Mr. Bafer has served as our Executive Chairman since August 2018. He also served as our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board from February 2018 to August 2018. In addition, Mr. Bafer served as our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and a member of our Board of Directors from 2009 to 2016 and from April 2017 to January 2018. He also served as our Chief Development Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2016 to January 2018. Mr. Bafer is a seasoned executive and an established entrepreneur, with diverse experience in entertainment, technology, venture capital, and investment management. Mr. Bafer successfully led the organization and development of numerous startup companies, having also achieved a number of successful exits. He is principally responsible for the transformation of our Company from a film entertainment and production company, into a forward-looking entertainment technology and mixed reality company. Mr. Bafer’s business management and financial acumen were apparent even early on in his career and have permeated throughout it ever since. After graduating in the top 4% of his St. John’s University class, Mr. Bafer moved on to help manage a $500 million portfolio at Merrill Lynch in New York City. He then assumed a position as senior account executive with Preferred Securities Group in Boca Raton, Florida, where he was quickly promoted to President and Managing Director, responsible for overseeing the firm’s three trading offices, 50 registered representatives and numerous support personnel. From there he accepted an equity position as a fund manager where he was involved in all aspects of building, organizing and managing a hedge fund. Throughout his career, Mr. Bafer has been active as a venture capitalist and business incubator, where he has been instrumental in support of numerous prominent start-up ventures.
Chief Executive Officer and Director
Mr. Textor was appointed as our Chief Executive Officer and Director in August 2018. He has been Executive Chairman of EAI since its inception in November 2017. EAI is a development stage company focused on the adaptation and development of human animation technology to enable diverse artificial intelligence platforms to interact with consumers in the relatable form of a human face. Mr. Textor founded PEC, a majority owned subsidiary of EAI, on May 31, 2013. PEC is a globally recognized pioneer in the development of hyper-realistic digital humans for live shows, virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic, 3D stereoscopic, web, mobile, interactive and artificial intelligence applications. From May 2015 until July 2017, he served as Chief Financial Officer of PEC. From January 2015 until July 2017, Mr. Textor served as Chief Executive Officer of PEC.
Mr. Textor is a globally recognized, pioneer and developer of disruptive technologies, creative content, and digital distribution business models for media, entertainment and the internet. Featured as “Hollywood’s Virtual Reality Guru”, by Forbes, Mr. Textor stands among the earliest pioneers of the convergence of entertainment media and technology. Mr. Textor is widely credited as the pioneer of the new Holographic Entertainment industry. He is responsible for the 2012 appearance of Virtual Tupac Shakur at the Coachella Valley Music Festival and the performance of Virtual Michael Jackson at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, generating more than 100 million YouTube views and 98 billion Internet impressions worldwide.
At a time when major record labels and film studios were rejecting all forms of digital distribution, and Napster was treated as a ‘defendant’ more than a pioneer, Textor created an internet-based 3-D multi-user virtual world. This new technology became the first digital distribution platform to be endorsed by Metallica, one of the most outspoken opponents of Napster and online content sharing. Supported by joint-ventures with leading digital rights management companies, such as IBM, and strategic relationships with leading music artists and action sports companies, Textor’s Jester Digital Corporation was among the earliest to create internet-based multi-user virtual reality and game-like environments which paved the way for the convergence of music and the internet, massive multi-player games and the digital distribution of entertainment content.
Mr. Textor’s belief in the importance of high-quality computer generated visual content ultimately led him to become the largest shareholder and Co-Chairman of the predecessor to Digital Domain (HKSE: 547). He led its acquisition and restructuring from May 2006, through a NYSE valuation of $450 million in Spring 2012. The company was responsible for the visual effects of more than 80 large scale feature films, including such blockbusters as Transformers, Flags of our Fathers, Tron:Legacy, Real Steel, Pirates of the Caribbean at World’s End and Thor. Under Mr. Textor’s leadership, Digital Domain experienced a doubling of its revenues in three years and was re-established as a market leader in visual effects. The company won multiple Academy Awards, CLIO advertising awards and was recognized as the first visual effects company to deliver a believable digital human actor in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This achievement, known as the ‘Holy Grail of Animation’, earned the company a 2009 Academy Award for Achievement in Visual Effects. Mr. Textor resigned from Digital Domain in September 2012, providing notice through associated SEC filings of his intent to acquire Digital Domain in competition with plans proposed by various hedge funds and Digital Domain’s leading China-based shareholder. Mr. Textor’s proposals were not accepted and Digital Domain was subsequently restructured by its hedge fund stakeholders, ultimately resulting in the company’s multi-billion dollar IPO in Hong Kong.
In late 2013, Mr. Textor organized a group of former Digital Domain employees, including Academy Award winning digital artists and human animation specialists, to launch PEC. In 2015, Mr. Textor achieved ‘pop culture status’ as he and his principal partner were parodied in the holograms episodes of the globally successful animated sitcom, South Park. Prior to handing over day-to-day leadership of PEC to his successor management team, Mr. Textor’s Pulse Evolution created, funded, and launched a project to develop Virtual ABBA with celebrated music producer Simon Fuller, resulting in the long hoped-for reunion of the world renowned Swedish pop band, now anticipated for late 2019.
With a desire to pursue deeper and more globally impactful uses of digital humans, Mr. Textor created Evolution|AI Corporation. The company is focused on the adaptation and development of human animation technology. This will enable diverse artificial intelligence platforms to interact with consumers in the relatable form of a human face. Evolution|AI intends to develop a robust library of fully functional human faces, and human characters. The technology will allow people to communicate with leading artificial intelligence platforms, such as IBM’s Watson or Facebook’s Jasper, just as they would expect to communicate with another human being.
Tracing his roots as a programmer back to the early 1980’s Mr. Textor’s professional track record in technology began with his departure from an investment banking post at Shearson Lehman Hutton in the early 90’s. Mr. Textor became the principal founder of Wyndcrest Holdings, LLC, a private holding company focused on technology-related opportunities in entertainment, telecommunications and the Internet. Wyndcrest was best known for its support of the impressive, but then struggling Art Technology Group, a principal pioneer of internet personalization technology that would ultimately achieve a liquid $10.5 billion valuation as one of the most successful IPOs of 1999. Within Wyndcrest, he also served as the Chairman and CEO of BabyUniverse, Inc., a leading e-tailer of baby-related products, which Mr. Textor saved from insolvency with only a $300,000 investment in 2001, increasing revenues from $1 million to $40 million, and selling in October of 2007 for roughly $90 million.
He was a founding director and the largest shareholder of Virtual Bank, a Florida-based Internet banking startup that ultimately became a multi-billion dollar diversified financial services company, also having created several affinity branded internet banks for major corporations, such as MicrosoftVirtualBank, EMCVirtualBank, WorldcomVirtualBank and TextronVirtualBank. He was also a director of Multicast Media Technologies, Inc., a global provider of Internet-based broadcast media, which was sold successfully to KIT Digital of Czechoslovakia. Previously Mr. Textor served as Chairman of the Board and principal owner of Sims Snowboards, the world’s 2nd leading snowboard brand. During his tenure he created the World Snowboarding Championship.
Mr. Textor is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.
Chief Legal Officer and Director
Mr. Esposito has served as our Chief Legal Officer since July 2014 and as our director since February 2017. Mr. Esposito also served as interim Chief Executive Officer from January 2018 until February 2018. Mr. Esposito, former general counsel to several notable production companies and previously counsel to software development and social media companies, has also represented myriad artists, including a Grammy Award nominee and feature film directors.
Mr. Esposito began his legal career as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York. Representing Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and other high-level officials in litigation centering on the policies and practices of New York City, Mr. Esposito functioned as lead counsel for several high-profile litigations. Bringing a tremendously successful public sector litigation practice to conclusion, Mr. Esposito left the Corporation Counsel’s Office for a preeminent private sector litigation firm. After that firm merged with a leading international law firm, Mr. Esposito continued his representation of Fortune 500 and other multi-national corporations on an international level.
Mr. Esposito has spent two decades working in the legal profession representing a diverse array of clients from public officials to public corporations in nearly every business sector, including the financial services, transportation, banking, security and defense sectors. He has tried both federal and state cases, has appeared before judges, commissioners and arbitrators around the country and has argued innumerable matters before courts of varying jurisdictions. Likewise, he has counseled clients on highly capitalized transactions, joint ventures, distribution deals and business arrangements of all types. He has drafted contracts of nearly every form and successfully negotiated agreements covering a range of commercial and individual matters. During his legal career, he has developed an extensive network of individuals in nearly every type of business. Furthermore, aside from myriad professional memberships and accolades, he is the Associate Village Justice in his hometown.