Angel Munoz: The Puerto Rican serial entrepreneur changing the world through technology
The tech visionary’s latest projects aim to engage and connect people from all over the world in a simple, efficient way.
Throughout the duration of his professional career, Angel Munoz has often been a step ahead of the rest.
Growing up in both New York City and Puerto Rico, the environments surrounding him were highly influential.
It was the late 1960s and 1970s, the middle of the Civil Rights unrest and fight for equality.
During that time, Munoz saw the standard for pursuing careers with money as a primary goal.
He, himself, began his professional career with the same pursuit as an investment banker.
“I did very well, it was an extraordinarily successful career. But it was empty of meaning,” Munoz said during an interview with AL DÍA.
“So I made it meaningful by aligning myself with companies that I felt had a potential of making huge impacts,” he continued.
His first alignment was with a company that created the compression algorithm that later became MP3 and MP4.
Given the world-wide usage of those audio formats, the endeavor became very inspirational to Munoz as he seeked to have more meaning and make a larger impact on life in his career.
“It just always stayed in the back of my mind that it just couldn't be just all about money,” he said. “It had to be more.”
With that in mind, in 1990, Munoz launched his own firm, New World Investments.
Through the firm, Munoz helped finance $15 million for the company, which was just one of several projects he worked on.
Other projects include becoming an investor with the company that created LASIK, the first TV set top unit to stream movies, and the company that eventually introduced DVDs into the marketplace.
“My firm was about creating new experiences at a large scale,” said Munoz.
He described himself as having “the mind of an engineer and the heart of a marketing person.”
Munoz’s approach has often been to look at a piece of technology and find ways to make it better.
After five years, he decided to sell the investment firm and embark on the next journey of his extensive career.
That next journey was in the video game industry.
He started by launching Adrenaline Vault, an award-winning video game publication that would become one of the world’s most dependable sources of industry information, and in 1997, Munoz created the first professional gamers league in the world, the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL).
The league would eventually become the catalyst for introducing video gaming as a professional competitive sport.
While he found great success, the initial switch to the industry proved to be very difficult early on.
“The internet was brand new,” said Munoz. “But there goes the heart of a marketing person. I was able to convince large companies… that this was the future that they had to be a part of.”
“All of a sudden, in a period of three or four years, we had millions of dollars in sponsorships, and we were running events all over the world,” he added.
Munoz managed and led the CPL for over a dozen years. Over that time, the league hosted 60 international tournament events all over the world, sanctioned 600 international qualifiers and awarded more than $3 million in cash prizes.
Fast forward to today, and eSports is now a multi-billion dollar industry.
After selling the CPL, Munoz was once again left with the task of deciding what his next endeavor would be.
It was 2011, and social media was really starting to dominate the marketplace all over the world. That year, Munoz launched Mass Luminosity, a global research, development and experiential technology company.
As Munoz began this new venture, he again started to look at the prominence of social media, analyze some of the pros and cons, and seek ways to make it better.
“What I noticed is that I was early in detecting the problems that social media would have,” said Munoz.
“One of them was the manipulation of the feed by encouraging you to see things that provoke anger or are far away from your core values,” he added.
While social media started as a way to help people engage with friends and family from afar, as time passed, it has also been used as a tool to incite negativity.
The second problem, Munoz said, was the cost various social media platforms have to boost or promote posts.
“Again, I saw a problem, and I said, ‘I think I can solve this by creating my own social media network,’” said Munoz.
In 2014, Munoz launched GTribe®, a social media community for tech enthusiasts and PC gamers.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” he said, “because everything about GTribe® was programmed from the ground up, we did not use any third-party anything.”
The platform does not advertise and has a strict code of conduct that prohibits any discussions that are divisive in nature, including topics such as religion and politics.
In creating GTribe®, Munoz has been able to connect and engage with a community of people who were so instrumental in his earlier career success — the video gaming community.
“It was designed just for me to give back,” said Munoz. “I felt an obligation to give something back to that community that had supported me.”
Since launching with about 175,000 people, the platform has skyrocketed to include over 5.5 million users from every continent.
Munoz credits the home-like component for its large-scale community growth over the years.
“Our one philosophy on GTribe® — and you can ask any member — is that we treat people like they were in our home or we were in their home,” he said.
“There’s no strangers here… only friends you have not yet met,” he added.
Staying true to the theme that has followed throughout his professional career, Munoz’s latest venture has helped to connect individuals from all over the world.
In July 2021, Munoz launched Beacon®, a revolutionary audiovisual communications platform.
When Munoz started to create the new platform, he set out goals based on questions he had pertaining to other similar-purpose platforms, such as Zoom.
“One of them is, within the limitations of the technology, how high can we push the resolution?” he said.
While most audiovisual communications platforms have a resolution of 720P, Beacon® goes all the way up to 4K resolution, with saturated colors.
The next question asked why so many other platforms have low-quality sounds.
To address this, Munoz decided to create Beacon® with binaural audio.
“Binaural audio is designed for human ears, not for standards in the studio, but for what we interpret as real and as sounding real,” said Munoz.
Another element of the platform is simplicity.
While most platforms include a panel of buttons and controls at the bottom of a call, with Beacon®, users have the option to sweep them to the side of the screen, or hover their mouse over the panel to access the controls.
Munoz also asked, “Why are images squared? Why are we stamp sized?”
“That is not natural to the eyes because we know by studying the way that we see that the eye has less peripheral vision up and down than it has sideways. We see better sideways,” he added.
With Beacon®, everything is widescreen.
The final question pertains to privacy and security.
To make it simple, Munoz said the overall goal of Beacon® is to make communication more human.
Just five months since its launch, Beacon® has reached over 500,000 users worldwide, and continues to grow.
When asked about its popularity, Munoz highlighted the platform’s simplicity.
“It’s just easy to use,” he said of Beacon®. “Because not everyone is tech savvy, and it can be difficult learning how to navigate these types of systems.”
In early 2022, a newer version, Beacon PLUS will be set to launch, with several more features, including an AI assistant.
“It will definitely be the largest leap forward ever that we’ve done with Beacon®,” he said. “We’ve been in development for six years, that’s why it’s so well integrated across the board, but this next one will blow people’s minds.”
Beacon PLUS will be priced at $4.95 a month, and will include unlimited, UHD 4K calls with up to 30 participants. Alongside it will be Beacon MAX, priced at $14.95 a month, where you will be able to host crystal-clear calls with up to 100 participants.
To use the platform or learn more about it, visit beaconX.com.