Tech Moves

Tech Strikes: OfferUp provides range chief; Convoy engineering VP departs; ex-Twitter VP joins Kraken

From top left, clockwise: Melinda Starbird, Tim Prouty, Mike Davidson, Jim Castillo, Dana Storms and Jake Stone.

— Mobile marketplace OfferUp announced Melinda Starbird as the company’s first chief people and diversity officer.

Melinda Starbird. (OfferUp Photo)

Starbird previously was VP of people and employee experience at Auth0 and held senior recruiting and HR roles at Avanade, Whitepages and Hiya.

“I consider myself an irreverent, diverse, gaming geek with a penchant for helping people and organizations level up,” said Starbird.

Bellevue, Wash.-based OfferUp now employs more than 400 people. Co-founder Nick Huzar stepped down as CEO earlier this year, handing the reins to former Microsoft and executive Todd Dunlap.

— Washington Gov. Inslee appointed Washington State Senator Steve Hobbs as secretary of state effective Nov. 22.

Hobbs will be on the ballot in a special statewide election in November 2022 to serve in the role for the last two years of the current secretary of state term. He succeeds Kim Wyman who was tapped by the Biden Administration in October to join the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Tim Prouty speaking at the 2015 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire File Photo)

— Convoy’s vice president engineering Tim Prouty recently departed the freight marketplace to join Headway, an Andreessen Horowitz-backed mental health care platform, as VP of engineering. 

Prouty joined Convoy in 2017 and previously led Uber’s Seattle engineering center. He spent almost a decade at Isilon Systems as director of engineering.

Headquartered in New York City, Headway has employees across the U.S. and plans to add an office in Seattle. The four-year old company provides software to connect patients, therapists and insurance companies.

Prouty told GeekWire that his father-in-law is a sole-practitioner counselor and that he has personally benefited from seeing a counselor.

“So when I first heard about Headway’s mission to build a new mental health system, it immediately resonated with me,” he said. “When I started learning more I found an incredibly passionate team, fueled by a meaningful mission, that was building a technology platform to help both the therapists and patients in a transformative way.”

Headway employs more than 100 people. It plans to open an office in Seattle, and is hiring around the country.

— Bothell, Wash.-based BioLife Solutions promoted Troy Wichterman to chief financial officer and former CFO Roderick de Greef is now president and chief operating officer.

Wichterman joined the publicly traded biotech company in 2015 and was most recently VP of finance. De Greef previously planned to retire at the end of this year but is postponing until 2023. De Greef succeeds Dusty Tenney, who joined BioLife Solutions in May and recently resigned to join a private equity firm in 2022.

Mike Davidson.

— Former Twitter VP of Design Mike Davidson is joining digital asset exchange Kraken as VP of design and research.

San Francisco-based Kraken is an online exchange for digital currencies and employs more than 2,000 people globally.

While he has dabbled in cryptocurrency, Davidson does not identify himself as a crypto “maximalist.” In a post, he cites the sector’s growth and maturation for the move.

“[It is] becoming clear that with more smart people joining this industry, more regulation drafted which accommodates digital assets, and more creative use cases popping up every single day, there is a LOT of frontier to develop here,” he wrote.

Davidson was most recently an executive at digital product design platform InVision, which he joined in 2018. Prior to Twitter, he founded Newsvine, which was acquired by where he worked following the acquisition.

Dana Storms. (PNNL Photo)

— Dana Storms was promoted to executive director of performance management and chief risk officer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

She joined the government-supported facility in 2016 and previously was a manager at the Idaho National Laboratory.

Richland, Wash.-based PNNL supports scientific research, commercialization and is developing clean energy solutions.

— Former SoundCommerce Chief Commercial Officer Laurent Burman is now at Amazon working on global corporate partnerships.

Burman was previously an executive at digital agency Possible and Wunderman Thompson. He joined SoundCommerce, an e-commerce startup founded by former Amazon executives, in 2019.

From left: Jake Stone and Jim Castillo. (Cheq Photos)

— Bellevue, Wash.-based Cheq, a mobile payment platform for restaurants and concessionaires, appointed Jake Stone as chief revenue officer and Jim Castillo as chief technology officer.

Stone is an angel investor and most recently CRO at Independent Sports and Entertainment. Castillo is a veteran of reservation platform OpenTable and was most recently VP of engineering at RepairPail, an online marketplace for car repairs.

Cheq describes itself as a “social payments” app combining mobile payments with social features such as sending gift certificates, checking in at restaurants and split tabs. The platform does not charge users and charges restaurants a payment processing fee on credit cards but no additional service fees.

Founded by CEO Thomas Lapham, the startup hopes to ride tailwinds from the pandemic driven shift to mobile ordering and labor shortages. Cheq has raised $6 million to date and is currently used by restaurants in Washington, Florida and Hawaii.

Janelle Simpliciano. (Denali Photo)

— Seattle-based Denali Financial Consulting rebranded at Denali Founder Consulting and hired Janelle Simpliciano as chief people officer and head of its new HR practice.

An HR consultant, Simpliciano was most recently director of HR for the Bellevue Convention Center Authority.

Denali was acquired earlier this year and appointed former Create33 Executive Director Rebecca Lovell as CEO.

[Editor’s Note: GeekWire is a Denali client.]

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