Stage Entertainment, the leader in vivid personal projection into online media, announced today that Phil Ressler, former vice president at Clearstone Venture Partners has joined the company as its president and chief executive officer. He succeeds former president Chuck Huebner, who will continue as a special advisor to the company.
Big Stage's breakthrough technology allows web users to easily create a life-like 3-D avatar of themselves, called an @ctor, and integrate it into content, networks and communities in the digital realm, from famous movie scenes, TV shows and video games, to music videos, short video clips, virtual worlds, still images, user-generated content, instant messages, e-mails, social networks and more – instantly. The company's avatar creation system stems from advanced stereo reconstruction technology funded by multiple government grants, including the CIA, as part of a nine-year cumulative research project at the University of Southern California,
"The ability to easily create and project a 3-D version of yourself across the digital landscape, from video to games and still images, marks a landmark shift in the way people will express and represent themselves going forward" said Big Stage President and CEO Phil Ressler. "Selective personal projection in online activity is certain to be a mainstream behavior with major value, and I'm thrilled to have been asked to lead the sector's foremost innovator and its accomplished, creative team."
While at Clearstone Venture Partners, Phil provided operating perspective on investment evaluations, decisions and guidance of portfolio companies. Prior to his tenure at Clearstone, he served in executive positions at Xdrive, Callidus Software, inquiry.com, Continuus Software, Gupta Corporation, Lotus Development, and Nantucket Corporation.
"Phil is a very savvy marketing-oriented CEO with deep experience in software and Web-facing companies," said Robert Kibble, co-Founder and Managing Partner of Mission Ventures, a Southern California venture capital firm and lead investor for Big Stage. "His intimate knowledge of fast moving venture-backed start-ups will be invaluable, and the fact that he has been informally advising this founding team for almost two years now, means he can truly hit the ground running."
Ressler has been engaged in building markets and businesses in technology, consumer electronics and advertising sectors since 1979, including 16 years in executive and management positions in software and Internet companies. His technology career is comprised of executive marketing positions in raw start-up, growth-stage and public companies ranging from pre-product, pre-revenue to billion-dollar environments. Phil has been part of executive teams that raised over $100 million in capital for growth companies and he has created market demand for well over $600 million in incremental new product sales in the software sector, in addition to sustaining base revenues.
"A CEO must have the ability to articulate and operate the business with passion, conviction and crystal clear logic. Phil is absolutely that person," said Jonathan Strietzel, founder and chief creative officer. "In venture capital, he evaluated thousands of companies and has participated in the oversight of many over the past 5 years in a fast-paced, cut-throat technology environment. This experience coupled with his astute business talent, gives him the ability to make good decisions quickly and effectively, while maintaining the Big Stage vision. I'm pleased to have him leading our company."
Big Stage's proprietary 3-D capture technology will automatically map the contours of a user's face, free, using advanced stereo reconstruction technology. Anyone can do it using a standard, handheld digital camera, without the need for complex multi-camera or laser scanner arrays. With just three easy photos, Bigstage.com generates an incredibly accurate personal digital replica that is fully-equipped for animation. In less than a minute, an @ctor is born, alive with realistic movements and gestures. Users can then style their @ctor with a host of accessories, from hair to eyeglasses, hats and more. After users create and style their @ctors, they can drop them into the library of Big Stage-enabled user- and professionally-created content or scenes. Big Stage will launch a consumers test this summer, with general availability planned for the fourth quarter of 2008.