Founder Focus: Michael White, CEO and Founder of Zero Infinity One
Zero Infinity One’s Michael White is a musician, music producer, networker and visionary.
His latest vision would have people from around the world interacting with one another in the same venue holographically through a process he calls XR – extended reality. And White has used the Long Beach Accelerator and Sunstone Management to jumpstart his start-up this last October.
But the journey began a quarter-century before, when he was a guitar player in a band.
“We were about to be signed by Warner when I decided that wasn’t really what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “I went into music production and video games instead. By 2005, we were doing media experiences on the edge of the (inter)net’s capabilities.”
By 2011, he and his friends had opened an entertainment venue, and White launched Zero Infinity Inc. in Ottawa, Canada. But White was watching the tech world, and by 2016, he had returned to the world of multimedia.
Using the Microsoft Hololens technology, White put together a deal with a laser tag company that linked 44 different venues for a mixed reality experience for players.
Then the pandemic arrived in 2020. White, in Austin at the time, started looking for ways people could still enjoy a concert together or simply have a chat in a more personal way than on Zoom or Microsoft meetings.
“The idea it to have people meet holographically,” White said. “We can put systems in venues to allow for social experiences, where people can roam around the venue and meet people.”
The other half of the system is a pair of high-tech glasses — as opposed to the large virtual reality headsets — connected to a smart phone. A 3D scan allows avatars that look like the people using the system.
But White knew that he needed more technological brain power. He had met and worked with the top experts in the field, but didn’t have the resources to have them come work with him.
“I was boot-strapping it,” he said. “A friend told me about the Long Beach Accelerator, and I applied.
“I saw a webinar, and then connected with Andrea (White-Kjoss, the LBA executive director) directly,” he added. “People are really important to me, and we hit it off immediately.”
White was accepted to the third cohort of the Long Beach Accelerator, and made the move from Austin to Long Beach specifically to attend the four-month program. The accelerator is a partnership between the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Cal State Long Beach, the city of Long Beach and Sunstone, which provides financial support to the accelerator and direct financing to startups.
With backing from Sunstone, White incorporated Zero Infinity One in October 2021. He says he cannot say enough about the people in the LBA program and the help from Sunstone.
“I’m into everything Andrea,” he said. “And Sunstone really stepped up and keeps stepping up throughout the process. At the accelerator, these are the people I want to work with. It all falls in line with what I want to do.”
White said he is still in the process of developing his own VR platform — working with those tech experts he couldn’t hire before — and the hologram scanning process. Along with the tech testing, he’s developing a venue client list.
And if that isn’t enough, Zero Infinity One will soon open a physical venue in the Southland to provide live and virtual experiences.
To keep track of Zero Infinity One, go to zeroinfinityone.com.