Tech Moves: Startup Haven grows team to lead new fund; PSL promotions; F5 Networks adds execs


The Startup Haven team (clockwise, from top left): Bob Crimmins, Claudius Mbemba, Jay Westerdal, David Malcolm and Arry Yu. (Startup Haven Photo)

Startup Haven, a community for entrepreneurs founded by Seattle startup vet Bob Crimmins, launched an investment fund called Startup Haven Ventures. With the new fund, Startup Haven has also expanded its team:

  • 800.com CEO Jay Westerdal is a senior venture partner.
  • WTIA Blockchain Council Chair Arry Yu is a venture partner.
  • NEU co-founder and CTO Claudius Mbemba is an investment director.

Crimmins, a Seattle tech veteran, founded Startup Haven in 2005. It began as a poker game but now has chapters in seven cities and 2,300 members.

He began running Startup Haven full-time in 2019 and recently launched a Startup Haven accelerator. Techstars and Microsoft vet Dave Malcolm is executive director of the accelerator.

The new fund provides investments to companies participating in the accelerator and also makes direct investments. It focuses on pre-seed companies with capital-efficient business models and early signs of commercialization. The fund is focused on the Pacific Northwest but is also open to backing companies beyond the region. Its first investment is in Vancouver, B.C. agtech startup Verdi.

— Seattle-based Pioneer Square Labs (PSL) announced three promotions on its leadership team:

  • Palvi Mehta is now operating partner and CFO, leading finance and operations for both PSL’s startup studio and venture capital fund. Mehta joined PSL in 2018 from ExtraHop Networks, where she was CFO.
  • David Zager is now a partner and chief design officer for PSL Studio. He joined PSL in 2015 as chief design officer.
  • Ben Gilbert is now a managing director for PSL Ventures. Gilbert is a co-founder of PSL Studio.

— Tableau Software CEO Adam Selipsky will be the new CEO of Amazon Web Services, replacing Andy Jassy, who will take over as Amazon’s CEO later this year. Selipsky is a familiar face at Amazon as a former AWS executive who spent 11 years at the Seattle-based tech giant. He left to join Tableau as CEO in 2016, Read the full story

Yvette Smith (left) and Gail Coury. (F5 Networks Photos)

— F5 Networks hired Microsoft CVP Yvette Smith as SVP of customer success and business transformation and promoted Gail Coury to SVP and chief information security officer. They will both report to Chief Strategy Officer Tom Fountain.

At Microsoft, Smith led support and customer success programs for its commercial cloud business. Prior to joining the Redmond, Wash. tech giant in 2016, she was a senior vice president at Xerox and spent 18 years at IBM.

Coury is based in Denver, Colo. and joined F5 Networks in 2018 as the VP and general manager of Silverline, F5’s managed security services. Prior to that, she served as CISO at Oracle Cloud and PeopleSoft.

The Seattle-based application security and delivery company’s revenue was up 10% for the December quarter and recently completed its acquisition of cloud computing startup Volterra.

Scott Nagel. (Redfin Photo)

— Redfin’s President of Real Estate Operations Scott Nagel will retire in April 2022. Nagel has been with the Seattle-based publicly-traded real estate company since 2007.

“Scott and I have been partners and friends for 14 years, from a few hundred thousand dollars in sales to nearly a billion,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman.

He will be succeeded by the company’s current Chief Growth Officer Adam Wiener, a longtime Redfin executive. Starting next month, the transition will begin with Nagel becoming president of strategic initiatives.

Wiener will lead all of Redfin’s home sale services including mortgage, brokerage, Title Forward and RedfinNow. Also part of the transition, Christian Taubman will become the new chief growth officer. He was previously the chief product officer.

Redfin beat analysts expectations for its most recent quarterly earnings estimates, buoyed by a hot real estate market. The company also announced its planned acquisition of RentPath for $608 million earlier this year.

— Seattle e-commerce startup Fabric added Umer Sadiq as CTO and Nevin Shetty as CFO. Sadiq is a former Amazon employee who previously co-founded smart shopping cart startup Veeve and was its CTO. Shetty comes from SierraConstellation Partners, where he was managing director. Fabric raised $43 million in February to fuel growth of its software that helps retailers sell their products online.

Seattle-based RFID technology provider Impinj announced Microchip Technology Executive Chairman Steve Sanghi has its newest board director. Sanghi served as CEO of Microchip Technology for more than 30 years. Impinj beat Wall Street expectations for revenue in Q4, up 30% from the third quarter.

— Purdue University Professor Jennifer Neville will be joining Microsoft Research in June. Neville, a professor of computer science and statistics, announced the news in a post on Twitter. Her research covers machine learning, data mining and neural networks.

— Security compliance startup Strike Graph named Dan Adams as its new VP of sales. Adams, based in Chicago, was most recently the general manager of the North America enterprise growth for fellow Seattle-area startup Icertis.

Strike Graph spun out of Madrona Venture Labs last year and raised a $3.9 million seed round led by Madrona Venture Group in October. The company helps customers prepare for the cybersecurity certification process.

— Reverb, a Seattle HR consultancy firm, expanded its team with three new coaches:

  • Colleen Yamaguchi, a former lawyer turned executive coach and leadership development consultant.
  • Nadja Escolar, a former Proctor & Gamble and Amazon director who left the e-commerce giant last year.
  • Marriot Winquist, a former Bluetooth SIG and T-Mobile executive who has been an executive coach and business strategy consultant since 2019.

Reverb recently created a virtual program to meet to meet surge in demand for diversity training.

— Seattle stem cell startup Curi Bio added Dynamk Capital Managing Partner Gustavo Mahler to its board. Dynamk Capital led the 6-year old startup’s $6 million Series A round which was announced last week.





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