This week STRIVR Labs, a company I’ve been following for many years, received $35M of funding from Workday, Accenture, Bank of America, and others. While the total amount is not enormous, the message is now clear. The Virtual Reality wave (aka Metaverse) is real and investors don’t want to be left out.
Let me explain what’s happening.
First, VR technology is now mature and companies like Walmart, Bank of America, MGM, Albertsons, FedEx, JetBlue, GE, Sprouts, and Verizon are now using it for front-line workers. Front-line employees are the most in-demand people in the workforce and these individuals need continuous training to be successful.
STRIVR, through its pioneering technology and instructional design, can teach such people all sorts of operational skills, safety procedures, maintenance techniques, and customer service responsibilities. The technology can simulate real-world robberies, help with difficult conversations with angry teammates, and deliver operational simulations at a fraction of the cost.
Now that VR headsets are around $300 to buy, companies can purchase the equipment for every store and let every employee enjoy the experience. And as someone who has experienced VR firsthand, I can tell you this type of training is interesting, engaging, and fun. And to make it even better, the STRIVR platform collects skills and capability data so companies can really see who is ready and who is not.
Why would Workday, Accenture, and Bank of America invest? Workday wants the best new learning technology integrated into its platform. Accenture is building an entire practice around the development of VR training and collaborative solutions. And Bank of America is a customer.
And by the way, VR is also a recruiting tool. Now that every retailer, healthcare company, and distribution business is struggling to find people, why not use “VR Training Featured Here” to attract people to your company? Walmart’s experience with VR proved it was one of the most fun and engaging parts of work for many of its employees.
If you haven’t experienced VR learning yet, here are some compelling statistics from STRIVR’s business.
- Over 1.5M individual learner sessions conducted in VR to date,
- Over 1M employees (individual learners) trained in VR to date,
- STRIVR now has more than 125 employees (and hiring!),
- Bank of America bringing VR training to 50,000 employees across nearly 4,300 financial centers nationwide.
- MGM Resorts initially trained 450 employees across Las Vegas, Michigan, and New Jersey resort locations as they “bring back the workforce”.
I believe this is just the beginning.
Starting this year, STRIVR has opened up its platform and is soon to deliver a set of development tools so companies and vendors can build their own VR content. Today STRIVR works with Accenture and DDI on certain new programs. Going forward the company will open its platform further to let more creators learn to build content for the system.
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