is a new and innovative business co-founded by Scott Cardwell, harnessing speech recognition technology and virtual reality modules to help students and travellers learn new languages. The language learning tool provides environments where students “immerse” themselves in everyday social situations and practice their conversational skills.

The start-up business established right here in Nelson Tasman collaborated with the Nelson Regional Development Agency to launch their exciting innovation.

“The Nelson Regional Development Agency were phenomenal – they really handheld us right from the very beginning all the way through to today – where we have customers from all over the world.”

Through the Nelson Regional Development Agency ImmerseMe were able to access early-stage support to develop their business in connection with a range of services provided by Callaghan Innovation.

“There’s funding available and co-funding available where they support your R&D expenses.”

ImmerseMe received multiple Callaghan Innovation Research & Development (R&D) grants including:

  • The R&D Getting Started Grant which allowed them to undertake an early feasibility project, accessing technical assistance from a software engineer to combine new technologies such as virtual reality with advanced speech recognition algorithms. 
  • The R&D Project Grant allowed them to build an early-stage prototype that they could then test in-market.
  • The R&D Student Experience Grant which gave them access to a technology student to aid with API and technical work around the new product.

The business also accessed innovation support services through the Callaghan Innovation Skills-Building Programmes including:

  • The ‘Global Expert’ service in order to find the right resources and capabilities so they could combine google speech-to-text and associated API’s.
  • The ‘Research Library’ service, giving them free access to industry insights. This helped them to understand the technical literature around automatic speech recognition in virtual reality, resulting in better business decisions around their product fit.
  • The ‘Build for Speed workshop, a tailored programme that helps digital businesses understand how to build better, faster and more efficient software.

The Nelson Regional Development Agency can co-operate and guide R&D projects and start-up businesses like ImmerseMe, introducing them to right experts and leaders in innovation, offering a comprehensive set of tools, facilitating government funding and services, and matching their needs with the correct programmes and resources.

With a vision to be the world’s best academic language tool ImmerseMe said “the impacts of this support have allowed us to develop world-first technology from right here at the top of the South – going global.”

Watch their video below and get in touch with Mark Maguire, our Regional Business Advisor, if you would like to learn more about the support services available via the Regional Business Partner Programme.