Shares in potential education disruptor VR Education (VRE:AIM) are trading almost 12% higher at 11.75p in debut AIM dealings.

VR Education has raised £6m through an IPO priced at 10p, giving it a debut market cap of £19.3m. It plans to use the funds to build on its existing platform to improve education and corporate training using virtual reality.

READY TO ENGAGE

The company has already had success with its Engage platform, its virtual reality engine, as its Apollo 11 experience won multiple awards. This recreation of the 1969 space landing has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide on a variety of systems including PlayStation and the Oculus Rift VR headset and has brought in almost €1m in revenue alone.

VR Education has released other experiences including Titanic VR, a virtual exploration of the famous ship wreck. It plans to use the technology to help educators make learning a more immersive experience.

CEO Dave Whelan joked with Shares that he wants to turn ‘educators into rock stars’, although the business case for the company includes bringing the cost of education down.

Student debt has been spiraling in recent years and according to figures from the company, the average student debt last year was $40,000. The group plans to release a series of 10 free lectures on Engage with Oxford University.

There will be costs involved with accessing the content and some will only be available to students of universities like Oxford for example, although the system will allow students access to some of the best academics in their respective fields.

Unlike online courses, which less than 15% of students finish according to the company, students are more likely to engage with its system.

FIRST MOVER ADVANTAGE

The VR education market is expected to grow to $1.9bn in 2021, up from $187.5m in 2016. One barrier to entry is the cost of the technology needed to experience the lessons although the costs of VR devices have been dropping and are expected to fall further.

The wider VR market is set to hit $29.5bn by 2020, up significantly from $7.1bn last year. There are plenty of rivals to VR Education, yet the company believes that its ‘first mover’ advantage should help keep it ahead of the competition.


Issue Date: 12 Mar 2018