The Story of Equal Reality
I have been building games and communities for 12 years. I was employee #7 at Meta. I joined Meta to experience building tech in Silicon Valley and go through YCombinator. While at Meta we raised $72M, where I was the glue between their hardware, software and developer community. I was responsible for passing on the knowledge of leaders experts in the AR VR space to our developer community, and the needs of the developer community to the team at Meta. I had incredible insights into the technology, how it was used and its strengths.
I left Meta to apply my learning of VR & Startups in the space of EduTech. To find the best content & application for VR. It was on this journey I met Rick Martin.
Rick is a co-founder at Equal Reality, and a Social Entrepreneur honoree of Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and a Young Alumni of the Year at UWollongong. Rick is also an Optus Future-Maker, a Halcyon social impact fellow, a winning team member of the UN’s UNLEASH Innovation Lab, and an alumnus of MIT’s Global Entrepreneurship Program.
Before working at Equal Reality, Rick had previously worked with clients in the tech industry at Bloomberg, and IBM. While studying Law and Commerce at University Rick had stints working in Corporate Law in Malaysia, stockbroking on Wall Street, and was a Reservist Infantry Officer in the Australian Army.
Starting Equal Reality
Together we prototyped an application around unconscious bias, and published a report on the potential of VR for unconscious bias which went viral in the HR space.
We received funding from Remarkable & The Cerebral Palsey Alliance to build inclusive technology for people with disabilities, and released our first public VR training application around gender and disability.
We took on the Royal Australian Navy as our first client. We worked directly with the Chief of the Navy training the executive team. developing VR training for Sexual Harassment, Culture Bias on aboriginal inclusive & Gender Bias around maternity.
We received funding from Queensland State Government, and took on Australia’s largest bank as a client building and running VR training for LGBT Descrimination. A case study of 161 people. 99% of people understood descrimination. Receiving an NPS of 91, when world class D&I typically gets 60.
As our client base grew, we did more case studies. A nation wide roll-out with Domain & MWAH saw everyone in the company share an experience, embedding D&I in their culture and resulting in 96% feeling prepared to act on it in the workplace.
Scaling to the World
Halcyon, the DC based Social Impact Incubator funded our move to the US, and assisted the growth of our client based, where we really started accelerating, including Amazon, Booz Allen, NSW Police, PWC & 45 other world leading companies.
We started off building custom applications for every client, help us understand their solutions and make sure we are making good solutions to them,.
These custom solutions gave us international recognized as leaders in this space.
Last year we won several national & international awards, including
Invention of the Year - Technical.ly.
Learning Program of the Year - ILP
Learning Technology of the Year Runner up - ILP
The demand from the market signaled it was time for to move to the next stage of our plan, to become more scalable. We curated the best of the 20 experiences we have developed over the last 2 years and started trailing a licensing off the shelf on our website. This has rapid success, growing at 10% a week for 6 months.
This saw the use of our products grow globally, into every continent except Antarctica. This gave us some incredible learnings and insights into helping other people run training, and the importance of learning content and material around the vr experience.
A scan of 300 companies in the VR training industry by JFF labs saw us named in a highlight of the top 11 companies. The only one to be operating outside of the US, one of 4 of all 300 using AI, and the best the in empathy training.
While doing this, we cut back the number of custom builds to focus on our most important project yet. Cornell, an international leader in D&I, engaged us to co-design VR training together.
Working directly with leaders of their interactive theatre team, and Department of Diversity & Inclusion. They scripted an application for everyday inclusion for gender and race bias.
We have started testing this application with Booz Allen & PWC. Cornell is beginning research in March, and will begin internal role outs in April.
With this new application, we took all our learnings from our past experience with the library and custom clients to apply to a new product line.
The Future of Learning and Development
Virtual Reality Workshops - In a box.
Using the new Everyday Inclusion app, co-designed with Cornell University. We are packaging together everything you need to run a workshop, with a focus on content & material around the VR experience and support.
It is designed for conferences, internal & external workshops, D&I weeks and training integration, with options for access to our highly selective partner network of world leading D&I training who we have training on the use of VR.
We are also currently working on a complete learning program. Designed to roll out training in multiple locations, scale internationally with large teams or for small teams.
The training will utilize our VR technology and expertise on how to best utilize the technology, as well as content address key issues man companies, and room for customization.
To be run over weeks or months. And like our VR Workshop Product, it will have a large focus on support.
Written by Brennan Hatton