Virtual Marine Technology Inc. (VMT), developers of simulators for fast response craft, survival craft and electronic navigation training, celebrated its graduation from Memorial University’s Genesis Centre on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
VMT’s impressive success to date was recognized at a ceremony on the St. John’s campus, attended Dr. Christopher W. Loomis, Memorial University’s president and vice-chancellor (pro tempore) and Shawn Skinner, the provincial minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development.
The Genesis Centre is Memorial’s business support network for technology-based ventures which have high growth potential, and are seeking business guidance and capital.
VMT left the incubator after receiving significant venture capital investment and recruiting a senior executive with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. VMT spent three years with the Genesis Centre where company personnel received business support and mentoring in an entrepreneurial environment.
VMT emerged from research conducted at Memorial and the National Research Council. Since its acceptance into the Genesis Centre in 2005, the company has grown to employ 15 full time staff and has offices in St. John’s, NL and Victoria, BC. Over that time, VMT has also filled over 50 engineering and business work term placements.
Captain Anthony Patterson and Randy Billard lead the VMT team. As president and CEO, Capt. Patterson has a strong background in marine simulation. He was the director of the Centre for Marine Simulation at Memorial’s Marine Institute and he was also senior staff officer in the Canadian Coast Guard. As chief technical officer and executive vice president, Mr. Billard leads a team of engineers in the continuous development of small craft simulation technologies. As technical lead of project development, he has experience in simulation hardware and software integration, mathematical modeling, graphical modeling, quality assurance and project management.
GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund and an early stage equity investor recently invested a combined $1.6 million into VMT. This investment provided resources to bring VMT’s state-of-the-art technology to the international market place.
“The Genesis Centre helped prepare VMT for investment and introduced the Company to its initial investors. Investment in VMT enabled us to attract a strong, and experienced, leadership team to propel the company forward. Securing investment is just one example of how the credibility of being a Genesis Centre client helped VMT,” said Capt. Patterson.
“The provincial government has enjoyed a close working relationship with VMT over the years,” said Minister Skinner. “It was identified during the early stages of our relationship that the growing demand in Canadian, American, and international markets for fast rescue craft simulation training was significant. Today, we celebrate its continued success and development as a key player in Newfoundland and Labrador’s expanding ocean technology community.”
“Through the Economic Action Plan, we are making significant investments in projects and initiatives to help us weather this global economic downturn,” said Peter MacKay, federal minister of National Defence, minister for the Atlantic Gateway and minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador. “But in the midst of that immediate response, we have not lost sight of the other fundamental requirements of a strong economy capable of weathering such adversity – solid, innovative, diverse companies with a promise of long-term growth and prosperity. Companies such as VMT.”
“Memorial University is excited to have played such an important role in the early and later development of VMT,” said Dr. Loomis. “This proves once again what our talented and resourceful people can achieve, both nationally and internationally, when coupled with the right support and resources.”
The Genesis Centre is a division of the GENESIS Group Inc., the technology commercialization arm of Memorial University. Since its inception in 1997, the Centre has graduated 27 companies, and helped its clients secure private investment in excess of $11 million. The Genesis Centre is funded in large part by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Memorial University.