The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

12 Noon – 1:00 PM

Session I: Herscher Hall, 3rd Floor, Room 303-304: Live Webcast

The Augmented Reality Experience: Implementing the Next Generation of AR into Application: From Education to Entertainment and Games

Mike Hildebrandt, VP Corporate Development & Strategic Partnerships, DAQRI

Michael Leventhal, Partner, Holmes Weinberg, P.C., former, Chief Legal Officer and VP, Magic Leap

Leon Laroue, Product Manager, New Ventures, AR Eyewear, Epson

Eric Trabold, Chief Business Officer, Avegant

Soulaiman Itani, Founder and CEO, Atheer

Tom Wesselman, Senior Director, Software Group, Plantronics

Bill Newell, CEO, North South Studios LLC, Moderator


Bill Newell, President, North South Studios, LLC: As a founding partner of North South Studios, Bill Newell brings more than 18 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience to the company. Bill has been involved in production and multimedia from its early days and has had key roles in establishing many of the business processes that today are often taken for granted. Bill's areas of expertise include finance, technology, production, and operations. Bill's ability to increase productivity without sacrificing quality has been proven time and

time again and is a key asset to the company. A longtime associate of his partner, Sarina Simon, Bill came to North South Studios from the Knowledge Kids Network where he served as Chief Operating Officer for five years. Bill co-founded the Knowledge Kids Network and was instrumental in defining its business objectives, operational processes, and company structure. His thorough planning and oversight launched the KidsEdge websites. This network of award-winning websites contained more than 250 games, thousands of articles, and had the capacity to support 3.5 million users. During his tenure at the Knowledge Kids Network, Bill also executive produced a 12 minute animated movie entitled, DotzWorld, which premiered on the AOL network and featured 25 original characters. Bill's insightful finance skills were invaluable to the company in its negotiations with AOL and other prominent partners. Prior to joining the Knowledge Kids Network, Bill was Vice President of Production for IXL Los Angeles, a NASDAQ listed Internet services company with more than $12 million in yearly revenue in the Los Angeles office alone. As VP of Production, Bill oversaw all aspects of production and provided sales support for IXL's west coast offices. Always prolific, he supervised and managed the design and implementation of over 100 projects including assignments for Polygram, Fox, Warner Brothers, NewsCorp, Baker and Taylor, Mazda, Kawasaki, Universal Studios, and Technicolor, among others. Making use of his extensive finance background, Bill brought financial discipline to his production team and productivity increased over 200% during his tenure at IXL. Before joining IXL, Bill was Vice President of Production for Digital Planet, an Internet services company that was later acquired by IXL. As VP of Production, Bill provided direct management of technical, production, and creative teams. He also oversaw all proposal submissions, bids, technical analyses, and creative treatments for media, technology, and consumer companies including Intel, Mattel, the US Postal Service, Disney Online and Allstate. Bill is also a veteran of the multimedia pioneering company, Philips Media, where he worked for four years as an Executive Producer, managing two in-house production groups. In this executive role, Bill directed a 35 member staff and produced six educational CD ROM products. He also directed the localization of numerous products for the Japanese, English, Swedish and American markets.


Leon Laroue is a Technical Product Manager of Augmented Reality Solutions at Epson America, Inc. His focus is in supporting and growing the developer community for Epson’s Moverio family of smart eyewear products, as well as in identifying third-party software and hardware vendors for partnership opportunities. Additionally, Leon is responsible for new product design and development. Epson’s Moverio family of smart eyewear products enable next-generation AR experiences, from the home to the jobsite, including in media, gaming, and entertainment. Leon is actively searching for technologies, content creators and creation tools, and applications that both add utility to Moverio and bring rich AR experiences to the masses. Prior to his current role at Epson, Leon developed enterprise software for Goldman Sachs and Co. Leon holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from UCLA.


Soulaiman Itani, Founder and CEO, Atheer: My current obsession is touching the human experience through technology. From AR, VR, and AI, all of the power of that tech is meaningful only if it's creating an emotional response. My experience has mainly been about understanding how the world operates and how to use that knowledge to add some manageability, predictability, and maybe even some whimsy to everyday life. By connecting mathematics and machine learning to the human experience, I work on creating replicable experiences. Integrating those experiences into scalable products and business models offers an opportunity to touch all humanity. After working alone for a year in my garage, I raised my first round of funding and hired a great team to start Atheer. It's been an amazing ride and it keeps going! I have been lucky to work on theoretical mathematics, models for robots and unmanned arial vehicles, cancer understanding and treatments, AR/VR/AI, machine learning, and on making tomorrow come today.


Eric Trabold was recently appointed as Chief Business Officer at Avegant, the recognized leader in Retinal Imaging and Light Field technology for Augmented and Mixed Reality Displays. As a demonstrated leader with the Executive Team he has created the Strategic Partnerships that have fueled Avegant’s expansive growth through eCommerce, Retail & Technology licensing as well as marketing campaigns that created significant awareness for the brand Avegant in the industry and helped raising funds for the companies further expansion.  He is a dynamic change accelerator who continues to spearhead the Business Development group, drive Strategy and advance effective Business Processes while also now Heading the Corporate Marketing effort. In a Career journey that began with the transition from Computer Engineer to award winning young Sales Professional, Eric’s progressive, analytical mindset and passionate pursuit of excellence predicted his emergence in Management and Executive roles over the recent decade as a uniquely gifted international leader, mentor and growth agent in highly-competitive technology sectors. His broad influence has spanned numerous speaking engagements at industry forums such as this years’ Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference in Silicon Valley as well as CeBIT in Hannover, Germany.  He is Co-chair of the German American Business Association and Co-Organizer of the renowned Society3 Mentoring-Networking group that helps young entrepreneurs optimize funding opportunities, fine tune business plans and foster connections. Eric came to Avegant after heading the North American Operation of Avira in San Francisco where he was VP Sales and Business Development for the acclaimed Security Software provider.  Prior to that he was Director of OEM Sales EMEA and Americas for Nero - the worldwide standard in CD/DVD Burning and Multimedia Software.


Mike Hildebrandt is vice president of corporate development and strategic partnerships at DAQRI. He is responsible for inorganic growth, which encompasses Fundraising, M&A, and Licensing. Mike works closely with the leadership team and across various divisions of the company to ensure that the company continues to drive growth outside of traditional sales activity. Mike was the owner operator of Xplore Entertainment, a consulting firm that has advised many companies in adopting and understanding new technologies. He helped create the in-game advertising industry, consulting for Midway Games in the early 2000s and has since worked with many technology startups on building better business models, developing sales pipelines, and raising money. Recently was a consultant at Unity Technologies the creator of Unity, an intuitive and flexible development platform used to make wildly creative and intelligently interactive 3D and 2D content Mike holds a B.S and B.A in Cognitive Aspects of Marketing (self-designed) from Vanderbilt University.


Michael Leventhal, Partner, Holmes Weinberg, P.C., former, Chief Legal Officer and VP, Magic Leap: Michael Leventhal is a partner at Holmes Weinberg, P.C. He specializes in providing corporate, intellectual property and business transactional services for media/entertainment and technology companies. While managing partner of the entertainment law firm Codikow Leventhal & Carroll in the late 1980’s and early ‘90’s, Michael also developed a practice in high technology and digital media, which began even before the internet was a business model. In 1992, he combined his entertainment and digital media practices, when “multimedia” meant the CD-ROM business. Since that time, Michael has been on the forefront of the legal and business aspects of nearly every major technological innovation in digital media, from payment for electronic transmissions of entertainment content (rather than just shiny discs), to dispute resolution over domain names, to co-branding and cross-licensing agreements for online services, to pay-per-click advertising services, to digital music download services, to television/internet hybrids and the development and licensing agreements required to make them run, to user generated content sites, including development in SecondLife, for social media, and for mobile devices, including phones and tablets, to Alternate Reality Games, to 3D display technology, augmented, virtual and mixed reality. Among his clients have been Fortune 500 companies such as Fox Interactive Media, NEC, and Transamerica; digital vanguards like MySpace,,, and GoTV; entertainment/digital technology hybrids such as Motion Theory, Compendia Media, Virtual Netcasting Corporation, the Interactive Television Alliance,, RockWeb, Satellite Events Enterprises, and Vimby; traditional companies moving into digital media,; and various celebrities in need of  digital media guidance or protection. Most recently, Michael spent the last several years as chief legal officer and vice president at Magic Leap, Inc., the well-known augmented/mixed reality venture.  His duties included standard general counsel responsibilities, content and technology licensing, intellectual property strategy and planning, working with the content team, business development, marketing, HR, and the CEO on special projects, among many other tasks. Michael has represented hundreds of entertainment, digital media and high tech start-ups, early stage companies and middle market companies in music, film, visual effects, interactive television, sports, stand-alone online ventures, entertainment and non-entertainment web-based businesses, software, and more traditional businesses—from formation to strategic planning, structuring companies, M&A and alliances, to licensing matters, to obtaining financing. Working with entrepreneurs and visionaries at all stages of development has long been one of Michael’s passions. Michael has been a partner in a large national firm, a co-owner of several boutique law firms and a business consultancy, a solo practitioner and a senior executive at a high flying technology company. The combination of law firm and business consultancy is consistent with Michael’s holistic approach to representing businesses, both large and start up.  Michael is a frequent writer and speaker on all things digital. Most recently, he spoke at VRLA 2016. Michael goes beyond drafting of agreements to understand and support his clients with strong strategic thinking. He brings his considerable experience to his work with clients to develop an overall direction, with legal and business projects woven into the fabric of the larger strategy.


Tom Wesselman is the Senior Director, Software Group at Plantronics. His focus is connecting the capabilities of Plantronics products to the world around them. This starts with defining and building the data and services provided by Plantronics’ wearable technology, and then by working with partners and developers to integrate those capabilities into the applications people use. Prior to Plantronics, Wesselman held senior engineering roles at Cisco, where he led a variety of UC engineering programs including the development of the company’s first UC client.