We have the mission & passion for accelerating smart growth at a global scale for the VR AR industry

We are a global team of industry experts with over 30 Chapters in major cities in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Middle East to help you locally and connect you to global opportunities. 

Chapters are run by a Chapter President whose responsibilities include hosting events, industry panel discussions and presentations on a bi-monthly schedule, and connecting members interested in growing their VR and AR business initiatives. 

Chapters offer face-to-face networking at local events while the global network of chapters connects the best people and companies anywhere.

 

Nathan Pettyjohn, Founder & President of the VR/AR Association

nathan@thevrara.com  Linkedin

Nathan Pettyjohn is a technology entrepreneur with experience building teams in marketing, advertising, sales and mobile technology, and is currently the Founder and CEO of Aisle411, a global leading indoor location and mobile software company serving some of the world's largest retailers and brands. Aisle411 was an early augmented reality development partner of Google’s Project Tango solution in 2014, offering 3D AR navigation solutions for leading retailers.

Kris Kolo, Industry Advisor & Global Executive Director of the VR/AR Association

KrisKolo.jpg

kris@thevrara.com  Linkedin  Twitter   Blog

Kris was an executive at Toys R Us and Verizon, applying AR technology to common use cases.  At Toys R Us, Kris was working on digital in-store initiatives and shopping solutions, incorporating AR from Metaio (acquired by Apple).  At Verizon, Kris was responsible for Media, Entertainment, and Location-Based apps & platforms; Kris was collaborating with Wikitude to integrate AR into Verizon's GPS Navigation. Kris also launched the Verizon Developer Program.  In addition, Kris was an Advisor, Board Member, to FlyBy Media, an AR tech startup, acquired by Apple. As an entrepreneur, Kris was the Co-Founder of Spime Inc, a Silicon Valley startup acquired by Trimble.  And, Kris published the ground-breaking book, Local Positioning Systems, on mapping and location-based services, and was granted seven patents. Kris holds graduate degrees from MIT. 

 

Chapter Presidents throughout the world help lead the Association:

USA

Atlanta John Buzzell john@thevrara.com 

Laura Hall laura@thevrara.com LinkedIn 

Laura Hall, also known as The Virtual Reality Girl, her top strengths include: Futuristic, Ideation, strategy, and team leading. She has been mentored by some of the best minds in the world and looks forward working to contributing to the VR/AR industry. She is a strategic advisor to executives by helping them to develop game-changing strategies based on her methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. She is an expert of execution. She is honored and grateful to be the President of the Atlanta VRARA. She looks forward to working with the members of the VRARA. Access the Atlanta Chapter Page here

Austin Andrew Caven andrewcaven@thevrara.com

Andrew Caven is the founder of Axon Virtual Health, a virtual reality start-up dedicated to improving the patient experience through virtual reality. Andrew began his career in healthcare, where he was exposed firsthand to the great need for drug-free pain and anxiety management. He has experience with a variety of immersive media technologies such as game development, 3D/360 video and photogrammetry. Axon Virtual Health is currently being studied in two separate clinical trials for its clinical benefit to both adult and pediatric patients experiencing pain or anxiety due to medical procedures or routine healthcare visits. Andrew is an active member of the Austin virtual reality scene and is co-founder of the city’s Virtual Reality & 360 meet-up, which has grown to over 450 members. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Occidental College.

Boston: Mike Festa mikefesta@thevrara.com LinkedIn

Mike Festa leads Wayfair’s research and development team, Wayfair Next, where he spearheads developments in AR, VR and 3D scanning. Also, he is the founder of Makefield.org – the virtual world that anyone can edit. Mike has a B.S. in Computer Science from The George Washington University, and studied Computer Science at the United States Air Force Academy. Access the Boston Chapter Page here.

Chicago:  Tracey Wiedmeyer tracey@thevrara.com LinkedIn

Tracey is co-founder and CTO of Chicago based InContext Solutions, leaders in VR solutions for some of the worlds largest retailers and brands. Their ShopperMX platform has revolutionized retail planning and go to market approaches using simulated market research and VR. Through partners and investors like Intel, ShopperMX is changing the economics of retail. Tracey leads product development, engineering and works with a small R&D team committed to changing the industry using both AR and VR technologies.  Tracey spends  time in both InContext's Chicago and Milwaukee offices and works with and advised start ups and entrepreneurs in both cities.  He's an avid speaker at industry conferences and believes in the promotion of AR and VR's long game. Access the Chicago Chapter Page here.

Cleveland: Reynaldo Zabala reynaldo@thevrara.com

Reynaldo is a passionate tech strategist and enterprise software developer who began his career with Accenture’s Microsoft Solutions Organization back in 2000 focusing on large scale ecommerce platform and ERP system integration projects. Reynaldo launched RazorEdge in 2007 to provide enterprise and midmarket B2B companies with process and technology re-engineering solutions aimed at exploiting market opportunities and driving cost efficiency. For over 17 years, he has excelled as a technology executive, chief software architect and enterprise technology consultant for companies ranging in size from startups to global multinationals with over $32B in top line growth. Reynaldo’s current passion is working to restore Cleveland Ohio's position as a leading city of technological innovation. He is the co-founder of CLEVR, a nonprofit whose mission is to improve Cleveland's socioeconomic conditions by channeling the ingenuity of Clevelanders towards the creation of high demand AR/VR based content, products and services.

Dallas

Houston 

Kentucky: David Pollock david@thevrara.com LinkedIn

David is in Louisville, KY where there is a growing community around VR and AR, especially with the university presence in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH. David is the Managing Director of Kitestring Visuals, producing VR and 360 video content, among other things, for major Fortune 100 companies.  

LA: Josephine Munis josephine@thevrara.com LinkedIn Twitter

Josephine Munis is the Director of Marketing Strategy & Media Relations for Candy Lab, Inc., an LA Orange County based location-based AR company. She is an avid speaker on AR and leads discussions in what location-based is and how brands can use it to increase user-engagement and brand awareness. Prior to joining Candy Lab, she spent her career creating digital campaigns for companies industry leaders in the technology, healthcare and finance industry. Access the LA Chapter Page here.

NYC: Kris Kolo kris@thevrara.com LinkedIn Twitter

Kris is an advisor to VR AR startups, including FlyBy Media (acquired by Apple). Kris was an executive at Toys R Us and Verizon. At Toys R Us, Kris was working on digital in-store initiatives and shopping AR solutions.  At Verizon, Kris was responsible for Media, Entertainment, and Location-Based apps & platforms.  Access the NYC Chapter Page here.

Orlando: Jenny Bowen, Chapter President jenny@thevrara.com 

Jenny Bowen is an Inventor and entrepreneur, CEO & Founder of TrueFanss. She and her partner are creating new platform for content creators of 3D 360 VR/AR/MR and games. Jenny also mentors or will advise other entrepreneurs and inventors with new ideas. She strives to create unforgettable events for fundraising, educational, networking, and business excursions or getaways. She is an avid supporter for education, and mentoring, Non-Profits, protecting animals, environment and for humanity. Access the Orlando Chapter Page here

Phoenix: Wade Stoddard wade@thevrara.com 

Wade has been in the technology space for 15 years. When he was in high school he built his first computer instead up buying his first car. Wade is thrilled to see VR/AR finally develop into useable products for the masses. In 2015 he tried his first VR experience with the HTC Vive and was blown away. Looking forward to 2017 and beyond, Wade knows the VR/AR rocket is taking off and he is proud to be onboard for the ride. Let's make a connection, collaborate and build something great together. Access the Phoenix Chapter Page here.

San Francisco: Mike Boland (email) & Emily Olman (email)

Mike Boland was one of Silicon Valley's first tech reporters of the internet age, as a staff reporter for Forbes (print) starting in 2000. He is currently Chief Analyst of BIA/Kelsey and San Francisco Chapter President of VRARA.  Mike is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and author of analytical reports on the changing tech & media landscape, including VR/AR. He contributes regularly to highly-read online news sources such as TechCrunch, Business Insider and the Huffington Post. A trusted source for tech journalists, his comments have appeared in A-list publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and The New York Times. 

Emily Olman is a veteran of the video game and Japanese anime industries where she spent a decade pioneering and monetizing new media for print, digital, cable and video on demand. Olman founded Hopscotch Interactive in 2015 to promote extraordinary spaces in 3D and VR. They are a Matterport Service Partner, and media affiliate for numerous emerging technologies in 3D/VR/AR/360° with operators in the Bay Area, Orange County, and Berlin. Hopscotch Interactive seeks to disrupt industries that rely on traditional marketing media and unlock the potential that VR/AR/MR enable. She is a VR and AR evangelist and travels to Asia and Europe scouting out new VR/AR solutions and exploring the frontier of new media.  

Access the SF Chapter Page here.

Seattle

St. Louis: Nathan Pettyjohn nathan@thevrara.com Linkedin

Nathan Pettyjohn is a technology entrepreneur with experience building teams in marketing, advertising, sales and mobile technology, and is currently the Founder and CEO of Aisle411, a global leading indoor location and mobile software company serving some of the world's largest retailers and brands. Aisle411 was an early augmented reality development partner of Google’s Project Tango solution in 2014, offering 3D AR navigation solutions for leading retailers, airports and other venues. Nathan is also the Founder & President of the VR/AR Association working to build the association into a world class organization providing value to all members and the VR & AR community.

Canada

Montreal: Awane Jones awane@thevrara.com LinkedIn

Awane is the President of Zone 3 VR and the founder of 'Merchlar', a company that pioneered the AR and VR sector in Canada. He is also the Chief Brand Evangelist at 5thWall agency. He is also a bilingual keynote speaker and has presented at several international conferences including SXSW, C2, G20, Capital Innovation Défi MTL etc. His award-winning agency, Merchlar, has built immersive experiences for a number of high profile global brands such as Universal Pictures & Twitter. Considered a thought leader in the field of VR & AR, he writes a technology blog on Huffington Post and is the host of Surge Forward VR/360/AR.  Access the Montreal Chapter Page here.

Toronto: Andrew Harper andrew@thevrara.com LinkedIn

Andrew is the Co-Founder of MiVR Inc., one of Toronto's first VR/AR consultancy firms aimed at helping schools & brands implement these new technologies. After living in Taiwan for over two years, Andrew followed the development of VR very closely and eagerly saw its potential in a variety of applications, driving him to learn everything he could about this new industry. Andrew has split his time between the world of Education and Digital Marketing Sales, and is now leveraging those experiences in order to foster the integration of Virtual & Augmented Reality in Business and in the Classroom. He looks forward to building a strong community for the evolution of VR/AR in Toronto. Access the Toronto Chapter Page here.

Vancouver: Dan Burgar dan@thevrara.com LinkedIn

Dan is the Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Archiact, North America's fastest growing and largest dedicated VR/MR content & strategy studio. Dan's an evangelist for VR/AR and MR technologies and his mission has been to continually advancing immersive technology as a productive tool that can change the world. His focus is educating and strategizing with Fortune 500 brands to help them roadmap for the future. Access the Vancouver Chapter Page here.

Europe  

Austria: Andreas Perotti LinkedIn Twitter 

Andreas has worked in the media industry for more than seven years and currently serves as spokesperson for the Austrian telecom incumbent, Telekom Austria Group. Andreas has been in the VR/AR for many years and got interested through his engagement in the European e-sports scene. Andreas is not just interested in the entertainment aspects of VR/AR, but its impact on the news industry and its power in becoming the future of communications fascinated him. Access the Austria Chapter Page here.

Birmingham: Kev Blair kev@thevrara.com 

Kev is a tech entrepreneur based in the Midlands, UK. His first experience with VR was back in the 90’s whilst serving in the Royal Air Force. Since then he has been following and building his network around New Tech. He holds a Masters in Event & Venue Management and is C.E.O and founder of AtmosVR Ltd, a business designed to bring AR/VR experiences to those that wish to explore it. AtmosVR Ltd currently focusses on bringing 360 degree live streaming to concerts, events and Venues whilst offering hire of VR equipment and content design services to event organizers. Access the Birmingham Chapter Page here.

London: Steve Dann steve@thevrara.com LinkedIn 

Steve is the Founder & CEO of Amplified Robot, a leading development agency in augmented reality. Steve runs the London Augmented Reality MeetUp group and is known as one of the most connected persons in AR within the UK. Access the London Chapter Page here.

Madrid: Cristian Dominguez cristian@thevrara.com

Cristian is the Director of Photography at New Horizons VR, a leading VR production company specializing in cinematic VR. As a photographer and director of VR, Cristian is focused on creating immersive experiences that delight and amaze his client’s customers. As a visionary in VR, Cristian hopes to work with others to expand and shape VR’s capacity as a tool for social communication, and as a medium for binging entirely new worlds to life. Access the Madrid Chapter Page here.

Milan: Mauro Rubin mauro@thevrara.com

Mauro is the CEO of JoinPad, an AR company. Mauro developed his first program in basic language when he was eleven years old, discovering the passion that would have stayed with him for the rest of his life. From 1998 to 2001 he taught skydiving in the Italian Army and he experienced for the first time the VR simulator for paratroopers. In December 2010, he founded JoinPad; Its core competence is developing and supporting applications for the industrial sector. In 2015, Mauro became the first Smart Glasses Evangelist for Epson.

Paris: Thomas Nigro

Thomas is the the Co-Founder of Opuscope and the Microsoft Regional Director. Thomas also is an open source developer.  He studied at Paris Descartes University and decided to join the VideoLAN organization, where he leads the VLC on Windows Store project. In 2016, he co-founded Opuscope, a startup creating new tools to empower people and organizations create their own experiences in virtual and mixed reality.

St. Petersburg: Michael Doudy michael@thevrara.com LinkedIn Twitter

Michael is the co-founder of VR Otaku, a VR/AR startup focused on conducting gap analysis and connecting VR/AR companies around the globe. Having a passion in engineering and humanities, as well as recently relocating from the U.S. to Russia gives Michael a unique opportunity to connect communities, understand different perspectives, and spark growth. Michael is extremely excited for the future of VR - the ability to let our imaginations run wild and bring creativity to a whole new level. 

Sweden: Mikael Spuhl mikael@thevrara.com 

Mikael is the founder & CEO of 3D Interactive Sthlm, a production company specializing in VR and AR applications with 3D content. Mikael is focused on developing and producing B2B and B2C VR/AR applications with a strong customer base, including Saab, Swedish National Bank, Jet Aviation, JM, Esen Yacht, Riksbyggen, CSL Behring, among others. Access the Sweden Chapter Page here.

Switzerland: Michael Rava mr@thevrara.com LinkedIn 

Michael is the CMO of WION GmbH, an IT and marketing service provider, innovating in the fields of AR and VR. Michael is an entrepreneur, investor, full-stack marketer, brand and retail expert, social media visionary, strategist for future tech trends, keynote speaker and digital transformation expert. He helps companies identify the gaps between where they are now and where they need to be, then closes those gaps. Michael believes that successful digital transformation will require careful collaboration, thoughtful planning, and the inclusion of every department.

 

European Membership Director: Mickael Dailly md@thevrara.com LinkedIn

Mickael is a former IT Manager; worked 6 years as IT manager for Neopost and is in love with VR since his first Oculus DK1 5 years ago and since then decided to help the community, starting with VRperception.com to help developers and small companies to show their work.  He is also a domainer for the VR Industry and helps companies get the right domain name for their business.  He's a 360 producer/filmmaker, also managing the post production. All those experiences give him an impressive network within the industry. Mickael will help onboard companies in Europe to get involved in VRARA's events, programs, and initiatives. 

Asia

China Xi'An: Yiming Niu yiming@thevrara.com

Yiming has been involved in the AR industry since 2010. He is now working as the director of China Augmented Reality Alliance (ARA) Secretariat and CTO of GallantAR. ARA was established on October 17, 2015 in Xi’an at the first Augmented World Expo Asia (AWE Asia ) which is the largest AR and VR conference in Asia. Yiming has established successful cooperative relations with overseas VR/AR companies and is the core partner of Super Ventures and AugmentedReality.org in the Greater China Region. As an expert in VR/AR industry, he has presented talks at major conferences such as AWE Asia, TFC, TED & . He is dedicated to promote the communication between Chinese VR/AR industry with the international VR/AR industry.

Japan: Alex (Ariro) Nagayama alex@thevrara.com LinkedIn

 

Singapore: Vanessa Radd vanessa@thevrara.com LinkedIn Twitter

Vanessa brings 15 years experience in the broadcast (TV Everywhere and LiveTV solutions), satellite and tech industries. Currently, she is General Manager for Inside Retail Singapore as well as leads the business for Holition, a UK-based augmented reality creative agency, in Asia. Vanessa is ranked among the Top 3 influencers (out of 100) in Augmented Reality by Onalytica. Vanessa is the founder of VR/AR Women in Asia Society and is a member of the Board of Directors of The Media Alliance. Vanessa practices and teaches Aikido. Access the Singapore Chapter Page here.

India

New Delhi: Ramesh K Verma ramesh@thevrara.com

Ramesh has over four decades of entrepreneurial & techno-managerial international experience in the field of ICT and Skills Development, focussed on IT for the masses. For the last several years the major focus has been Skills and Livelihoods Development particularly for the Agribusiness sector, with a bottom up approach, working with rural communities and developing path breaking technological solutions. Worked as Strategic Consultant for Training & Employability solutions to Reliance Infocomm &; Future Sharp Skills Limited, an NSDC & Future Group joint initiative. I have been an evangelist for technology based simulations for a very long time, working on some battle games prototyping even in 1980s and then developing prototypes for skills training for Retail associates and Electricians using Xbox and Kinect in 2012. Mr Verma lives in New Delhi, India and he is an Alumni of IIT Delhi with a Post-Graduation in Business Studies from UK.

Middle East

Jordan: Mohammed Hujeij mohammed@thevrara.com

Mohammed is a vivid VR enthusiast, Co-Founder and CEO of Beladcom Studios, a Jordan based high-end gaming and VR development studio , Mohammed have lead the production and distribution of Virtual Worlds and Online Games with creative inspiration from ancient Arabian Nights Mythologies that appealed to users worldwide. His early fascination started in immersive 3D experiences, online virtual worlds, and ultimately the VR/AR booming industry with the captivating Sci-Fi like experience of being inside and part of immersive virtual worlds. Mohammed has been an active part of the VR ecosystems in Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach, Silicon Hills and Tokyo Japan, while constantly advocating for the growth of VR/AR industry in the rising VR ecosystem of Jordan and across the MENA region.

UAE Dubai: Shujat Mirza shujat@thevrara.com  LinkedIn

Shujat is an ardent fan of AR and VR tech and ever since his introduction to AR in 2010, he has been following, preaching and propagating these new age technologies and its content very passionately over the years. His career spans over 10 years while working with reputed media and advertising firms like WPP, Times Internet, Network18, Radio City to name few. He was Group Head for WPP for southern India before moving to Dubai and was the business head for ALIVE middle east, an AR platform from Times Of India Group in Dubai from 2015. He was at the helm of creating a very first AR campaign in middle for an FMCG major and has consulted the likes of Bosch, DFM, Nissan, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Ford and Range Rover. Shujat has been collaborating with top media agencies in UAE as well to create traction and build a market for VR & AR technology. Access the Dubai Chapter Page here.

Australia & New Zealand

Sydney: Pradeep Khanna pradeep@thevrara.com LinkedIn 

Pradeep is Founder CEO of consulting company Global Mindset (GM) focused on leveraging globalisation & digitisation for Learning & Working. He has a special interest and focus on emerging technologies including VR/AR/MR, AI, WT.  Pradeep has been a leader for IBM GBS Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) leveraging India, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Egypt, Romania, Brazil. He has worked on assignments for IBM, Australian Trade Commission, Optus, Westpac, Qantas, ING, Crompton Greaves and many more organisations. He has over 30 years of executive & management experience across a number of industries.  He is an Adjunct Professor/Visiting Faculty at number of institutions in Australia, Singapore & India. Pradeep is a speaker at many international conferences. In 2016, Pradeep has presented in Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, New Delhi, Toronto, Sydney & Singapore.  Pradeep is a member of Executive Panel of Global Consulting Companies and Open Colleges Industry Advisory Panel. He has studied MBA from AGSM (UNSW), M.Sc, Computer Science from UTS, & B Tech from IIT Delhi.

New Zealand: Jessica Manins

Jessica brings 20 years combined experience in the film and technology industry, She is CEO of Blackeye VR and cofounder of PROJECTR, New Zealand’s centre of excellence in virtual and mixed reality.

 
 

Other

Other Major Cities - Open Chapter President Positions

The ideal Chapter President will have knowledge of the VR and AR community within their city and have a network of thought leaders in the community. Your network does not necessarily need to be focused in VR and AR, but could be focused within digital media, entertainment, design or other marketplaces that benefit from the growth of VR and AR. 

Chapter President responsibilities typically require 2-5 hours per week of communication, coordinating events, facilitating new chapter member onboarding and overseeing research and case study initiatives. 

 

Advisory Board

Asif Khan, Advisory Board Member Linkedin

AsifKhan_VRARA.jpg

Asif is the Founder and President of The Location Based Marketing Association (The LBMA). Asif is a veteran tech start-up, business-development and marketing entrepreneur with more than 15 years experience. He is currently focused on working as a consultant, educator and speaker to the location-based marketing services community.  You can listen to Asif's weekly podcast - This Week In Location-Based Marketing every Monday.

Phyllis Ellison, Advisory Board Member Linkedin

Phyllis is the Director of Entrepreneur Services and Institutional / Corporate Partnerships at Cortex, the Midwest’s premiere innovation hub of bioscience & technology research, development & commercialization, serving as the anchor of St. Louis’ growing ecosystem for innovative startup programs & established companies.