Virtual reality developer Serious Labs, based out of Edmonton, have announced receiving $5 million in Series A funding from United Rentals and Brick and Mortar Ventures. Serious Labs has also received more than $3.5 million in new product development contracts to augment its set of Virtual Reality equipment simulators.
About Serious Labs
Serious Labs uses innovative technology, such as virtual reality, in the development of training solutions for the modern, millennial labor force. The new equipment simulators will include forklift, crane, backhoe, and skid-steer loader models. Serious Labs has a global client base in mining, construction, plant and maintenance, and gas-and-oil companies, which include Bechtel Group and United Rentals.
“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 of 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 history partnering together and previously developed United Academy Premium Online Training. This made it more convenient and simple for employers to satisfy compliance training while also effectively reducing risk and cost, making their workforce safer and improving the productivity of the workforce.
Brick & Mortar Ventures is a venture capital fund that offers seed and early stage investments in the sectors of hardware and software for facility management, construction, engineering, and architecture. It identifies, backs, and enables emerging companies. Other investments have been made to HoloBuilder Inc. Concrete Sensors, and zlien.
“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 architectural-engineering-construction world.”
United Rentals is an equipment rental distributor that deploys tools, people, and solutions to build constructions. The customer base includes contractors, government agencies, municipalities, utilities, industrial and construction companies. It has also had investments in Neff Corp, NES Rentals Holdings, and Blue-Stream Services.
“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 in 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 money from this round of funding is going to be used to further develop Serious Lab’s simulators, including backhoes, forklifts, and more.