FLAIM Systems, which makes virtual reality-based technology for training firefighters, has announced a $6.7 million Series A round, led by the Victorian government investment vehicle Breakthrough Victoria.
FLAIM was established in 2019 to migrate technology from Deakin University in fields including virtual reality and haptics into a new company, and has since achieved sales to over 300 organisations worldwide. These include defence, emergency services, training and private entities.
The new funding – $5 million of which came through Breakthrough Victoria – would help the company with its expansion and R&D. It anticipates 25 new hires by 2026.
The current focus is on the Australian, USA and UK markets.
“This investment will provide FLAIM with the foundations for global expansion as we focus on addressing opportunities to provide safer, smarter, deeper learning solutions to high-risk and emergency situation training programs in the US and UK as well as Australia,” said CEO Simon Miller in a statement on Wednesday.
“With the annual cost of firefighter injuries estimated by the US Fire Administration at between US$1.6 billion and US$5.9 billion in the US alone, and 14% of all injuries incurred during training, we see significant scope to commercialise FLAIM’s innovative Australian technology as we seek to protect the lives of those who respond to hazardous fire, safety, rescue and emergency situations.”
Miller was a seed investor in FLAIM and has personally invested $1 million in the company since. Besides him and Breakthrough Victoria, the round was supported by existing investors including major shareholder Deakin University, Significant Capital Ventures and FLAIM staff.
Breakthrough Victoria Chairman John Brumby, a former Victorian premier, hailed the VR company as creating world-first technology.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line to keep our community safe – this innovation in virtual reality training will help keep them safe during training and provide the experience they need on the frontline,” said Brumby.
FLAIM is based at the Manufutures facility at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus.
Its FLAIM Trainer product recreates the stress and randomness of real-world scenarios, without the danger. It can demonstrate over 80 different scenarios, and has features including a heat vest, haptics to make a replica firehose kick back like it would in real life, and the ability to collect data like stress levels, air and water usage, and other metrics.
Picture: credit FLAIM Systems