Co-founders of Equal Reality Brennan Hatton and Rick Martin recently made the Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs 2019 list, which names up-and-coming entrepreneurs ‘to watch’.
Also co-founded by Annie Harper, Chris Moran and Allison Reid, Equal Reality was founded in 2017 and creates soft skills training through virtual reality (VR) technology around themes of diversity and inclusion.
“By putting users in the perspective of minorities to experience discrimination first-hand, the technology enables users to take on a new point of view - whether based on age, gender, race or ability-level - and as a result, develop understanding and empathy,” says Brennan.
The Equal Reality team have diverse international backgrounds and experience, from growing $300M Silicon Valley startups to working in startups spanning augmented reality, fashion, sales, law, art, wall street investment, military, technology, government and corporate.
“We are all serial entrepreneurs passionate about inclusion,” says Brennan.
He says that “traditional diversity and inclusion training is not effective” and points out that “at current rates it will take over 100 years to achieve equality for gender alone at the C-level”.
“Meanwhile, Stanford has proven that Virtual Reality technology improves memory retention from the 10% effectiveness it has in traditional learning to over 70% effectiveness with VR,” he says.
“Virtual reality has also been proven to help lead to empathy and behavior change.”
Having launched in Australia, Equal Reality is doing great work with a number of large organisations across Australia including working directly with the Royal Australian Navy on sexual harassment, gender bias and culture bias, and a nationwide training rollout for Australian tech company Domain.
Equal Reality was initially funded by the Remarkable Accelerator in Sydney - run by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance focused on inclusive technology for people with disabilities.
In 2017/2018 HotDesQ offered the startup $75,000AUD in funding to support the research and development phase and help make key partnerships in Queensland for pursuing international success.
They also received a Brisbane Lord Mayor Grant of $5000 to assist their expansion to the USA in mid 2018.
Most recently the startup was funded by Halcyon, a philanthropic incubator program focused on social impact, and have expanded to Washington DC where they’ve started making partnerships to tackle pressing social issues faced in the USA..
Going forwards, Brennan says they’ll continue to grow an international community that is passionate about improving inclusion, while supporting and expanding partnerships with existing Australian clients.