VR startup raises $1.5 million Series A to help English Language Schools Immerse learners Virtually
Irvine, California / October 12, 2020
Immerse, an English Language Learning focused VR startup that combines easy to use classroom facilitation with virtual reality, announced that it has completed their Series A investment round. The new round of investment, led by Eagle Venture Fund (EVF), will allow Immerse to expand their current offerings to the Oculus Quest 2 in order to take advantage of the accessibility, affordability and functionality of the newest and most state-of-the-art consumer VR technology.
Immerse has a unique and innovative business model focused on delivering a seamless VR learning experience and supporting the expansion of tech infrastructure in schools with a diverse series of offerings. Their team of VR engineers have spent the last three years building a proprietary VR software that allows English teachers to easily facilitate immersive and interactive English learning experiences with their students in virtual environments. Leveraging their knowledge of the industry, the Immerse team has focused on building a platform that utilizes the most dynamic VR experiences ready for off-the-shelf use with the most affordable VR devices, allowing institutions to quickly implement VR at scale. The ease of use, affordability and dynamic VR integration have already proven their value to educators and learners. When asked, English language educator, educational technology researcher and English professor at Chuo University in Tokyo, Professor Saito, explained that the platform is so powerful “because it enables English learners to immerse themselves in ‘real’ settings. You can practice speaking English at the airport, in a hotel lobby, or even in a presentation in front of an audience.” Each of these “ can reduce anxiety, which is one of the keys for successful English learning,” she concluded.
While many language schools and service providers are being forced to temporarily, or even permanently, close due to COVID-19, Immerse is aware that future success for many institutions will require robust learning experiences that incorporate technology as both a feature and functional experience. With this new sense of urgency, the Immerse team is working fast to fulfill new contracts and support institutions around the world who are connecting students from the furthest corners of the globe in VR. Already popular in Japan, and gaining traction in nearby regions, the series A funding allows Immerse to expand into a variety of new and emerging markets.“Things are quickly expanding beyond just East Asia,” Quinn explained, “We are now setting up partnerships with some of the largest schools in Spain and South America and we’re making plans to enter other affected regions. It’s hard to predict how long things will be on lockdown so we want to help as many students as possible.”
“In a time where isolation keeps us safe, giving both young and old learners that connection is incredibly important for both learning, as well as mental health” said Quinn. “The opportunity to leave your room, explore a new culture, and go on an adventure with your friends is a welcomed respite from loneliness and isolation.”
By the year 2027 students around the globe are expected to spend $49.9 billion dollars on English learning. Interestingly, the biggest sector in English learning, worth $21.2 billion, is the online sector.The Immerse platform focuses on that particular sector by helping language schools, secondary schools, and universities facilitate VR programs with their learning outcomes tied to the widely accepted CEFR standard (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the GSE (Global Scale of English).
When asked, Professor Saito explained that “now, Immerse is especially important because it provides a valuable experience especially for students who can’t attend their school’s classes or study abroad because of the coronavirus." Schools everywhere are scrambling to figure out how to distribute curriculum, give lectures, and create interactive learning online. But with the help of Immerse they are able to solve their most complex problem: fostering togetherness in a time of isolation. Virtual reality gives users a “sense of presence”. Despite being geographically far, VR tricks the mind into believing you are truly in-person with your peers collaborating shoulder-to-shoulder on learning activities and language tasks. Many school administrators have seen the research on how VR boosts retention and learning efficacy but are saying that “now more than ever VR is an urgent need!”
Virtual reality is the missing tool in the educator’s teaching toolbox. It provides meaningful learning experiences that make students feel connected and inspired. The team at Immerse is on a mission to build a platform that is easy to use, powerful, and effective at scale. While celebrating closing the series A round, Quinn noted, “As a society we are facing some very complex problems right now and we need creative solutions. Despite the painful circumstances we face with this pandemic, I am excited to see what entrepreneurs around the world develop in this time of need. Here at Immerse, VR is our speciality and we are going to do everything in our power to use it as an agent for good by educating and building meaningful connections for our users. I hope to see others do the same.”
ABOUT THE FOUNDER
By his 23rd birthday, Immerse CEO, Quinn Taber, had traveled to nearly 50 countries. After graduating from Pepperdine University with his B.S. in Economics, he moved to the Middle East to volunteer with refugees from Syria and Iraq. In an effort to learn Arabic he studied the top research in immersive linguistics and built a set of techniques that helped him reach fluency at record breaking pace. Astonished by how quickly his language skills improved, Quinn left the Middle East with a new vision: to build a VR language platform that invited other students to learn English by traveling to a virtual America and learn just like he had. Since launching in 2017, he and his team have participated in the Wayfinder Incubator in Irvine, USC Edventure Accelerator in Los Angeles, and Praxis Labs Accelerator in New York. He now spends his time managing their growing team, raising capital from investors, and speaking around the world at education and technology conferences.
LA Times article about Immerse launch: https://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/entertainment/tn-wknd-et-virtual-reality-language-20190404-story.html
Huffington Post article about private High School in Japan: https://www.huffingtonpost.jp/entry/story_jp_5d6f79cfe4b09bbc9ef70a67
Training Industry article about Immerse: https://trainingindustry.com/press-release/learning-technologies/immerse-emerges-from-stealth-to-launch-first-ever-virtual-reality-language-tutoring-platform/
47News interview about Immerse: https://this.kiji.is/628873660792702049?c=39546741839462401
For more information or to request a demo, please visit https://www.immerse.online/contact.