Pioneering virtual reality business becomes latest to join Hull’s thriving tech community

Pictured at the Stage @TheDock amphitheater outside Vertual’s new offices are, from left, Wykeland Group’s John Gouldthorp, with Vertual executives Professor Andy Beavis, Chief Science Officer; Debra Leeves, Chief Executive Officer; Fiona Law, Business Manager; and James Ward, Chief Technical Officer.

A pioneering business leading the way in virtual reality radiation training systems is relocating to the heart of Hull’s tech community as it continues to grow its team.

Vertual’s state-of-the-art training system, VERT, is used to train radiographers and physicists in universities and teaching hospitals in more than 30 countries across the world.

The business has grown to become the leading supplier of virtual reality (VR) simulation products that are used for teaching and training the next generation of radiation therapists and other healthcare professionals globally.

Now, the company has relocated from The Maltings in Hull city center to join the ever-growing digital community at developer Wykeland Group’s @TheDock tech campus in the city’s Fruit Market.

Vertual is occupying a 2,000 sq ft office suite on the second floor of the building next to the Center for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub, overlooking the Stage @TheDock amphitheater.

The Vertual team has more than doubled over recent years and further recruitment is planned following a phased move to the new offices, where staff will operate through a combination of fully remote, hybrid and office-based working.

Fiona Law, Business Manager at Vertual, said @TheDock was the place to be in Hull for tech businesses and the company’s move supports its future ambitions.

She said: “The minute we walked into our new office space we knew it was perfect for us and we wanted to be part of the tech community here.

“We’d already looked at lots of locations, but this office is great and ideal for us, close to the city centre, with excellent transport links and with all the restaurants and shops in Humber Street on the doorstep too.

“We’re expanding our product range and we have lots of great projects in the pipeline. We’re increasing our head count and recruiting for new talent across the business, including more software engineers.

“It’s an exciting time for Vertual”. We’re looking forward to settling into our new home and being part of this community.”

Vertual was launched in Hull in 2007 by three founders as a spin-off company from a joint research project involving the University of Hull and Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The company’s products include virtual reality tools to train students, inform patients and develop the skills of radiographers and physicists, as well as simulating the functions of treatment machines.

Debra Leeves, Chief Executive Officer at Vertual, said: “The past few years have seen rapid growth at Vertual. We have doubled the number of employees, developed and expanded our range of VR training products and expanded internationally.

“Last year was Vertual’s most successful and profitable year since the company started. Despite Covid-19 and navigating our way through new Brexit rules and paperwork, we changed our business model, which led us to think about how we would want to use our office space in the future.

“When we started looking for new office space we knew we wanted it to be modern, light, hi-tech and among other growing and successful companies in the city. But, most of all, we wanted it to be a place where our team and future employees would want to work.”

Vertual’s new home has enabled the company to accommodate dedicated desks for office-based staff as well as hot desks used by team members who split their time between the office and remote working.

It also features an assembly and test area for newer products, such as the company’s Compact VERT system and a quiet working area where Vertual’s growing R&D team can focus on creating the next new products and hold project meetings.

Vertual’s move to @TheDock continues the growth of the tech community, which has been driven forward by Wykeland. The Hull-based developer’s investment at the waterfront site began with the opening of the C4DI tech hub six years ago and has continued in phases, including the recent opening of a second C4DI building.

@TheDock has generated hundreds of highly-skilled jobs and has been a vital element in the transformation of the Fruit Market area into a vibrant commercial, creative, cultural and residential community and magnet for investment.

John Gouldthorp, Asset Manager at Wykeland, said: “We’re really pleased to welcome the Vertual team to @TheDock, where they will be very much at home among so many other tech businesses that are leaders in their fields.

“Vertual is just the latest digital venture to recognise the many advantages of being part of a community where collaboration is an integral part of the culture.

“Those benefits extend to being located within the Fruit Market, which offers the vibrant atmosphere and social life that is so attractive to both existing employees and potential recruits.”

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