Tech Moves

Tech Strikes: Payscale CEO steps down; a16z provides Seattle-based associate; Madrona hires investor

Scott Torrey (left) and Alex Hart. (Payscale Photos)

— Scott Torrey stepped down as CEO of compensation data company Payscale. A SAP Concur veteran, Torrey took over as CEO from longtime leader Mike Metzger in 2019.

The company’s new CEO is Alex Hart. He was most recently CEO of digital payments provider 2Checkout, which was acquired by Verifone. He is based in Atlanta.

In a post on LinkedIn, Torrey said to “stay tuned” about his next role.

Founded in 2002, Payscale is majority-owned by private equity firm Francisco Partners. The company recently acquired CURO Compensation Ltd. and merged with Payfactors earlier this year. Payscale is headquartered in Seattle.

— Microsoft gaming exec James Gwertzman has joined Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz as a general partner on the consumer investing team. Gwertzman founded gaming infrastructure startup PlayFab, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2018, and sold Sprout Games to PopCap Games in 2005.

“I’ve spent my career supporting game developers, first on the creative side, then with backend services at PlayFab, and most recently at Microsoft,” Gwertzman wrote on LinkedIn. “Super excited for this new chapter, to serve creators even more directly, on the investment side!

Andreessen Horowitz also added Riot Games’ Jon Lai as a general partner. The additions are part of the firm’s big bet on the next generation of gaming startups, as noted in a blog post.

Sabrina Wu. (Madrona Photo)

— Madrona Venture Group hired Sabrina Wu as an investor. Wu was previously an associate at San Francisco-based tech-focused private equity firm Vector Capital. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018 with a degree in Political Economics.

Wu will work on both early and late-stage investing opportunities at Madrona. The Seattle firm recently added Aseem Datar as partner; promoted Chris Picardo to partner; added Maria Gilfoyle and Birkan Uzun as an investor.

— Vancouver, B.C.-based legal tech startup Clio doubled its executive team following a $110 million Series E round and more than $1 billion valuation earlier this year. The leadership team now includes:

  • Former HomeAway and Uber exec Ronnie Gurion as COO.
  • Sarah Bettencourt as chief people officer. She was most recently CPO at Lightspeed.
  • Jonathan Watson, previously VP of engineering at Clio, as CTO.
  • Reagan Attle, previously VP of marketing at Clio, as chief marketing officer.
Sean B House (left) and Krista Place. (Candidate Photos)

— Seattle recruiting startup Candidate hired Sean B House as VP of engineering and Krista Place as head of marketing.

House was most recently an engineering manager at Axon and previously co-founded AR/VR startup Visual Vocal.

Place joins Candidate from Zillow Group where she spent more than six years and was most recently director of marketing operations.

Founded in 2020 by Convoy vet Ryan Agresta, Candidate is building a referral-based recruiting platform.

— Seattle startup vet Kyle Kesterson is now working as chief creative officer for Neo Holdings, a year-old Seattle-based blockchain company behind the Watr Foundation, a Web3 protocol system designed for the buying, selling, and trading of commodities.

Kyle Kesterson.

“The endgame is a transparent marketplace using new technologies applied within the existing regulatory frameworks, where every ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) attribute itself is turned into a commodity with a market-based price,” Kesterson said.

Neo is led by Maryam Ayati, a former longtime executive at Shell, and Clint Nelsen, co-founder of Startup Weekend.

Kesterson joined Neo in August 2020 and has quietly been working for the company since then. He helps lead direction on brand, content, product user experience, and community.

Kesterson’s previously co-founded Giant Thinkwell (which became Haiku Deck), and Freak’n Genius (later Campfire). More recently he traveled the world as part of a stunt that asked people where he should go, what he should do and why he should do it. He ended a 7-year “nomadic run” to focus on Neo, and now splits his time between Boulder, Colo., and the Seattle area, working remotely.

Rakhi Voria. (Procore Technologies Photo)

— Microsoft alum Rakhi Voria is now VP of sales development at Procore Technologies, a construction software platform. The California company is expanding its presence in the Pacific Northwest.

Voria was most recently VP of global digital sales at IBM. She is based in New York.

At Microsoft, Voria was chief of staff for the CVP of inside sales and served as co-chair on the board of [email protected] She is also a former Geek of the Week.

— The Washington Research Foundation announced its 2022 cohort of postdoctoral fellows. The 10 researchers receive funding and participate in three-year fellowships at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Pacific Northwest National Lab and University of Washington.

— Anthony Rotoli is now VP of people operations and talent acquisition for question-and-answer website Quora. The company is now remote-first and hiring in the Seattle region.

Based in Seattle, Rotoli was most recently head of talent and culture at insurance tech startup Assurance IQ. He was previously director of people and talent at technical interviewing startup Karat and a senior technical recruiter at Microsoft.

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