We are an accomplished start up with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company started in 2011 when founders Will Henshall and John Vitale became interested in why people like to listen to music when they read. They found that listening to music while reading is not generally done for entertainment purposes, but is often used as a tool to help mask distraction and assist focus.
Further research showed two out of three of people like to listen to music while they work, study or read but it’s difficult to find and manage music that consistently works well for this purpose. So we created a new unique neuroscience based audio service that helps increase your focus by “zoning out” distractions.
We’d like to introduce you to the members of our core team, the board members, our board of advisors and our science advisory board.
FOUNDER & HEAD OF PRODUCT
Will has achieved notable global success both as a musical/visual artist and as a technical inventor. In 1987, he founded the British pop soul band Londonbeat and had two Billboard #1 hit records, “I’ve Been Thinking About You” (91) and “Come Back” (95). He founded Rocket Network, a Paul Allen/Cisco-funded San Francisco company, in 1995 and created the professional audio media transfer system, DigiDelivery. He sold the company to Avid/Digidesign in 2003.
MUSIC GURU / CO-FOUNDER
John has 25 years experience in music, sound, and film production as supervisor, producer, engineer, and remixer. He has worked for Warner Bros, Sony, BMG, and Universal Music, The B52ʼs, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Filter, Eminem, KD Lang, George Clinton, and The Romantics. He has directed major corporate product launches, live press events, and broadcast campaigns for GM, Toyota, Xbox, Fisker, Mercedes, and Lexus.
DAVID WENDELL PHILLIPS,
President & CEO
Dave is a veteran Internet executive and entrepreneur. Dave joined AOL in 94, becoming GC of AOL Europe, then President & MD of AOL, UK. Next, Dave became Crunch Music’s CEO (acquired by Music Choice PLC 01), and then had senior exec roles with Napster and IGN (acquired by NewsCorp 05). Dave founded and served as CEO of NaturalPath Media (acquired by SAY Media 010). Most recently, he served as an EVP with SideCar. An angel investor and business advisor to the Company, Dave became CEO of Focus@Will full-time this May 2015.
Graham started his career working with secure banking server systems with Nat West in London. He has known and worked with Will since 1995 when he was the Chief Architect at Rocket Network. When the company was acquired by Avid, he was hired as a Senior Principal Developer to integrate the DigiDelivery technology into ProTools, where he continued to work for the next seven years.
BUS DEV/FOCUS NINJA
Jeff (also known as DJ F) is an experienced DJ, saxophonist, music buyer, producer and remixer. He ran sync licensing at INgrooves in San Francisco for nearly a decade and was the vinyl and dance music buyer for the Virgin Megastore prior to that. He has licensed music into shows for every major TV network, numerous ad campaigns and video games. His group Late Night Sneaky performed at the Coachella festival in both 2012 and 13.
Peter has produced or engineered award winning artist such as Macy Gray, Jennifer Lopez and Katie Melua over the past 25 years. He has deep technical knowledge of the pyscho-acoustic side of the music mastering process and how things sound, or should sound, on various consumer devices.
Rich is a core part of the Music studio team. He is a Composer, Sound Producer, and a Synth Genius. He has tinkered with music and technology since the mid-eighties. Rich started piano lessons at five years-old and continued on to Berklee College of Music and UCLA’s Film Scoring program.
Matt has 20 years experience developing products at the intersection of media production and online distribution. He co-founded Rocket Network in 1995 with Will and was CTO. He then ran large teams as VP Engineering at Sonic Solutions, Roxio, and Rovi – managing cloud, client (PC, Mobile, CE, Game Console), and media production teams. Matt is also a highly competent musician, and has had a number of pro gigs over the years.
David has over 25 years of product and corporate development experience and is our initial angel investor. He has brought a multitude of products to consumer markets as well identifying, acquiring, and integrating a wealth of intellectual property products and teams. He is currently with Turner Broadcasting driving a new startup accelerator, Media Camp and previously was Senior Director at Apple Inc. for two terms totaling over 17 years.
Jonathan has known Founder/CEO Will Henshall for 17 years and was an investor and non-exec Chairman of Rocket Network. He was previously CEO of Barnes and Noble.com and is currently Founder/Chief Investment Officer of Blue Square Capital Management. He sits on the Board of Directors of Spark Networks, Pictage, Excelsior Funds. He serves on the advisory boards of Arkadium, The Jordan Edmiston Group in New York, Elderstreet Capital Partners in London and Jerusalem Global Venture Partners.
Rob is the CEO and Associate founder of Singularity University and is an investor in focus@will. He co-founded Velocity11 in 1999, building automation equipment and robotics for cancer research and drug discovery. The company was acquired by Agilent Technologies in 2007. He is also a co-founder of Alite Designs, is an active angel investor, and holds degrees in Mechanical, Materials Science and Manufacturing Engineering from UC Davis and Stanford University.
Salim is a sought-after speaker, strategist and entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley and is an investor in focus@will. He travels extensively addressing topics including breakthrough technologies and their impact on a variety of industries. He has spent the last four years building Singularity University based at NASA Ames and before that built and ran Brickhouse, Yahoo’s internal incubator. His last company, Angstro, was sold to Google in August 2010. It was his genius idea to name the company, “focus@will“!
Cindy is the company’s digital music licensing advisor. She is an expert in both content acquisition and distribution, including negotiation of rights and drafting agreements. She spent 8 years as SVP, Law and Business Affairs and General Counsel of MediaNet Digital (formerly MusicNet) a backend provider of digitial music services, and 7 years at MTV Networks as VP, Legal and Business Affairs assisting in the development and representation of the MTV Networks internet properties, including MTV, VH1 and CMT and SonicNet.
Ethan advises on capital and corporate matters. He is Co Founder/Managing Director of Boston based MediaBridge Capital Advisors, a new investment bank focused on providing M&A and corporate finance advisory services in the digital media sector. He was previously Senior VP Business Development and Chief Legal Ofﬁcer of Avid Technology, Inc. Prior to joining Avid, Ethan was VP and General Counsel for Molten Metal Technology, Inc, which developed an innovative technology for recycling hazardous waste.
Marc is the company’s music rights/publishing advisor. He was an angel investor in Rocket Network, and has known Will Henshall for 25 years. From 1982 to 1992, he ran Island Music Publishing and then Island Records, signing PJ Harvey, Pulp, The Cranberries, Tricky, Nine Inch Nails, the Stereo MCʼs, PM Dawn, Talvin Singh, as well managing the reinvention of U2 from Achtung Baby onwards. In 2000, he set up a music management company Terra Firma and currently is Chairman of leading UK talent management company, Crown Talent.
Rob was the sole founder and CEO of the online music company Listen.com. In 2001, he launched Rhapsody, the first licensed music streaming service of its kind. In 2003, the company was acquired by RealNetworks. Later, MTV purchased Rhapsody for $230 million. In March 1999 he became the founding outside board member of IGN Entertainment. IGN went public in March of the following year and was acquired by News Corp in September 2005 for $650MM.
Scientific Advisory Board
DR EVIAN GORDON
Evian advises on brain habituation and flow states. He is a San Francisco based Integrative Neuroscientist with 30 years experience and 250 plus peer-reviewed scientific publications. He established the world’s largest International Brain Database (brainresource.com), which contains 400,000 datasets from a wide variety of subjects, linked by 350 scientists from 28 countries, and an average of 1 scientific paper published weekly. Measurements reflect Genetics, Brain Structure, Function and Heart Rate Variability, providing objective scores on Thinking, Focus, Feeling and Self Regulation.
DR EDWARD HALLOWELL
Edward (Aka Ned) is a child and adult psychiatrist, a NY Times bestselling author, a world-renowned speaker and a leading authority in the field of ADHD. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane Medical School. He has authored eighteen books on psychological topics, including best selling titles on attention deficit disorder. He has been featured on 20/20, 60 Minutes, Oprah, CNN, The Today Show, Dateline, Good Morning America. He has been interviewed for The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Time Magazine, USA Weekend, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe and is a regular columnist for ADDitude Magazine.
DR STEPHEN SIDEROFF
Stephen advises on scientific end user trial testing. He is a Psychologist and an internationally recognized expert in behavioral medicine, optimal performance, resilience, neurofeedback and alternative approaches to stress and mental health. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA’s School of Medicine, and Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. He helped establish international innovative treatment approaches in psychosomatic medicine, optimal functioning and attention deficit disorder.
DR HAL MYERS
Hal advises on physiological monitoring and biofeedback application testing and is an investor in the company. He is is a prolific inventor and the founder of Thought Technology, the world’s leading biofeedback and psychophysiological instrument manufacturer. His equipment is used as an essential part of many therapeutic treatments and clinical assessment protocols to treat stress related disorders as well as provide treatment for ADD, ADHD, incontinence and muscle rehabilitation (including sEMG-triggered stimulation), as well as general ergonomics, sports and educational applications.