In this instalment of Business Leader Insight, we spoke to Dr Alex Young, the CEO and founder of Virti: a Bristol-based tech firm using XR and AI to set a new gold standard for immersive learning.
A trauma and orthopaedic surgeon by training, Alex built and sold his first company whilst still at medical school. He’s won multiple awards with Virti including the VR Healthcare Award at The VR Awards and ‘Best Startup’ at the Mayor of London’s Medtech Business Awards. Virti is also part of the NHS’ prestigious Innovation Accelerator Programme.
Virti‘s mission is to improve human performance by making experiential training affordable and accessible to everyone on the planet. To do this Virti uses virtual and augmented reality coupled with AI to transport employees into difficult to access environments and safely assesses them under pressure to improve their performance.
Virti operates in healthcare where the system is used for health professional training as well as patient education and Virti also provides soft-skills training to corporates including leaderships, anti-bullying and harassment training and training on infrequent but hazardous events.
Here’s a breakdown of what we discussed in the interview:
- Can you start by giving a background to your career? (1:28)
- Having sold a company as a medical student and scaled a company in your spare time while working for the NHS, where would you say your work ethic comes from? (5:16)
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Virti and how have you reacted to it? (7:11)
- What role does technology have in the future of the healthcare sector? (11:21)
- The company operates in both the UK and US, what would you say are the differences between the two countries when it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation? (14:49)
- Funding seems to be funnelled into apps and social media platforms, rather than a broad array of businesses. Is that what you are seeing and is that a negative in some ways? (18:38)
- Looking at the future, how can virtual reality and augmented reality play a bigger role for companies? (21:15)
- Where are you based and how many employees do you have at Virti? (23:59)
Questions from the public
- Based on your experience, what advice would you have for leaders considering looking for funding for the first time? (24:39)
- Do you think there’s space for more collaboration in the tech sector? (27:09)
- What advice would you give to other business leaders who haven’t adopted emerging technologies into their business and way of working yet? (28:31)
- What has been the most difficult challenge in your career and how have you overcome it? (30:28)
- What is the best advice you’ve ever received? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEU3NBhrBd4&t=1919s)
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