Serious Labs, a designer of learning solutions for workforce training, received U.S.$5 million in Series A equity financing to continue its work developing innovating training solutions for heavy industry. The funding was made by two co-investors – United Rentals and Silicon Valley-based construction tech venture firm Brick and Mortar Ventures. Also, Serious Labs secured more than $3.5 million in new product development contracts to augment its suite of Virtual Reality equipment simulators.
Serious Labs is best known in the equipment rental industry for its aerial work platform virtual reality simulator, developed in conjunction with United Rentals’ United Academy to train people on the safe use of aerial work platforms and other products.
Serious Labs won the 2016 Silver Award in RER’s Innovative Product Award for the simulator.
Serious Labs leverages cutting-edge technology such as virtual reality in the development of interactive training solutions for the millennial labor force. The new VR equipment simulators will include additional crane models, forklifts, backhoes and skid-steer loaders. Serious Labs has a global customer base in the construction, mining, plant and maintenance, and oil-and-gas industries, including companies such as United Rentals and the Bechtel Group.
“With our unique business model of working with industry domain experts, we have attracted the attention of many global companies looking to take their training content into the 21st century,” said Jim Colvin, CEO of Serious Labs. “Our technology makes a difference in worker safety and productivity. It’s something that the industry is ready for as the boomers continue to retire and are replaced by the digital millennial workforce that likes to learn by doing rather than sitting in a traditional classroom.”
Serious Labs and United Rentals have a history of partnering together. They have innovated to improve safety and productivity with the co-developed United Academy Premium Online Training.
“This investment underscores our commitment to driving positive change in our industry through innovation,” said Jeffery Fenton, senior vice president of business development, United Rentals “Virtual reality and other technology-rich techniques can help can help our customers work more safely and with greater productivity – for example, VR simulation offers hands-on training that mirrors the operator experience on a construction or industrial site, and delivers it in a safe and controlled environment. We are pleased to support Serious Labs in its exploration of new immersive learning technologies.”
“The world of equipment operator training, certification, and validation of skills represents a large market ripe for change by VR simulation,” said Darren Bechtel, managing director, Brick and Mortar Ventures. “Virtual reality is already the gold standard in aeronautics and aviation, and adoption is now beginning in the architectural-engineering-construction world.”
“Witnessing the holes in workforce training, we’re proactively solving wide-reaching safety and productivity issues,” said Colvin. “The proof: our technology’s extensive track record of not only reducing incidents, but saving lives.”
Serious Labs is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.