Focus MRS, a mixed-reality virtual learning platform, has raised £150,000 in seed investment from Jenson Funding Partners (JFP), a startup investment firm.
With the fresh capital, the UK-based firm plans to build out the development team and purchase new equipment to enhance the product further, such as the addition of augmented reality holograms.
Co-founded by vocational training specialists Mark Paddock and Damian Chan, Focus MRS (Mixed Reality Streaming) is a remote learning platform combining 360 degree live streaming of classrooms and training facilities with cutting edge AR & VR teaching aids. Educators can deliver an immersive “in room” distance learning experience with the added benefit of virtual & augmented reality tools.
At Focus MRS, the teams are exploring new transformative approaches that meet educational needs more effectively (for the educator and the learner).
Speaking about the company and its mission, Co-founder and CEO of Focus MRS, Mark Paddock, said,
"With Focus MRS, you don’t have to buy a £2,500 headset to support each learner and it’s our mission to make hands-on education accessible to everyone. Even before the pandemic, we recognised a market gap between video conferencing tools and VR headsets, where there could have been a suitable remote learning option to teach practical subjects. Lockdown really focused us on the issue and forced us to develop a solution.
Paddock further added:
"We’re thrilled to have found the support of JFP, an investor that understands what we stand for and a partner that’s enabled us to scale from our beta product to full commercial rollout."
Focus MRS is designed to keep costs down by using Google Cardboard and rubber smartphone VR viewers to transport students to different environments. Educators are provided with a 360-degree camera to capture the lesson, which they can then upload to the platform. Students can log in, review their lesson timetable, select the lecture, and put on their viewer.
The startup helped enable the continuity of training as the tutor leveraged the 360-degree camera on the pitch to give remote learners an immersive coaching experience.
In the near future, Focus MRS also plans to expand its pipeline of upcoming projects and partnerships, the latest of which has been with virtual work experience provider Springpod, which supported 60,000 16 – 18-year-old students to become apprentices in AstraZeneca, the NHS, Nestle, and Airbus during the Easter half-term, allowing pupils to safely access restricted labs and hangars.