Technology moves: Top Blue Origin engineer joins SpaceX; Axon hires HTC Vive executive; The porch is added to the board

Chris Chin. (Photo Axon)

– Police technology company Axon added Chris Chin, a former HTC Vive executive, as vice president of immersive technology. In his new role, Chin will be responsible for Axon’s virtual reality and augmented reality training platforms.

At HTC Vive, Chin was vice president and CEO of Vive Studios, which released VR content. It is headquartered in San Francisco Bay.

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Axon maintains a significant technical presence in Seattle. The company says its mission is to help reduce the use of police force by providing transparency, technologies and tools that can replace deadly weapons.

– NASA’s former systems engineer, Nitin Arora, leaves Blue Origin to join SpaceX, according to a post on LinkedIn.

Arora spent more than two years at Jeff Bezos ’Blue Origin, most recently as part of the space company’s human landing system construction team.

The move comes after Blue Origin’s failed appeal and pending lawsuit over NASA’s decision to award Elon Musk’s SpaceX a $ 2.9 billion contract to return the astronauts to the moon.

– Seattle-based home services technology company Porch Group adds two new board members: Rachel Lam, co-founder and managing partner of Imagination Capital, and former CEO of the Aviva plc group, Maurice Tulloch. Read the story.

Lisa Nelson. (Photo by Microsoft)

– Former M12 director Lisa Nelson was named a member of Astra Space’s board. Based in California, Astra Space is a five-year-old space company that went public last month through a merger with a SPAC led by telecommunications pioneer Craig McCaw.

“Spacetech will enable the next trillion-dollar savings,” Nelson said in a statement. “I am delighted to partner with Astra’s world-class board and management team to be pioneers at the next frontier of innovation and economic growth.”

Nelson also currently serves on the board of Kuelap and DNA Seattle. She is an advisor to Brooks, Movac, Flying Fish Partners and early stage technology startups.

– Former convoy CFO Brian Kreiner recently joined the university recruitment platform Handshake as CFO.

Mark Okerstrom, president and commissioner of the convoy, is now acting CFO. The former Expedia CEO, who joined the truck company convoy a year ago, previously served as CFO for the Seattle travel giant.

Prior to joining Convoy in 2018, Kreiner was CEO of Cal Net Technology Group and managing partner at Olympic Valley Capital.

Athira’s new executives, Mark Worthington, general counsel, and Rachel Lenington, head of technology and head of product development strategy. (Photos of Athira)

– Athira Pharma has recently appointed Rachel Lenington as CTO and Head of Product Development Strategy and Mark Worthington as General Advisor. Bothell, Washington-based biotech company also reported that it is making progress in clinical trials following allegations of image manipulation in papers written by its CEO. Read the story.

Chris Bee. (Reduce photo)

– Scottsdale, Arizona-based startup Lessen has named Chris Bee, Zillow’s former senior product development director, as its CTO. Bee was previously an engineer and product manager at Uber, Amazon and Microsoft.

Founded in 2020, Lessen currently has 20 employees in Seattle and plans to double the workforce in the region by the end of 2021. The company’s platform connects homeowners with renovation, maintenance and cleaning professionals.

– The longtime director of the Washington Research Foundation, Jeff Eby, has retired after 19 years at the private foundation. Former WRF CEO Ron Howell also retired in April after 29 years.

Eby has been succeeded by Morgan Hellar, who originally joined WRF in 2004 as a license administrator for the organization’s patent portfolio. Prior to her promotion, she was a WRF controller.

Saty Bahadur. (Photo by Upwork)

– Upwork, the standalone platform, hired Amazon’s former CEO Saty Bahadur as CTO. Bahadur spent a decade earlier at Microsoft, most recently as director of engineering.

At Amazon, Bahadur managed fraud and abuse around the world and previously led the artificial intelligence group Alexa.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Upwork, traded on the stock exchange, was formed from the merger of Elance and oDesk.

Shalabh Chaudhri. (Photo Panda)

– Shalabh Chaudhri joined the AI ​​Panda startup as head of client. He was recently the director of success, service and customer support for Algorithmia, which DataRobot acquired last month.

Panda, the Seattle startup, uses natural language processing for its account management software.

Leaving the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), Panda left stealth mode last year and was co-founded by Aaron Goldfeder and Yue Ning. Panda previously raised a $ 3.3 million round led by PSL Ventures.

– Ethos, the San Francisco life insurance startup, hired three Zillow group veterans, two of whom were in Seattle:

  • Nick Fitzer as vice president of sales. Fitzer spent more than a decade at Zillow, the most recent leader in mortgage strategies and sales.
  • Keri McGhee as head of collaborative marketing. McGhee was recently vice president of marketing for real estate coaching company Tom Ferry and previously senior director of marketing and events for Zillow vendors.
  • Rob Broesler Jr. as vice president and general manager of associations. Based in San Francisco, Broesler Jr. he spent eight years at Zillow, most recently as a senior director of mortgage analysis and business operations.

Last month, Ethos raised $ 100 million from SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2.

Puvin Pichai. (Photo of Rebel Foods)

– Seattle-based Rebellyous Foods has announced that Beyond Meat veteran Puvin Pichai will join the startup as director of research and team development.

Pichai is a doctor. in chemical engineering and previously led R&D teams at Beyond Meat and Novus International. Founded in 2017, Rebellyous Foods launched three new plant products earlier this year.

– Portland-based Sparrow Pharmaceuticals appointed Frank Czerwiec as chief physician and Jamie MacPherson as vice president of regulation and quality.

Czerwiec was recently medical director of Goldfinch Bio and spent two decades at Otsuka Pharmaceutical. MacPherson joins Akcea Therapeutics ’Sparrow and was previously director of global regulatory affairs at Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

– Seattle-based Marchex appointed Ryan Polley as COO. Polley was previously head of product and strategy for the publicly traded company that sells “conversational intelligence” software. He spent time at Kargo Global and Rubicon Project before joining Marchex in 2020.



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