In 2017 Gemba made a big bet. We had a chance encounter with virtual reality, and although the experience was immersive and spectacular, it had the aura of a technology in search of a use case. Besides, you could only access this virtual world after putting on a headset that had more in common with a gas mask than a modern piece of tech. And to make the user experience as clunky as possible, the headset was connected by wires and sensors attached to two 6ft poles.
But there was no doubting the fantastic potential of VR. And as a company with 10 years of experience training high-level executives worldwide, we recognised that as a training tool for industry, VR had vast potential. So, our bet was that virtual reality might travel the same route as the internet and go from an interesting but niche idea to a transformational global platform.
Now I’m delighted to announce that New York investor Parkway Venture Capital has backed our vision with an $18 million Series A investment, valuing Gemba at $60 million.
‘Gemba’ is a Japanese word meaning the ‘real place’ and referring to where the action happens. That action is now happening virtually in any location at any time, and the specialised software that we have developed over the years has made Gemba the go-to learning platform for many of the largest corporations in the world; Philips, Pfizer, Nike, Coca-Cola, Caterpillar, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, and Amazon to name just a few, are all valued customers using Gemba’s VR software to train their leaders and senior workforces worldwide.
The investment will accelerate our growth in EMEA and help fund our expansion into North America, where we aim to hire people responsibly, train them exceptionally and further R&D to push the boundaries of what can be done in the metaverse. Customers can expect an even wider choice of training simulations, tools, events and learning experiences, and in 2023 will see the introduction of colocation services, adaptable mixed reality, AI-powered consultants, and a customisable version for enterprise use at scale.
With the backing of Parkway, Gemba will continue our mission to make the ultimate training tool for the 21st-century enterprise.
I want to thank everyone who has been on the journey with us; the incredible Gemba team, our investors, trusted advisors - and most importantly, our customers. They all took a leap of faith in the potential of the Gemba VR product - we’re delighted to have exceeded expectations and will continue to justify that faith in the months and years ahead.
Nathan Robinson, CEO of Gemba