A virtual reality workforce learning platform has raised £14.6 million in Series A funding led by a New York investor.

Gemba, valued at £49 million by the round, has built a VR offering combining software, content and service.

It helps global enterprises including Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Pfizer to train distributed workforces across multiple sites through immersive learning programs, simulated factory walks and live training events.

Used by more than 4,000 executives from more than 675 companies, including Philips, Pfizer, Nike and Dell, Gemba grew out of executive training company The Leadership Network, founded in 2013 by CEO Nathan Robinson and chairman Victor Lewis. 

Through its collaboration with global giants like Toyota, Tesla, Google, BMW and Amazon, senior executives from non-competing companies have been able to visit their state-of-the-art factories and facilities to see best practice in action as part of an executive masterclass.

The funding was led by New York investor Parkway Venture Capital and will be used to accelerate the company’s growth in EMEA and to fund its expansion into the North American market.

What now for Tech Nation after loss of £12m grant?

“In the digital age, Gemba is an impactful solution to the biggest challenge faced by transformational leaders – the roll-out of powerful and effective training at scale, in a compelling and cost-efficient way,” said Robinson. 

“Gemba is at the forefront of a new enterprise metaverse. It’s virtual, hands-on, cost efficient and the VR learning experience is incredible, but it’s the real-world ROI that’s been beyond expectations for our customers. 

“Gemba is the right solution at the right time, and we are thrilled to welcome Parkway VC as partners in our joint mission to help people and organisations thrive in the next era of work.”

Jesse Coors-Blankenship and Gregg Hill, co-founders and general partners at Parkway Venture Capital, will join the Gemba board of directors.

“As an educator, we know that 90% of learning is about engagement. Gemba allows users to learn and train in a whole new way,” said Gemba CTO Frankie Cavanagh.

“With higher engagement levels than traditional teaching and the combination of unprecedented levels of realism and a customised learning experience, it’s a revolutionary teaching tool.”

We mustn’t allow digital skills shortage to spiral amid cost-of-living crisis