Chicago has earned its reputation as “The City that Works.” This honor holds true for Chicago’s immersive technology culture as well, with a growing community that is more interested in delivering cutting-edge XR technology than it is in self-promotion. Host to thriving industries including financial services, healthcare, entertainment, advertising, higher education, real estate, manufacturing, construction, and retail, among others, Chicago is a leader in business-to-business opportunities and solutions. In addition, over the past several years, the Windy City has reinvented itself as one of the best business and investment environments in the world to start a technology company. Add to that more than half a dozen MeetUps focused on VR and AR technology, and the worlds #1 technology incubator, 1871, and it’s clear why Chicago is poised to become a world leader in XR technology. The purpose of the Chicago chapter of the VRARAis to unite and support this growing community, , the companies providing XR solutions, and the organizations that will benefit from immersive technology.


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As a VRARA Member, you get discounts to the following:


Chapter President: Matt Wren chicago@thevrara.com

Matt is the Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of BundlAR, an augmented reality solutions company serving individuals, businesses, and institutions.. He’s delivered cutting-edge technology since the late 1990s, supporting enterprises as large as GE, Kraft, and Northern Trust, as well as start-ups. Matt spent many years supporting live events in different technical capacities, including project management, logistics, design, technology development, and support. He is a technology adviser to Loyola University Chicago’s Ignite Lab for Entrepreneurship, a Designer/Developer member at 1871 – the World’s #1 Tech Incubator, and founder of the VR/AR Chicago MeetUp - a monthly event that has been connecting and growing the XR community in Chicago since early 2017. In July of 2018, with Matt’s guidance, several local groups joined forces to host the first Chicago XR Summit. Matt has been a VR enthusiast for over twenty years, professionally developing VR & AR applications since 2016. He regularly speaks about immersive technology at events, providing thought leadership on content, strategy, innovation, and the business benefits of virtual and augmented reality technology.

Chapter Leadership Team

Vice President of Strategy: Ramita Chawla
Ramita Chawla is the Managing director of Katapult Growth, a boutique consulting firm specializing in strategic growth through innovation. She has worked with senior executives at some of the largest organizations to ensure their programs and people are successful. Ramita holds an MBA in Strategy and Marketing from the University of Michigan and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Vice President of Membership: Jon Adler
Jonis the Principal at the Law Office of Jon M. Adler, LLC where he provides legal services to start-ups, small business owners, and filmmakers. Jon has been practicing law since 2007. He has a JD from New England School of Law, and a BA in Communications from Rutgers University.

Vice President of Events: Paula Weigel
Paula manages a full-service virtual marketing company which provides strategic planning, design, marketing, advertising, digital, branding, new business development, trade show/exhibit design, and consulting to clients in a variety of B2B industries from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups. One of her clients is the global leader in coffee roasting manufacturing in which 70% of the world’s coffee is roasted.

Vice President of Sponsorship: Mark Persaud
Mark Persaud is an innovation strategist who's passion and skills with engineering, business strategy, and experience design allows him to create user-centric, lovable product experiences. His experience has shown him the true value of both design thinking and lean innovation, and brings both mindsets into how he works with clients, products, and experiences. Mark has created products across various industries: insurance, CPG, publishing, logistics, and retail to name a few. His experience allows him to champion users and help other's design with the right mentality from concept to creation at scale. When he's not doing the aforementioned, you can catch him on the soccer pitch or dabbling in a new experience. Reach out to Mark to learn more about becoming a part of the VRARA sponsor network and family!

Vice President of Marketing: Charlie Athanas
Charlie Athanas is a cross-industry creative with work ranging from comic books to world political simulations to live entertainment. His clients include U2, Encyclopedia Britannica, Electronic Arts, and Paul Allen’s think tank, Interval Research Corporation. Charlie’s work has received the CES Innovation Award and had the honor being the first software reviewed by The Economist magazine. He looks forward to promoting VRARA Chicago and your companies and innovations.



Connect and build strong relationships with key players in the VR/AR ecosystem through VRARA or partner-hosted events.


Work with innovators in the VR/AR ecosystem across all verticals, from original content creators to innovative hardware companies.


Gain unlimited, exclusive access to VRARA research and publications, or, when applicable, receive discounts to third-party reports.