Six months after setting up SilVR Adventures, Colin Pudsey joined La Trobe’s Global Markets Accelerator Program and never looked back.
Partnership at a glance
- Six months after setting up SilVR Adventures in 2019, Colin Pudsey joined La Trobe’s Global Markets Accelerator Program (GMAP)
- The La Trobe program led to ongoing fruitful business mentorships and insight into how to access global markets
- SilVR Adventures is now a thriving, profitable business, but La Trobe continues its relationship, often inviting the company to events.
Taking aged care residents on adventures
Tim had always dreamed of visiting the beautiful Sistine Chapel, nestled in Italy’s Vatican City. Now aged 83, thanks to start-up SilVR Adventures and their virtual reality headsets, he can take it all in, without even leaving his aged care residence.
Tim visits the Sistine Chapel. Watch video
“At some aged-care facilities it’s like everything is in black-and-white, with the only sound coming from the TV playing in the corner,” says SilVR Adventure’s founder Colin Pudsey.
“Then we’d go in with our virtual adventures and it was bright and colourful and people were talking and interacting. It gives you that shot in the arm and a reminder of why we do it.”
Established in 2019, SilVR Adventures aims to improve the lives of older adults through meaningful and shared experiences in virtual reality that stimulate memories, drive social engagement and bring joy. Up to 40 participants can be connected at once even if they’re in another room or at another facility. Within their VR headsets, screens and in-built microphones and speakers mean they can travel to a different country, experience a concert or a sporting event, or visit their wedding venue or a place they grew up.
It’s very difficult getting a start-up going, particularly in a new space with new technology, but the thing that kept us honest and kept us going was those impacts we had with people.
As people go through the powerful, immersive experience, they often laugh, share memories or cry tears of joy, whether seeing Uluru for the first time, going to the Taj Mahal or just interacting with farm animals.
“We are very lucky because we’re in a business that has a very positive impact on people’s lives,” Colin says.
SilVR Adventures has won a string of awards, including the prestigious Victorian Start-up of the Year in 2023, and it was named one of the top 500 start-ups in the world at Slingshot Singapore in 2021. It’s used in 200 places across Australia, is widely used in New Zealand and increasingly in Singapore.
Although he had no previous experience in aged care, Colin decided to apply his expertise in emerging technology when he realised populations were getting older, and that older people faced countless mental and physical issues, including isolation.
“I just started Googling aged care problems and it was like fishing with dynamite – there were pages and pages,” he says. “So many problems and so many innovation opportunities.”
In 2020, Colin joined La Trobe’s Global Markets Accelerator Program (GMAP), which gave a greater understanding of potential international markets, and set him up with invaluable mentors. Colin has felt supported by La Trobe since GMAP, being asked to join in on open days and other events.
“We’ve been part of five accelerators and they’ve all been fruitful in their own way, but La Trobe is the one where we’ve kept in close contact. You feel part of a cohort and they continue to help you. There was a gala evening for start-ups in Melbourne, and La Trobe invited us along."
To learn more, visit SilVR Adventures.
To discover more about the La Trobe University entrepreneurial network and programs, contact our Innovation and Entrepreneurship team.