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 20 Chapters in major cities in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, 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

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 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

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.

Dallas: Gary Glass gary@thevrara.com LinkedIn

With over 16 years of start-up leadership, product design, market analysis and digital strategy expertise, Gary Glass is widely recognized as an expert thought leader in emerging technology and start-up scalability. Gary is currently the Founder of VrontRow, a Live Concert VR production agency in Dallas TX, frequent conference speaker and VR industry panelist, as well as the Director of Digital Strategy for Groove Jones - who have produced some of the most commercially successful VR projects with brands such as Porsche, NASCAR, McDonalds, American Horror Story (FX Studios) and more.

In another life, Gary led the go-to-market strategies during the $50M acquisition of Homestead Technologies by Intuit/Quickbooks - and the $500M acquisition of server virtualization technology, XenSource, to Citrix Systems in 2007. He has also served as a startup mentor with various incubator programs including Techstars, House of Genius, Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC), Capital Factory, and the Longhorn Labs at University of Texas, Austin.  Access the Dallas Chapter Page here.

Houston: Jonathan Banks jon@thevrara.com LinkedIn

Jonathan Banks is a technology explorer and entrepreneur who’s focus spans many fields ranging from network engineering to digital marketing. With a background in mathematics, design, and science his fascination with the human imagination has set him on a course straight towards virtual and augmented reality development. Jonathan is promoting the potentials that VR and AR will have for the world through VR and 360 productions through his company, Activate Your Mind VR. Access the Houston Chapter Page here.

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.

San Francisco: Mike Boland (mike@thevrara.com) & Emily Olman (emily@thevrara.com)

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. Olman holds an M.B.A. with a Certificate in Global Management from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and a B.A. in German Studies from Scripps College in Claremont, CA. She’s an alumna of the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship, and is currently a board director and Regional Events Committee Chair for Bosch Alumni.  

Access the SF Chapter Page here.

Seattle: Howard Schargel howard@thevrara.com LinkedIn

In Seattle and abroad, Howard is an established thought leader and is actively deploying VR/AR/MR experiences and solutions. Just don’t challenge him to a game of pool. With a formal background in Architecture & Industrial Design, Howard has spent the past 25 years working on cutting edge, emerging technologies as an Experience/Interaction Designer & 3D Expert. Holding and contributing to a growing patent portfolio, his work and his teamwork has been internationally recognized, and he is sought after for consultations on workflows, pipelines, and best practices. Past projects include working with Microsoft's R&D Design Group, supporting teams including: HoloLens Digital Experience Showcases (Lowes, Stanford Medical School, PACCAR), the HoloLens Core Shell Team, and Microsoft's Future Envisioning Team. His recent portfolio of work includes designing and humanizing a range of technology domains including: Haptics, Robotics, Autonomous Vehicles, IoT, and Connected Ecosystems. He currently heads up a confidential initiative at Level 11, an Experience Design Engineering firm in Seattle, Washington USA. And he beats them all at pool.

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

Toronto: Andrew Harper andrew@thevrara.com LinkedIn

Andrew Harper 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 Burgar 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.

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.

Paris: Thomas Nigro

Thomas Nigro 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.

Spain: 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 Spain Chapter Page here.

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: Kristoffer Kosunen

Kristoffer works as a community manager for Lionbridge and is currently part of a project to moderate the community for HTC Vive in the Nordic region. Access the Sweden Chapter Page here.

Asia

China 

Xi'An: Yiming Niu

Yiming Niu 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.
 

Singapore: Vanessa Radd LinkedIn Twitter

Vanessa Radd 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.

Middle East

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 Khanna, 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.