Key Leadership Positions Will Enable Scaling of Operations and Strategic Partnerships
May 3, 2016 -- SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. and BELLEVUE, Wash. — AxonVR, creator of the first platform to offer realistic full-body touch in virtual reality, announced today that it has expanded its senior leadership team to include two former Microsoft executives with significant industry experience. Mark Kroese has been tapped to fill the role of President, and Joe Michaels has joined the company as Chief Revenue Officer.
Kroese and Michaels join AxonVR, whose technology enables users to move naturally through virtual environments, and feel the size, shape, weight, texture, and temperature of virtual objects. The staffing of these key positions comes as AxonVR expands its engineering team in San Luis Obispo and business operations in Bellevue. The company recently extended its seed funding round in response to strong investor interest.
“We are thrilled to bring these talented, seasoned executives to our company as we shift from research and development to designing market-ready products. We have the opportunity to shape the field of full-body haptics for VR. Adding industry veterans with such vast experience will enable us to maximize our growth and success,” stated Jake Rubin, Founder and CEO of AxonVR.
Mark Kroese comes to AxonVR with twenty years of experience at Microsoft Corporation, where he held numerous product management, marketing and general management posts in the Office and Entertainment divisions. Kroese was also a key member of the executive team of Applied Discovery, an electronic discovery startup acquired by LexisNexis. As President, Kroese will focus on business and financial operations, marketing and long-range planning.
“I’m thrilled to join such a visionary company,” said Kroese. “AxonVR has that elusive combination of technology and talent that could revolutionize the entire industry. By adding full-body motion, touch and force feedback, we are taking VR beyond the realm of the head mounted display.”
Long-time Microsoft business development professional, Joe Michaels, has also joined AxonVR as Chief Revenue Officer. As CRO, Michaels will focus on building strategic partnerships with companies in several industries, including VR, entertainment, defense, healthcare, sports, and simulation and training. Michaels will align AxonVR’s technology offering with the needs of customers and partners.
For over 15 years Michaels has built partnerships between media and technology companies, negotiating and managing relationships with the entertainment, sports, and publishing industries. He spent over a decade at Microsoft in an array of business development leadership roles including Senior Director of Business Development for MSN. He struck successful partnerships on behalf of Microsoft with key industry players including Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Fox Sports, NBC, Disney, Discovery Communications, Buzzfeed, and many others. Prior to Microsoft, Michaels co-founded e-commerce startup Nexchange Corporation where he oversaw sales, marketing and business development.
“AxonVR has created a powerful new way to experience VR, using haptic technology that will bring the concept of immersion to new levels,” Michaels added. “I’m beyond excited to work with forward-thinking companies who can utilize Axon’s novel technology.”
Founded in 2012 by CEO Jake Rubin and Lead Engineer Dr. Robert Crockett, AxonVR’s mission is to bring virtual worlds to life through the power of realistic, full-body interaction. AxonVR is a team of engineers, designers, and innovators based in Bellevue, WA (headquarters) and San Luis Obispo, CA.
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