December 11, 2021

VR Startup, Immerse, Partners With Largest English School Chain in Japan to Launch First Ever VR Language School

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California, 11th December 2021: Four years ago KDDI, one of the big 3 telecom conglomerates in Japan, announced they were diversifying their portfolio by buying the largest English language tutoring chain in the country. Their goal was simple: leverage their $50b telecom business (yes, they’re 35% larger than Softbank) to bring cutting edge technology to the antiquated $4b English tutoring market in Japan.

AEON, the largest Japanese Eikaiwa who has provided high quality in-person English tutoring since 1973, found itself disrupted like so many others by the Covid-19 pandemic. The need to innovate in order to survive became their top priority.

That’s where Immerse enters the story. 

Quinn Taber founded Immerse in 2017 while working for three years with refugees during the Syrian Civil War. With a dream to provide underserved students with greater access to high-quality immersive language learning, he moved back to California to build the world’s first VR education platform. 

The Immerse founding team never could have guessed what was in store when they launched in 2018. Things grew steadily for the first year and half. But it all changed when members of their team were at a conference in Tokyo in March 2020.  News suddenly broke out about a pandemic that was sweeping through Tokyo. The conference was canceled early and the team jumped on the next flight home.  

While the world came to a screeching halt, it was clear that an opportunity was presenting itself so Immerse and the AEON executive team began collaborating to build a new immersive and fully-remote VR course for existing and new AEON student living across Japan.

After a six month pilot, multiple beta groups, countless hours of of market testing, VR curriculum authoring, and strategic planning, Immerse is proud to announce that AEON has launched their brand new “AEON VR” business unit, powered by Immerse.

AEON VR Airport Conversation Lesson

The new AEON VR program is uniquely designed to provide serious language learners in Japan with remote access to high-quality, immersive, synchronous English language learning experiences in a virtual world purpose-built to cultivate social connection and help students develop communicative confidence in the English language. At the start of each AEON VR class, eight students from across the country can gather together by putting on a Meta Quest 2 VR headset (formerly Oculus Quest 2) which transports them into a variety of scenarios, both familiar – practicing small talk at a party – and new – practicing presentation language skills in a medieval castle or a space station. Together, a the class can experience a new kind of English language learning that is seriously fun, seriously social, and seriously effective, all from the comfort of their living room. The online English language classroom at AEON is now a virtual reality learning experience!

To celebrate the launch of AEON VR, students, teachers, and Immerse staff met at AEON’s flagship campus in the heart of Tokyo on December 11th to commemorate the launch of their partnership. The attendees of the event included Japan’s top TV stations, media companies, and EdTech journalists, while AEON provided free VR English lessons to their first batch of immersive language learners. The VR lessons were filled with joyful conversation, breakthroughs over fear of speaking, and - most importantly - genuine social connection that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Quinn Taber, Founder and CEO of Immerse, shared during the AEON VR launch that “it’s been such a huge honor getting to work together with the incredible team at AEON and KDDI. Their brand is the gold standard for English learning in Japan and we have big hopes for what our partnership will mean for millions of learners across Japan in the years to come.”

The successful launch of AEON VR is a declaration of the value of VR in education beyond the hype. Virtual Reality is here to stay and the movement of immersive language learning, pioneered by Immerse and their trusted partners, is just getting started. 

Links to Japanese Media Coverage: 

Images from the AEON VR launch at the Ginza, Tokyo campus:

AEON VR Partnership Cover Image
AEON VR International Student
AEON VR Cafe Scene 1
AEON VR Meeting Room Scene
AEON VR Lesson in Session
AEON VR Cafe Scene 2
AEON VR Airport Scene
AEON VR Student in Action
Immerse Welcome Deck Scene 1
Meta Quest 2 Virtual Reality Headset and Controllers
Immerse Welcome Deck Scene 2
Immerse 360 Image Observation Deck Scene

About Immerse

Immerse Inc., founded in 2017, is a Southern CA-based, award-winning language learning Metaverse company on a mission to revolutionize learning to cultivate social connection. Immerse is the virtual world where serious language learners come to have fun, build community, and activate fluency for life.

Name: Immerse Inc. (Japanese Branch: Immerse Japan Co., Ltd.) 

CEO: Quinn Taber

Japan office: Shinjuku Park Tower N 30F, 3-7-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-1030, Japan 

Immerse official website: https://immerse.online/

*Press Contact: Christian Rowe, Co-Founder & CRO at Immerse

*Press Contact Email: christian@immerse.online

About AEON

Since its establishment in 1973, AEON has earned a reputation for developing world-class human resources through language education optimized for Japanese people. We have developed original teaching materials to help Japanese people improve their English. We employ both Japanese and foreign teachers with excellent personalities and teaching skills. Since becoming a member of the KDDI Group in 2018, we have been able to combine AEON's expertise in "English education for Japanese people" with the KDDI Group's tele communication technology to provide the latest and highest quality services. 

AEON corporation. currently has approximately 250 schools in major cities throughout Japan, and has created an environment and curriculum that makes it easy for young children, students, and adults to attend and learn. The group has more than 80,000 students, 50% of whom are children who will be the leaders of the future, a testament to the trust placed in AEON

AEON official website: https://www.aeonet.co.jp 

Christian Rowe
Christian Rowe is one of the co-founders and the Chief Growth Officer at Immerse. He loves unearthing new ways to help people grow, educating markets about new possibilities, and leveraging cutting-edge technology to help make human transformation possible.

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