Tech Moves

Tech Strikes: Siblings at Seattle startup swap roles; Microsoft CVP departs to give attention to DEI; and extra

Jim Xiao (left) and Nancy Xiao. (Mason Photos)

— IoT startup Mason announced that founder and current CEO Jim Xiao will be swapping roles with his sister and current Mason President Nancy Xiao.

“I’m confident that Nancy is the right person to build on Mason’s momentum,” said Jim.

Prior to joining Mason in 2019, Nancy was a product manager at Oculus VR and Facebook.

Siblings Nancy and Jim Xiao. (Mason Photo)

Jim founded Mason to address the challenges he observed with hardware development. Mason’s solution provides clients with custom-built hardware and software for single-purpose Android devices. Customers hail from sectors including healthcare, retail, hospitality and government.

The company originally launched in Detroit, participated in YCombinator in 2016 and relocated to Seattle. A graduate of the University of Washington, Jim previously worked for Microsoft in China, was an analyst for Detroit Venture Partners and was an executive at a wireless company.

“Jim is a visionary and plays a vital role in helping our customers innovate and find new solutions to some
old problems, solved via technology and innovation — he will continue this focus in his new role as
President,” Nancy said in a statement.

In 2019, the startup closed a $25 million Series A funding round led by Coatue Ventures. Following the investment, Coatue Ventures partner Arielle Zuckerburg, sister of Mark Zuckerberg, joined the board.

Since then, Mason’s headcount has doubled to more than 50 employees. Total funding to date is $25.1 million.

Gavriella Schuster. (Women in Cloud Photo)

— Longtime Microsoft executive Gavriella Schuster has departed the company to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, according to her website. She spent more than 25 years at Microsoft, most recently CVP of the One Commercial Partner team.

Schuster currently serves on the board of Women in Cloud, the Women in Technology Network, the SHE community and is a strategic advisor to Berkshire Partners.

In January, Schuster was a featured speaker at the Women in Cloud’s annual Summit and spoke about the four tenets of her BeCOME framework for addressing gender equity in the tech industry.

Jonathan Flesher. (Reddit Photo)

— Reddit hired Jonathan Flesher as vice president of business development. Flesher will be relocating to the Seattle area due to Reddit’s flexible work policy which allows employees to work remotely, in-person or a combination of the two.

Flesher joins Reddit from Discord where he was head of business development. He previously held executive roles at Zynga and Betable.

— SingleFile, a Seattle-based compliance filing startup, raised additional seed funding and added Aaron Finn as its new CEO. Finn was most recently SVP and chief marketing officer at PeopleConnect. Read the story.

— Seattle 3D laser printing startup Glowforge added ShotSpotter CEO Ralph Clark and S’well Founder Sarah Kauss to its board of directors.

The other current members of the Glowforge board are Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe, Revolution Ventures Managing Partner Steve Murray, Foundry Group co-founder Brad Feld and Glowforge founder and CEO Dan Shapiro.

Bobby Morrison. (Panopto Photo)

— Enterprise video platform Panopto appointed Intuit CRO Bobby Morrison to its board of directors. Morrison was previously an executive at Microsoft and Verizon. He also served on the board of advisors for DocuSign.

— AbSci COO Andreas Pihl will retire from the newly public Washington state biotech company by next year, according to a filing.

Vancouver, Wash.-based AbSci made its debut as a public company last month. The drug development platform is led by founder and CEO Sean McClain.

— Machine learning startup Kurvv added Microsoft vet Jeff Croft as a co-founder and chief revenue officer. Meanwhile, Kurvv’s founding CTO Vince Roche has departed.

The company’s platform offers a machine learning solution for companies that don’t employ data scientists. While originally targeting small to medium-sized businesses, the pandemic prompted Kurvv to pivot and focus on industrial enterprise companies.

Kevin Kuck. (Pushpay Photo)

— Redmond, Wash.-based Pushpay promoted Kevin Kuck to chief operations officer. Kuck joined Pushpay in 2014. The company also announced that longtime CFO Shane Sampson will be departing in October.

Earlier this week, Pushpay announced the acquisition of streaming video company Resi. Pushpay, which provides a tech platform for faith-based and non-profit organizations, named Molly Matthews its new CEO at the beginning of the year.

— Cannabis retail SaaS company KlickTrack named Bardia Dejban as its new CEO. Dejban, who is based in the Los Angeles area, was most recently CEO of e-commerce software company Volusion.

Co-founder and former CEO Steve Kessler will transition to an advisory role and remain on the board of the Bainbridge Island, Wash.-based company.

From left: Johner Riehl and Michele Spring Fajeau. (Zebra Partners Photos)

— Seattle-based PR firm Zebra Partners appointed Johner Riehl as VP of gaming and content and promoted Michele Spring Fajeau to VP of family and technology.

Riehl joins the firm from Wonacott PR where he was vice president and led the gaming practice. He is based in San Diego. Fajeau originally joined Zebra Partners in 2011 and most recently launched the games and toy business practice. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

— Seattle-based adoption matching platform PairTree added four new team members:

  • Senior Software Engineer Jack Michaud
  • Community Manager Jessica Nelson
  • Director of Marketing Jessie Irwin
  • Marketing Manager Sam Deffenbaugh

The new additions will double the team’s headcount and come on the heels of its $2.25 million seed round.

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