David & Sandra Whelan started ENGAGE XR Holdings in 2014 with a $1k loan from a family member to help fund a demo being created for a Kickstarter campaign for their very first product “Apollo 11 VR”. They have grown the company to a current turnover of $2.7m and a staff number of 80+ based mostly in the EU and US.
From very humble beginnings the company was initially funded through private VC funding raising $1.5m post successful Kickstarter campaign and initial promising sales for Apollo 11 VR which was a launch title for the Oculus Rift. The company was also known during this time period as “Immersive VR Education” with a focus on educational use cases of VR building both one-off unique experiences and their own virtual communications platform for education named “ENGAGE”. Also during this time period the company released various popular titles such as Titanic VR, BBC Berlin Blitz and started work on Shuttle Commander VR.
In 2018 the directors decided to list the company in London and Europe via the AIM and Euronext stock exchanges raising a further $7m to aid in expansion of the company’s business operations and to provide more development funds for the ENGAGE platform. VC funding in Ireland can be a long protracted process so an IPO was felt to be the best way to proceed with company goals providing a quicker way to access capital if and when it was needed.
In early 2019 version 1.0 of ENGAGE was released and began to gather education users with our first paying customers coming onboard in Q2 of that year. ENGAGE was used by leading educators in Oxford University & Stanford University along with a host of smaller education clients throughout 2019 gathering some momentum among early adopters of immersive technologies in the education space.
In February of 2020 with global shutdowns just hitting Europe after keeping much of Asia closed for several months the company was contacted by global telecommunications company HTC who own the Vive brand of immersive technology products. HTC were due to hold a physical conference inside China in late March but this event was cancelled due to COVID so they requested the ENGAGE team to help them build and deploy an immersive event within a few weeks. The ENGAGE team worked collaboratively with HTC to connect users both inside and outside of China with 2000 attendees logged in using VR hardware and over 1 million viewers watching a live steam of the event.
Post successful event HTC requested to purchase a stake in the business and acquired 20% of the company for a $3.3m investment and commercial terms were signed to deploy ENGAGE inside the China region under the Vive brand. In December of 2020 ENGAGE was fully deployed inside China as a clone of the Global version and rebranded Vive Sessions for Chinese users.
During 2020/21 enterprise clients started to adopt ENGAGE services for company events, meetups and onboarding. Some key clients including 3M, Fidelity, Unilever and even Facebook became clients utilizing ENGAGE services with revenues now growing organically and rapidly. H1 2021 the company raised a further $10m to expand on ENGAGE business development, marketing and technical development. In Q3 of 2021 company was renamed ENGAGE XR Holdings PLC.