Tech Moves: Expedia board director Skip Battle resigns; Madrona promotions; Vacasa’s new CFO

Skip Battle. (Global Ventures Photo)

George “Skip” Battle, the former CEO of AskJeeves, has resigned from Expedia Group’s board of directors. He originally joined the travel company’s board in 2005.

Battle is a longtime board member at Netflix, LinkedIn and OpenTable. He is a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute and an advisor at international venture capital firm Global Ventures.

AskJeeves was acquired in 2005 by IAC, the internet media company run by Barry Diller, who is also chairman of Seattle-based Expedia Group.

Battle’s departure was not due to any disagreement with the company or on any matter related to its operations, policies, or practices, Expedia said in a SEC filing.

Expedia has been crushed by the pandemic as travel restrictions slow its business. The company posted revenue of $4.2 billion for first nine months of 2020, down from $9.3 billion in 2019. Its net loss for the first nine months of this year was $2.2 billion.

Jamie Cohen. (Vacasa Photo)

— Vacation rental platform Vacasa appointed Jamie Cohen as its new CFO.

Based in Denver, Colo., Cohen was most recently CFO for ANGI Homeservices, a digital marketplace created when home improvement directories Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor merged in 2017. ANGI Homeservices now operates 12 brands.

Vacasa, headquartered in Portland, Ore., manages more than 26,000 vacation homes in 31 U.S. states and 18 countries. Vacasa raised a $108 million Series D round in June. The company is ranked No. 2 on the GeekWire 200, an index of Pacific Northwest startups

“The vacation rental industry is operationally heavy at its core, and technology can play a huge role in unlocking a better consumer experience—something Vacasa has excelled at over the years and will continue to invest in,” said Cohen.

Jennifer Ceran. (Wyze Photo)

Jennifer Ceran, former CFO at Smartsheet who retired last year, has joined the board of Kirkland, Wash. startup Wyze Labs.

Since retiring, Ceran also joined the board of San Francisco’s NerdWallet and Bellevue, Wash.-based Auth0. Prior to joining collaboration work management Smartsheet in 2016, Ceran held executive roles at Box and eBay.

Last year was a busy year for smart home technology maker Wyze Labs. The 3-year old startup launched a flood of new products and raised a $10 million Series A round in July.

— Identity authentication startup Auth0, which raised a $120 million Series F round in July, added three new board members:

• Former Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sue Barsamian

• Former SendGrid CEO Sameer Dholakia

• Former MuleSoft CEO Simon Parmett

Barsamian, Dholakia and Parmett are all based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ceran, the former Smartsheet CFO, also joined the board last year.

— Techstars announced Maëlle Gavet as its new CEO. She succeeds co-founder David Brown, who will remain on the board of the global network for entrepreneurs. Techstars also features a venture capital fund and startup studio model. Based in New York City, Gavet was most recently COO at real estate startup Compass.

Techstars Seattle, which hosts a three month accelerator program, graduated its 11th cohort this year and is led by Managing Director Isaac Kato.

Anu Sharma (left) and Daniel Li. (Madrona Venture Group Photo)

— Madrona Venture Group named principals Anu Sharma and Daniel Li as partners. They will now source and lead deals independently for the Seattle venture firm.

“As a longstanding team member, Dan’s energy for working with entrepreneurs and supporting the Seattle ecosystem has expanded Madrona’s role in the broader community, while adding to our growing portfolio of companies,” said Tim Porter, Madrona Venture Group Managing Director. “Anu’s deep technical expertise in cloud and infrastructure combined with her passion for sharing it has already contributed greatly to Madrona’s investment thesis and our work with new and existing companies.”

Sharma joined Madrona last year from Amazon Web Services. Li originally joined the firm in 2015 as an associate and was previously a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.

— Redmond, Wash.-based Pushpay named Molly Matthews as its new CEO. The company offers mobile platforms for religious, education and nonprofit organizations.

Matthews has been with the company since 2016 and was most recently its chief customer officer. She replaces interim CEO Bruce Gordon, who will remain on Pushpay’s board of directors.

— Cybersecurity startup CI Security hired Steve Sedlock as chief revenue officer and promoted Kristoffer Turner to VP of security operations for its Critical Insight Security Program. The 9-year old company provides security technology and analysts, with a focus on healthcare, financial and government organizations.

Sedlock was most recently chief growth officer at EPSi and spent more than a decade at Mediware Information Systems. Both provide software for the healthcare industry. Turner joined CI Security in 2017, originally as an information security analyst.

Other recent Tech Moves from across the Pacific Northwest:

  • Whitepages spinout Ekata, which sells enterprise identity verification products, hired Samantha Rist as VP of people.
  • Seattle startup Joe Coffee, a mobile order and rewards app for independent coffee retailers, appointed former Lyft Regional Director for the Southeast Sam Bond as its COO.
  • San Francisco biotech startup Earli added Juno Therapeutics founding scientist Phil Greenberg and former Fred Hutch President Lee Hartwell, who received a Nobel Prize in 2001, to its scientific advisory board.
  • Joan Palmiter Bajorek joined New York-based conversational AI startup NLX as head of user research.
  • Pitchbook’s former Director of Business Development Cindy Zu is now the director of partner and ecosystem and sales enablement startup Highspot.
  • Wes Pringle will be resigning from Everett, Wash.-based industrial giant Fortive, where he is SVP of the company’s Intelligent Operating Solutions platform.
  • Brian Buckley rejoins law firm Fenwick & West’s Seattle office after four years at Amazon, most recently as general counsel for litigation and regulatory affairs.

Team MYWF

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