ABOUT US

Axon Park is focused on supporting organizations to harness the power of XR training. At our core, we believe the immersive platform shift is unlocking new levels of human cognition and equalizing opportunity.

OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

At Axon Park, we are committed to building a more inclusive, equal and accessible future. Virtual classrooms enable people from anywhere in the world to learn together, while the use of neutral avatars can significantly reduce student and teacher bias – equalizing access to opportunity.

To further this mission we have partnered with VR First, a global leader in XR education, to provide people from all backgrounds with access to over 850 university VR labs around the world. We work with governments, universities and businesses to launch scholarship programs to empower a diverse future workforce.

Taylor Freeman

Founder & CEO

Prior to launching Axon Park, Taylor served as the CEO and Co-Founder of Upload where he focused on growing and supporting the nascent XR industry. During this time they built UploadVR.com, one of the industry’s go-to news outlets reaching millions of people per month, produced 500+ VR and AR focused events, opened two coworking spaces in SF and LA housing over 150 VR, AR and AI startups, consulted with companies like IDEO, Google, NASA, Stanford Medical, and Singularity University on XR and oversaw the training of nearly 1,000 professional students on XR development in Upload's SF & LA based VR labs.

Taylor taught the first in-VR class at MIT and was awarded Forbes 30 under 30 in 2017 for his work building the VR industry. He is passionate about using immersive technology to empower people from all backgrounds to have more productive and fulfilling lives.

Jacki Morie, MS, Ph.D

Curriculum & Education Advisor

With advanced degrees in both art and computer science, Dr. Morie has 25 years experience in developing innovative techniques for rich, emotionally evocative virtual reality (VR) environments. Dr. Morie spent 13 years as a Sr. Research Scientist at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), which she helped found. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Morie started comprehensive computer animation training programs at Walt Disney Feature Animation combining art and technology, which she later expanded to the special effects industries at studios such as Rhythm and Hues. In more recent years, she developed mindfulness classes for soldiers via a networked social VR world (along with the Army Medical Command and the UCSD Center for Mindfulness). In 2016 she completed a 3 year project for NASA to build a VR prototype “Holodeck” called ANSIBLE for astronauts who will be going on long duration space flights to places like Mars. Today she oversees the XPRIZE Avatar challenge, teaches VR at OTIS college and works with Axon Park to pioneer the future of education using VR.

Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D.

Neuroscientist & Learning Advisor

Dr. Adam Gazzaley obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, completed Neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently The David Dolby Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and the Founder & Executive Director of Neuroscape, a translational neuroscience center engaged in technology creation and scientific research. At Neuroscape, he leads the design and development of novel brain assessment and cognitive optimization technologies to advance education, wellness and medicine practices. He is also co-founder and Chief Science Advisor of Akili Interactive, a company developing therapeutic video games, and co-founder and Chief Scientist of JAZZ Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in experiential technology to improve human performance. He has been a scientific advisor for over a dozen companies including Apple, GE, Nielsen, Deloitte, Magic Leap, and the VOID, as well as serving on the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Dr. Gazzaley has filed multiple patents for his inventions, authored over 130 scientific articles, and delivered over 600 invited presentations around the world.

Alex Silkin, MCS

Master Instructor

Alex Silkin is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Survios, a virtual reality game developer dedicated to creating active, immersive experiences that push the limits of VR innovation. He oversees the design and implementation of the proprietary technology that powers Survios’ VR gaming titles that have gone on to be some of the industry’s best sellers. To this date, the studio has released 3 VR exclusive UE4 powered titles: “Raw Data”, “Sprint Vector” and “Creed: Rise to Glory”. These products all received wide critical acclaim for their quality and innovation in the VR industry. Additionally, the studio has recently announced two more upcoming VR exclusive UE4 games: “Battlewake” and “Walking Dead: Onslaught”. Alex Silkin has been actively researching and developing VR experiences since 2012, when he took on the role of lead developer of Project Holodeck, a USC undergraduate research program focused on making full-body VR a viable consumer gaming platform. He has a masters in computer science from USC and was awarded Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2018.

Ferhan Özkan

VR First CEO

Ferhan Özkan is leading the mission is to create a global ecosystem of XR innovators and utilize the power of this network for solving the challenges of industry from different verticals. His influential journey started when he founded a pre-incubation center funded by World Bank, guiding 8 startups to successful industry exits. Soon afterwards, he established the digital platform Playstore.com for a telco operator distributing games of the top AAA publishers worldwide. The platform still continues to become one of the most profitable Value Added Services overall.

As elected Vice-Chair of the IEEE VR/AR Standards Group, he works on bringing the industry closer, while focusing on empowering the major stakeholders with his expertise and global network. He co-founded VR First, a global enabling organization of innovators which has already attracted over 410 startup clusters and 850 universities from all around the world to join on its mission of the democratization of VR/AR. At various conferences, he is passionately addressing to a wide range of audience sharing his vision on the upcoming leap of immersive transformation.

Stacey Gordon, MBA

Hiring & Inclusion Advisor

With an MBA from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business & Management, Stacey is an Adjunct Professor teaching Diversity in Organizations at Phillips Graduate University, the former President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources and manages programs for Professionals In Human Resources Association, the largest SHRM affiliate in the country. She is the author of a book titled The Successful Interview: 99 Questions to Ask and Answer (and Some You Shouldn’t) and four LinkedIn e-learning courses titled Recruiting for Diversity, Awareness of Unconscious Bias, Making a Career Change and Writing a Resume, which collectively are well on their way to one million views. As a consultant and career strategist, Stacey has written career and diversity related articles and provided content for Essence, Black MBA Magazine, Forbes.com, Monster.com and several career related blogs. She was also a career segment guest contributor to Fox Business.

Rahel Demant, MS

VR First COO

After a double master's degree in Finance, Rahel worked in Deloitte's Transaction Advisory division. After a consulting job in Canada, the USA, and Costa Rica, she founded an event marketing agency, organizing art events across Germany. Fascinated by the power and possibilities of emerging tech, she joined VR First as COO in 2016. She has led the program to a network of thousands of developers. In order to support the diversity of the tech scene, she has initiated the Women XR Laureate category Auggie Breakthrough Award, honored at the Augmented World Expo. Her mission: to democratize VR/AR development worldwide through VR First’s various support programs and online competitions.

Daniel Liebeskind

Technical Advisor & WebXR Expert

Daniel Liebeskind is a software developer and entrepreneur specializing in building web, mobile and blockchain applications. Daniel has built several production web and mobile applications including Crypto Kastle, FODMAP Buddy, and SlackCryptoBot. He is the co-founder of Decrypt`{`ed`}`, a software development and blockchain consulting shop. Daniel is the lead developer and co-founder of Chestnut, an EOS -based blockchain application that won 2nd Place and Best UX at the EOS Global Hackathon in London. He also developed Nexeos at the EOS Hackathon in London. Daniel co-founded and was the CEO of BODY App, a marketplace for fitness professionals to offer live and on-demand classes. BODY App received funding from Y Combinator Fellowship in 2016. Daniel spends his free time exploring VR worlds and is passionate about building the future of the immersive web.