Mountain View High grads launch popular Genies avatar app


Courtesy of Akash Nigam
Akash Nigam launched an app he created, Blend, while a student at the University of Michigan years ago. Blend evolved into the avatar-customizing Genies, which has propelled the Los Altos native, pictured recently, and co-founder Evan Rosenbaum onto the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Consumer Technology.

On any given day, mobile app Genies CEO and co-founder Akash Nigam could be meeting with a famous pro athlete or social media influencer hoping to have his or her face transformed into a virtual avatar powered by artificial intelligence.

“The cool thing about this company is that a lot of these influencers or celebrities reached out to us themselves,” the Los Altos native said. “We were contacted by a number of people that range from (NBA player) Russell Westbrook to (musician) Shawn Mendes. When they learn more about the company, they end up investing. A lot of them have now become friends with (Genies), and a lot of them are just fans.”

In breath and silence: Yoga is Youthfulness studio offers sense of peace, lightness


Andrew Yee/Special to the Town Crier
Mojdeh, instructor at Yoga is Youthfulness in Mountain View, leads her class through a yoga practice Feb. 17.

After two decades in the same spot, Yoga is Youthfulness is relocating, but the impending move shouldn’t disrupt the Mountain View studio’s routine or deter its passionate regulars.

YiY is moving from 590 Castro St. to 1954 Old Middlefield Way in April. Longtime instructors such as Mojdeh, a practitioner of healing arts since 1975, have developed a faithful following.

Engineer-turned-realtor keeps on building


Emily Quiles/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos realtor Hiep Nguyen’s life has taken many twists – from fleeing Vietnam as a child to his career as an engineer and his pivot to real estate.

Hiep Nguyen developed his work ethic at a young age as he watched his parents start over in the United States after leaving war-torn Vietnam with next to nothing.

“I just cannot fathom starting over. ... I feel a sense of awe and indebtedness,” the Los Altos resident said.

Author visits Linden Tree to promote book and STEM


A group of elementary school children and their parents gathered around Komal Singh as she read aloud from her new children’s book at Linden Tree Books. Visiting Los Altos on her fall book tour, she shared several passages from “Ara the Star Engineer” before pulling out a virtual-reality headset for the kids to experience.

Rug business rolls along: Mountain View shop nears 20th year


Mary Larsen/Town Crier
Global Rug Specialist in Mountain View sells rugs by master weavers in Iran as well as other fine wool and silk rugs, above. 

A visit to Global Rug Specialist in Mountain View is a respite from the busyness of El Camino Real.

There are rugs on the walls, rugs on the floor, rugs hanging from the ceiling – each created from thousands of individual knots, each a work of art. A small loom in the showroom displays the highly detailed work involved in the creation of a handmade rug. With a comfortable patio in back, complete with gas fireplace, one would never guess the store’s location.

Area natives launch charity-oriented public platform


Courtesy of GoodSocial
GoodSocial is a free online platform created by two local natives that connects people who want to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in their area. GoodSocial’s first interface, pictured above, launched last week with mobile and desktop options. Every user’s main page displays their information, causes and the nonprofits they follow so that fellow volunteers or involved nonprofits can see if they would be a fit for each specific philanthropic opportunity.

Two area natives recently launched GoodSocial, a free online platform that connects people who want to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in need of help, making it easier for the service-minded to engage philanthropically.

GoodSocial aims to fill the gap between the professional, resume-flashing option of LinkedIn and the personal, interest-based options of accepted social media such as Twitter.


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