Tech Moves

Tech Strikes: Certainly hires Zillow economist; Impinj names COO; Amazon vet joins Material; extra

Clockwise from top left: Svenja Gudell, Ran Mokady, Jennifer Agustin, Jake Randall and Stacy Saal.
Svenja Gudell. (Indeed Photo)

— Former Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell is now chief economist at Indeed, leading the job search engine’s research team.

“The labor market is a fundamental building block to the larger economy, and the last two years have shown the importance of carefully analyzing and understanding it,” Gudell said in a press release.

Gudell spent more than a decade at Zillow Group. She received her doctorate in finance from the University of Rochester.

Another long-time Zillow economist, Sklyar Olsen, departed the real estate giant for real estate fintech startup Tomo last year.

— RFID maker Impinj promoted Hussein Mecklai to COO. A former VP at Intel, Mecklai joined Impinj as EVP of engineering in 2019.

The publicly traded Seattle company also announced changes to its board:

  • Former Monolithic Power Systems CFO Meera Rao joined the board this month.
  • Former Delta Airlines CIO Theresa Wise and venture capitalist Peter van Oppen will not stand for re-election at the company’s annual stockholders meeting. Following their departures, the board will be reduced to seven members.
  • Microchip Technology Executive Chairman Steve Sanghi, who joined Impinj’s board in 2021, will succeed van Oppen as board chair.
Ran Mokady. (Axon Photo)

— Law enforcement technology company Axon announced Ran Mokady as SVP of real-time operations and general manager of its new European research and development office, based in London.

Axon’s real-time operations include communication and situational awareness tools that integrate with its hardware. Mokady is a Microsoft and Amazon alum. He was previously chief product officer at Intuition Robotics and Tango Me.

— Former aQuantive and Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews joined the board of accounting software company Xero. The New Zealand-based platform is publicly traded on the Australian Securities Exchange.

McAndrews, a Seattle tech vet, serves on the boat of The New York Times and Frontdoor, and is a senior advisor at Spectrum Equity.

Stacy Saal. (Fabric Photo)

— Amazon vet Stacy Saal was appointed the first COO of headless e-commerce startup Fabric.

Saal was most recently COO of digital healthcare company Babylon Health. During her 12-year stint with Amazon, she worked on its kitchen business, Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and most recently was general manager and COO of its Prime Air division.

Fabric raised $100 million in July. The 5-year-old company help retailers sell their products online.

— Redmond, Wash.-based Pushpay hired Jason Rupert as chief growth officer. He was most recently CRO at Symplr, a Houston, Texas-based healthcare operations software company.

Pushpay provides digital tools for faith-based and non-profit organizations. The company has offices in New Zealand and is publicly traded on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges.

Jake Randall. (Common Room)

— Seattle startup Common Room appointed Jake Randall as its first COO.

Randall spent almost a decade at Okta, which last year acquired Seattle-area startup Auth0. He was most recently VP of its customer identity and access management solution which incorporated Auth0’s product line.

Common Room came out of stealth mode with $52 million in funding last year and is developing software to help companies better connect and understand their communities. The company has 46 employees.

— As part of a restructuring, Portland, Ore.-based Phylos appointed a new executive team:

  • Ralph Risch as CEO. He joined the company in 2016 and previously served as COO.
  • Alisha Holloway as chief scientific officer. She has been an Phylos executive since 2015 and was most recently VP of research and development.
  • Dylan Anderson as chief financial officer. He previously led finance at startups Urban Airship and Radar.

The company, which is using molecular genetic science to develop cannabis and hemp seeds, recently announced a $7.6 million funding round led by Merida Capital Holdings. As part of the investment, Merida Senior Partner Mina Mishrikey is joining the Phylos board of directors.

Phylos co-founder Mowgli Holmes and Nishan Karassik are no longer at the company.

Tacita Morway (left) and Claire Anderson. (Textio Photos)

— Augmented writing startup Textio hired Tacita Morway as SVP of engineering and promoted Claire Anderson to VP of finance.

Morway, based outside of Boston, was most recently EVP of engineering and product at ActBlue, which develops technology and infrastructure for Democratic campaigns and progressive causes.

Anderson joined Textio in 2019 and most recently was the Seattle startup’s controller.

Chris Andrews. ( Photo)

— Led by former Kymeta CEO Nathan Kundtz, announced Chris Andrews as COO and head of product. He was most recently a group product manager at GIS software company Esri and prviously led product management teams at IBM and Autodesk.

— Seattle firm Madrona Venture Group hired Joanna Black as general counsel and Coral Garnick Ducken as digital editor. Black was a longtime partner at Adkins Black, while Ducken previously reported on technology for the Puget Sound Business Journal and the Seattle Times.

Jennifer Agustin. (GiveCampus Photo)

— Seattle startup marketing vet Jennifer Agustin joined Washington, D.C.-based startup GiveCampus as VP of marketing. GiveCampus provides a fundraising platform for schools.

Agustin will continue to be based in the Seattle area. She previously worked at LinkedIn and served as VP of marketing at DreamBox Learning and BrandVerity.

— Redmond, Wash.-base SystImmune, which is developing cancer therapies, appointed Martín Sebastian Olivo as chief medical officer. He was most recently in the same role at New York-based Protara Therapeutics.

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