Rizwan (“Riz”) Virk is a multifaceted entrepreneur, investor, and author, recognized for a plethora of significant contributions to the tech and entertainment sectors. An alumnus of MIT and Stanford, Riz is not only academically accomplished but also professionally versatile. Presently, he’s immersed in research about the metaverse and virtual worlds, pursuing a PhD at ASU’s College of Global Futures.
At MIT, Riz pioneered Play Labs, a startup accelerator that emphasized innovation in the gaming industry. His Silicon Valley endeavors include a rich portfolio of angel investments, featuring startups such as Discord, Pocket Gems, and Theta Labs. Notably, Riz’s association with video games doesn’t end at investing: he’s had hands-on involvement in games like Tap Fish and Penny Dreadful: Demimonde.
Beyond the world of tech, Riz’s creative pursuits have led him to produce indie films, with credits on movies such as “Knights of Badassdom,” featuring renowned actors like Peter Dinklage. He has also been instrumental in bringing literary works of celebrated authors, like Philip K. Dick and Ursula K. Le Guin, to the screen.
In the literary realm, Riz is the author of insightful books including “The Simulation Hypothesis” and “Zen Entrepreneurship.” His curious mind explores topics that reside at the intersection of technology, philosophy, and spirituality, which he delves into in his podcast, The Simulated Universe.
Having garnered attention from premier outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Tech Crunch, and even The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Riz is a sought-after speaker on diverse subjects, from the intricacies of startups to the depth of meditation. No matter where his ventures lead him, Riz finds home in three cities across the U.S.: Mountain View, CA; Cambridge, MA; and Tempe, AZ, adjusting his location with the seasons.