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Virtual reality (VR) training startup Gemba has raised $18m (£14.6m) in a Series A funding round led by Parkway Venture Capital to expand into the US market.

Gemba’s VR platform is used by companies including Coca-Cola and Nike to train distributed workforces. Its learning programs include simulated factory walks and live training that avoids the need for staff to travel in for training sessions.

Gemba’s latest funding comes at a time when companies are increasingly exploring VR use cases following the buzz created around the metaverse, a term used to describe a hypothetical and immersive version of the internet accessed by VR headsets.

Frankie Cavanagh, CTO of Gemba, said: “As an educator, we know that 90% of learning is about engagement. Gemba allows users to learn and train in a whole new way.

“With higher engagement levels than traditional teaching and the combination of unprecedented levels of realism and a customized learning experience”

Founded in 2013, Gemba’s Series A capital will be used for Northern America expansion and EMEA growth. It will also be spent on continuing to develop its VR software by adding new training tools and experiences.

The raise puts the firm at a valuation of $60m (£47.8m).

“Gemba is set to change the way global organizations train their workforces across all critical learning and development areas – from interactive, on-the-job skills training and safety all the way to leadership training,” said Gregg Hill, co-founder and general partner, Parkway Venture Capital.

Google, Amazon and Tesla have used Gemba’s VR to show off their spaces in one of its masterclasses. Gemba has offices in both London and Gateshead.