €482k – 12 months).

VRE says it has begun collaborating with a number of institutions, including the University of Oxford and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, with a view to designing a range of VR content, and has recently been engaged by the BBC to produce content on the ENGAGE platform.

According to its Admission Document, VRE does not expect to generate significant revenue from ENGAGE in the education sector until general adoption increases over the next two to four years. In the short term, revenue will be generated from downloads of existing and forthcoming showcase VR experiences.

The company’s share price closed on 29 March 2018 at 10.75p.

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