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Boardroom Q&A: ImagineAR CEO Alen Paul Silverrstieen

ImagineAR’s Alen Paul Silverrstieen is on a mission to reinvent digital greetings with AR holograms starring big names like David Ortiz, Ric Flair, and Tyson Fury.

ImagineAR CEO and President Alen Paul Silverrstieen has always had an entrepreneur’s spirit, dating back to when he sold prepaid phone cards in New York in the 1990s. Decades later, he’s signed licensing deals with the NHL, MLB, Upper Deck trading cards, and more.

He’s also spent four years in India with his wife, where he ran — among other ventures — an AI recruitment software solutions company and a post-production Hollywood studio. But across the media and technology landscape in 2022, nothing revs him up quite like augmented reality.

“I’ve always enjoyed that kind of marriage, the integration of tech with something very creative,” Silverrstieen told Boardroom. “And I think AR really lends itself amazingly.”

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It’s why he bought into ImagineAR in 2017, just as augmented reality was growing in mainstream popularity. He experienced the first Microsoft HoloLens prototype when it came out and saw the subsequent Pokémon Go phenomenon, and he knew that’s where the company had to shift its focus.

He started building an early vision of AR tech in 2018 and integrating holograms, continually investing in engagement and experiential opportunities, knowing it would become huge with not just sports fans but also consumers in retail and entertainment.

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, there was a huge uptick in demand from fans who needed to be engaged from home and not at a live event. The answer was in mobile and through interactive experiences. LaLiga clubs Valencia and Real Sociedad signed up, as did Brazilian soccer giants Atletico Mineiro.

After the tragic 2018 Parkland, Florida shooting, the Broward Education Foundation called up Silverrstieen and wanted to do something special for the graduating students. They worked together to create a unique AR experience that allowed 1.5 million geolocated homes in the area to download the ImagineAR app to view a graduation video alongside a separately released Flo Rida TikTok dance that went viral.

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury

Even though ImagineAR’s platform supports 3D and other types of full AR capability, it’s always come back to the worlds of sports and payment interest in using the holograms. So last August, Silverrstieen went back to his tech team and created the concept for Fame Days, an interactive AR hologram experience in which a video greeting message from celebrities like David Ortiz, Von Miller, Tyson Fury, Ric Flair, Johnny Damon, Adam Scherr, and Pete Alonso can be instantly dropped anywhere in the world. It’s an affordable option for consumers who want a digital centerpiece to accent a special day that can be shared across social platforms.

“We felt the next level in fan engagement is how can we make it very affordable, fun, and interactive?” Silverrstieen said. “I always call it like two Happy Meals, and you get your own hologram with your famous sports star or celebrity in your home.”

The Fame Days trademark allows athletes, entertainers, TikTok influencers, and eventually anyone to be on the platform to monetize their content and give a unique new metaverse hologram e-greeting to make someone’s day special, Silverrstieen added.

Miller was the first big name to commit to the brand while with the Denver Broncos, with 70% of sales going to the creator or the creator’s charity of choice — which is how Ortiz elected to direct his sales — and Fame Days keeps the rest. There are also people who want a guaranteed payment up front, and they accommodate those requests as well.

“This is great because it’s a one and done,” Silverrstieen said. “They come in, they record a single session with us, 30 to 40 minutes to do a certain amount of greetings. The more greetings they have, the more potential to earn revenue, then that’s it for the next couple of years with multi-year agreements and then they’re off and running. And through the years if they want to update, they can come back and we can do more recordings.”

After a super soft launch around December and a more formal beta launch on April 15, the next iteration of the platform will drop in July around Ortiz’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction. Silverrstieen will then start rolling out concerted PR and marketing efforts with social media, geolocation-targeted campaigns, and the potential for sponsorship opportunities.

So, how big can Fame Days get?

“When you’re looking at online instant delivery and the universe of sports and entertainment, artists, musicians, influencers, TikTokers, I don’t think there is any limit to how big this can go,” Silverrstieen said.

There are eventual plans to release a self-publishing platform, putting it in the hands of the creators, he said.

“We feel it’s going to be the central fan engagement platform around the world because it works instantly around the world,” Silverrstieen said. “Once it starts taking off and we put the platform in everyone’s hands, there’s a whole new creative group that has yet to put their hands on it and are gonna do things that none of us could imagine.”

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