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Angel Investors | Luis Villalobos Award

Angel Investor

Angel Investors – The Luis Villalobos Award launched this year, 2010, to recognize the most ingenious and innovative idea recently financed by one of the member angel groups of the Angel Capital Association (ACA). The award will be presented to the CEO of the winning entrepreneurial company at ACA’s annual conference, with travel costs covered by the award organizers and local/national publicity and recognition also being an important part of the award.

The award has been made open to companies that have received funding from an ACA member group in 2008, 2009, or 2010 and that are in operation when the application is submitted. The award committee consists of member of the ACA Board of Directors and a representative of the award sponsor.

Yesterday, May 7th, 2010, the first Luis Villalobos award was awarded by ACA , to a start-up based in Seattle, WA.  According to the ACA, it awarded Modumetal, a developer of nano-laminated materials, used as a replacement for stainless steel.

Luis Villalobos, my close friend and mentor who passed away in late 2009, was the founder of Tech Coast Angels (TCA). He was a true innovator in the angel investment field, he was a sought after expert and speaker in the angel investment field. He was a man who appreciated honestly, originality, ingenuity and integrity.  He was an original thinker, and encouraged entrepreneurs to be think outside of the box. He not only pushed me to be the best I could possibly be, but inspired me to help others in the process.  Luis was not only one of the best people and minds I had ever encountered, he was a dear friend and top notch Angel Investor.

Luis Villalobos, Founder of the Tech Coast Angels (TCA)

Luis Vilallobos,

My friend and founder of the Tech Coast Angels (TCA), one of the largest angel investment groups in the nation, died at the age of 70 on Thursday at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange County.

Luis Villalobos received a degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in 1963 graduated from Harvard Business School. His education and sheer unadulterated talent combined made him a visionary in the angel investment community. Luis had a vision for Orange County, which was to create a network of sophisticated investors that would invest in early stage companies and help usher them into growth.  His primary focus was to innovate and invest in “Big, Game Changing, Ideas”. He started Tech Coast Angels in 1997 and was its first president. There are now five TCA  chapters spanning from Santa Barbara to San Diego with more than 250 active angels in its membership. Since its establishment, TCA has directly invested over $100 million into its portfolio companies. Those companies have gone on to raise over one billion dollars in cumulative capital.

Luis played a key role and lead the charge in TCA, making 57 personal investments. During these investments, Luis was dedicated to mentoring and coaching the entrepreneurs and managers he believed had the potential to make it in the business.  One of Luis’s final investments was his investment in my company Big Stage Entertainment.  It took Luis all of 30 minutes to make his decision.  He agreed to not only invest, but also proceeded to champion our company through the TCA screening process.  After a successful campaign through the TCA process, Luis was invited and ultimately joined our board of directors and took on a key role in helping Big Stage attract funds from Mission Ventures and Selby Ventures.  Over the course of 3 years, Big Stage Entertainment raised over 10MM in Angel and Venture Capital.

From the first meeting I had with Luis, he became my biggest critic and ultimately my biggest champion. I will always remember our lunches, filled with plain speaking and the blunt and honest truth. If I could thank him, I would have thanked him for always being stand up and forward  about my shortcomings.  Luis’s blunt honesty and open criticism truly has made me a better entrepreneur, businessman, and most important of all, a better person. The loss of a friend and treasured colleague is always difficult, however in these unfortunate situations I believe it is important to hold your head high in celebration for the life of their dear friend. A part of him will continue to live on through the lives he changed during his time one earth.

Luis Villalobos, Angel investor, visionary technologist, philanthropist and most of all, my mentor, board member, and my friend.

He is survived by his wife Ora Zoe Villalobos and his dear sister, Olga Badia. They remain in my thoughts throughout this very difficult time.

Startup News: Transport yourself from Game-to-Game

Dean Takahashi | December 11th, 2008 | Repost by Jonathan Strietzel

If your interested in building a 3-D avatar, or virtual character, you might as well spread take it everywhere with you. That’s the point of Big Stage Entertainment’s PortableYou program.

Big Stage uses a highly advanced, facial modeling system to render an amazing digital replica of you in seconds which can be transported into numerous forms of interactive media.

Big Stage allows you then take your avatar from one place to another, as long as each desitination conform to Big Stage’s own applications programming interface, or API. For now, the API is proprietary, but Big Stage hopes to make it a standard.

Creating an avatar is easy.  An avatar can be created in a few seconds using three standard digital camera photos of someone’s face taken with any standard camera with a flash. This amazing process creates an amazingly accurate, high definition avatar in seconds and allows you to transport it into a number of environments.

Still, the idea could catch on because it fits with the theme of personalization that is taking over everything from YouTube personal video channels to social networks, said Phil Ressler, chief executive of Big Stage.

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Startup News – A Mug’s Game

Startup’s software allows users to insert 3-D versions of their faces in videos, photos, online content.

By CHARLES PROCTOR
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff
Posted date: 11/10/2008
How many people want to see themselves in a clip from “Phantom of the Opera” or “The A-Team”? Enough to build a business?

Pasadena Startup Big Stage Entertainment Inc. is about to find out. The company last week publicly launched a software program that creates a 3-D image from photos of a person’s face. The image can then be placed over the heads of actors in movie clips and still photos at the company’s Web site, giving users the appearance of being, say, Mr. T or in a scene from “Night of the Living Dead.”

At this stage of Big Stage, which was founded two years ago by entrepreneurs Jonathan Strietzel, Jon Kraft and Jon Snoddy, the choice of clips and photos into which your likeness can be integrated is limited. Phil Ressler, the company’s chief executive, said Big Stage is in conversations with movie studios, video game publishers and ad agencies to offer more content for people to pop up in. He envisions a day when Big Stage users – he calls them “actors” – will be able to insert themselves into sites all over the Internet.

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Starring You On The Big Screen

Forbes, CES 2008

Forbes, CES 2008

Louis Hau 1.9.08

CES 2008

Las Vegas, NV

How would you like to give yourself a starring role in your favorite videogame? Or music video? Or your favorite movie scene of all time?

South Pasadena, Calif., start-up Big Stage wants to help you do just that. The company has developed a technology that will allow anyone with a standard digital camera to create a life-like avatar of themselves. They will then be able to place that avatar on a blog, Web site or social-network page as a fun way of identifying themselves.

Even better: with a little know-how, users will be able to insert their virtual selves into a digital media file–or, say, place a 3D image of Intel (nasdaq: INTC ) Chief Executive Paul Otellini in the music video for Smash Mouth’s 1997 hit “Walkin’ On The Sun,” as Big Stage Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Jonathan Strietzel did during Otellini’s CES keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday.

Big Stage’s technology has its roots in government-funded research in 3D imaging done at the University of Southern California. The work takes what had been a complex, time-consuming image-creation process and boils it down to a consumer-friendly means to create personalized avatars.

The company’s technology is currently focused on reproducing facial images, but full-body avatars are in the pipeline. Its avatar system will be available to the public in the second quarter of this year.

On Tuesday, Strietzel needed only a few minutes to create a 3D avatar of me and superimpose my face over that of Harrison Ford’s in a scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark. There I was, in a dank room, slyly replacing a coveted idol head with a small sack of sand. Damn, I was good.

As startling as it can be to see a moving 3D image of yourself, these are very early days for the technology, which is bound to become more compelling as the ability to simulate intelligence improves to create an even more realistic digital you.

What sorts of revenue-generating applications could a life-like avatar have? You don’t have to think too hard to come up with a pack: Videogame publishers could license the technology to give customers the ability to place their avatar inside a game. Similar uses could be attractive to online virtual worlds and social networks. And here’s one of Strietzel’s favorites: Allowing customers to insert themselves into famous movie scenes could give studios a new way of generating fresh revenues from existing film assets.

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