The day after his final exam at UCLA, Forest Key took a year off to backpack around the world, and then started his career at Lucasfilm working in post-production of visual effects for the Star Wars films, among others.
"My professional journey in media technology and entrepreneurship began at UCLA where the potent mix of diverse students, rigorous academic programming, and the vibrant campus and city of LA all awakened my passion to build “storytelling” businesses."
"I lived off-campus, [since] there were no dorm slots for me freshman year in ’89, and worked part-time in the film and television industry throughout my years as a student, and when I graduated I was tremendously well prepared with life-skills, grit, and intellectual context to start my own companies.
After his time at Lucasfilm, he started his first company Puffin Design (angel-backed), a computer graphics tools business that had a good run and was acquired by a public company. Key spent the next 10 years at larger companies Adobe and Microsoft, where he built more products as a product manager for Flash, Silverlight, Visual Studio, and other web and desktop software platforms. His second startup buuteeq (venture-backed) was a SaaS solution for automating marketing and commerce for hotels—it was acquired by Priceline.
Key's current company (venture and corporate investment-backed) is Pixvana, a virtual and augmented reality storytelling platform focused on corporate Learning & Development (training retail and manufacturing employees), based in Seattle, WA.
When asked why he decided to join UCLA Ventures, Key said, "I spend a lot of time mentoring other entrepreneurs in the Seattle community, and would like to do the same for UCLA alumni."
"I rarely come across Bruins living in Washington state, and when I do I have a warm-fuzzy tribal nostalgia which reminds me of UCLA—I’m excited to be connected to the UCLA Ventures community."