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.”

Transactions for the week of March 13

Los Altos

939 Castilleja Court, A. & E. Shoemaker to Holte Gillian Trust for $3,250,000

1 W. Edith Avenue Unit C118, Lindberg Family Trust to K. Murphy for $253,000

Tips for preparing to sell your house


Thinking about selling your house? Shhhh – don’t tell anyone.

I’m kidding. Sort of. Here is the reality: There are more people who want to move into this area than those leaving. So, when word gets out that you are thinking about selling, here is what may happen: Your phone, email, texts, etc., will start to blow up. Your neighbors have a buyer friend who has been looking for two years, some developer from out of the area wants to pay you all cash if you sign today or real estate agents who have buyers who want to move right in so their kids can start school in the fall.

East Coast-based brokerage Compass acquires local Alain Pinel Realtors

Alain Pinel Realtors, which has an office in Los Altos, is now under the umbrella of New York’s Compass, according to a statement Alain Pinel associates released on social media March 5.

“We are proud to announce that Alain Pinel Realtors has joined Compass,” the public comment reads. “Two innovators, two pioneers in the real estate industry; now one company. We’re excited for the future, and plan to share more news as we move forward.”

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.


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