Oxford VR targets further growth after successful £10m funding round

Barnaby Perks, CEO of Oxford VR and Ash Patel, Principal at Optum Ventures.

Barnaby Perks, CEO of Oxford VR and Ash Patel, Principal at Optum Ventures.

A firm which is using virtual reality technology to transform mental health care for millions has announced a successful £10m funding round.

Oxford VR is leading the application of VR in behavioural health and builds on 20 years of research at the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University.

Mental health disorders are on the rise globally and, according to Lancet Mental Health Commission, could cost the world economy as much as $16trn by 2030.

Yet at present, around two-thirds of people experiencing a mental health challenge go unsupported; even in wealthy nations like the UK and US, more than 50% of sufferers receive no help.

Oxford VR says the sheer scale of the access gaps demonstrate the need for urgent new solutions.

Its automated VR therapy provides a scalable solution which tackles what it describes as ‘the iron triangle’ of healthcare – access, quality and cost.

Oxford VR’s cutting-edge tech offers high-quality therapy via VR, easing issues of access and cost for users.

It is a model which impressed funders in its funding drive, which was led by Optum Ventures and supported by Luminous Ventures. Previous investors Oxford Sciences Innovation, Oxford University Innovation and GT Healthcare Capital Partners all participated once again too.

Optum Ventures Principal Ash Patel said: “Oxford VR has taken a technology-led approach to create evidence-based solutions that will make treatment more accessible to patients who need it.

“We believe Oxford VR’s solutions will benefit those who need access to high-quality, effective cognitive behavioural therapy.”

The global market for VR in therapy is predicted to top £3bn by 2023.

Oxford VR is at the forefront of this sector, having proven ‘exceptional clinical outcomes’ and seeing its therapies already adopted by the NHS.

The London-based company’s co-founder and CEO Barnaby Perks says the new funding will enable further accelerated expansion.

He said: “We are tremendously excited to close this investment round and to be working with Optum Ventures to drive our next level of growth.

“We would not be at this exciting tipping point without the collective efforts of the team at OVR, in particular, Katie Bedborough our CFO and COO.

“Together with Optum, Luminous Ventures and the continued support from our existing investors we can expand our clinical leadership footprint and accelerate our pipeline of automated VR therapy treatments.”

Oxford VR claimed the award for Best Use Of VR/AR at the 2019 Go:Tech Awards, run by Business Leader.