Sony may have killed Aibo, its peppy robotic dog, but fear not.
Elsewhere, Silicon Valley’s cutting edge technology and Hollywood’s characters are creating new life forms at a rate not seen heretofore. The Disney purchase of Emeryville’s Pixar is the most high-profile example, though there are hundreds of other relationships forming between Silicon Valley and its erstwhile nemesis to the South.
Ask Tony Perkins, the former editor of Red Herring, who tried a few years to ago to launch a successful tech conference down in Hollywood. “We tried to bridge Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Everyone showed up, but no one went home together,” he recalls. So he’s launched OnHollywood 2006, a play on his current company’s name, AlwaysOn, and he is confident it will work. “Now everybody is sleeping with with everyone.”
The event, May 2-4, will follow a familiar format, where his team will help select the OnHollywood 100 hottest digital/consumer companies.
Meanwhile, today we got word that toy inventor Caleb Chung, the creator of Furby, is joining forces with former Lucasfilm President Gordon Radley at a company called Ugobe, to bring “revolutionary” new toys to market. Radley will join the company’s board.
Emeryville’s Ugobe says it will deliver “robotic technology that transforms inanimate objects into lifelike creatures exhibiting stunning, organic movements and behaviors,” according to a piece in VentureWire today (sub required)
Of course, Ugobe officials liken the company to Pixar in the way it uses computers to create lifelike characters — Pixar in animation and Ugobe in robotics.
HilliardVC, in San Francisco is an investor, according to its…
Ugobe also told VentureWire that Chauncey Shey, president of Softbank China Holdings, is participating in a private capacity in Ugobe’s $2.5 million Series A round. Much of the round is already raised, said Chief Executive Officer, chairman and co-founder Bob Christopher. Expected to close in March, the $2.5 million will go to fuel research and development as well as staffing needs.
Ugobe today also released the names of some of its advisory team, from a mix of gaming, technology and retail backgrounds: Steve Mayer, a co-founder of Atari Inc. and Activision Inc.; Curtis Sasaki, a vice president at Sun Microsystems Inc. and Phil Schlein, a chief executive and president of Macy’s California for 11 years and current venture partner at US Venture Partners in Menlo Park, Calif.