A Newcastle company that provides immersive training programmes for industry using extended reality software has raised £1m in investment.

The money for Luminous Group has come from the North East Venture Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia Ventures.

The funding will enable the Luminous Group to roll its technology out to a wider audience and create 10 new jobs in the year ahead.

It comes as the company is set to open a third office in the Middle East to support its growing client base in the region.

The Luminous XR (extended reality) platform – which incorporates augmented, mixed and virtual reality – enables users to create training programmes quickly and efficiently and track students’ progress.

The system, which is ideal for energy companies and manufacturers, can recreate real-life situations including hazardous environments in a safe and repeatable way.

Luminous has already won a major contract from a leading Middle East energy company and recently opened an international office in Bahrain.

It plans to open an office in Saudi Arabia later this year, and launch a global marketing campaign.

The funding will also enable it to further enhance its platform to make it fully ‘self service’, enabling companies to create their own training programmes, and to launch a new marketplace where training providers can sell their own content.

Luminous is run by Ben Bennett, CEO, and Nigel Hope, the CTO.

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Mercia Ventures first invested in 2017 to help it develop the platform.

The latest round is the third to date and brings the total received by the company to over £1.9m, which includes funding from the NEVF and Mercia’s EIS funds.

Ben Bennett said: “While it is still early days for the ‘metaverse’, VR and XR technologies have matured significantly and the launch of Apple’s first mixed-reality headset next year is expected to boost awareness and drive global demand.

“The funding received from Mercia puts Luminous in a strong position to capitalise on that.”

Chris McCourt, of Mercia Ventures, said: “Current training techniques used in industry are expensive and outdated. Immersive training in a virtual environment could significantly improve performance but creating such programmes has been challenging until now.

“The Luminous XR platform is enabling much wider adoption. This latest investment will enable the company to scale its business and become a global leader in XR training.”

Mercia Ventures is a proactive venture capital investor focused on being the first-choice partner for growth. Mercia Ventures makes equity investments of up to £10m across all sectors, with specialisms in software, consumer, healthcare and deep tech.

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