Digital Training Solutions (t/a Near-Life) secures £241k grant funding from Innovate UK

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Greater Manchester EdTech company Near-Life receives Innovate UK funding to accelerate its immersive simulation software for the police force

  • Bolton-based Near-Life has received £241,000 to bring its training programme to market
  • The firm plans to roll out the software globally

A north west EdTech company has received a £240,000 cash boost to super-charge its immersive police training software with the help of Greater Manchester Police.

Bolton-based e-learning company, Near-Life, will use the Innovate UK cash to bring its products to market early next year and eventually target police forces globally.

Near-Life, which employs 12 staff at its University of Bolton base, specialise in delivering immersive technology solutions to support realistic, online learning. 

The tech allows users to experience immersive, role-play style training which enhances engagement and knowledge retention at a fraction of the cost of traditional scenario-based learning.

The company, founded by husband and wife team Mike Todd and Geseth Garcia in 2015, has used its cutting-edge tech to support everyone from international aid workers to ambulance service personnel and business professionals.

The new funding will allow them to develop enhanced police training to better prepare officers for the complexity of modern policing against a backdrop of continued budget cuts.

The new project will focus on creating more complex, gamified simulation technology to support complex investigations – an area of police training identified as of greatest need.

This will be developed in close partnership with Greater Manchester Police.

The initial focus will be on designing a new pilot course in the fight against Child Sexual Exploitation.

Mike said: “With the ongoing pandemic, it’s more critical than ever that organisations are able to access immersive technology that can help deliver realistic, remote training.

“We have been working closely with GMP to develop this project that will enable officers to better test potential decision-based outcomes around complex investigations, improving problem solving and decision making in a safe learning environment.

“The technology has the ability to better track performance and learning based outcomes, supporting an improved knowledge base and sharing of best practice.”

With Innovate-UK support, the development will be accelerated with product launch aimed for 2021, two years ahead of target.

This will enable Near-Life to offer its software to police forces across the UK as well as those overseas.

The tech can also be rolled out to other areas such as the fire service and the insurance sector: wherever complex investigative scenarios can benefit learning.

Co-founder Geseth added: “Following on from our successful fundraise last year, this is a positive time for the company and it’s an exciting sector to be in. 

“We’re pleased to get the funding which will allow us to scale at a rapid pace and proceed with our ambitions to become a lead provider in interactive immersive learning.”

Superintendent Gareth Parkin from Greater Manchester Police said:

“Within GMP, we have a commitment to constantly improving our learning and are always looking to explore the potential of innovative solutions that can help keep our communities safe.

“The funding from Innovate UK will enable us to work with Near-Life on this pilot project as we look to different ways of how digital simulations can support our work in tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).”

Note to Editors

For more information or interview requests please contact Shelina Begum on 07943150262 or email [email protected].


Near-Life founders Mike Todd and Geseth Garcia

About Near-Life

Near-Life has developed cutting edge interactive video learning technology to bring a gaming approach to training. It creates bespoke courses, works in partnership with existing training providers and offers Near-Life™ as an e-learning video solution for content creators.

Its unique e-learning content development platform, brings experiential learning online and gives learners realistic, scenario-based, role-play training while tracking their interactions to provide performance feedback and monitor progress.

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