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We’ve been tracking some key hires and people on the move in the Seattle tech industry in recent days. Here are a few…

Conrad Saam has left Avvo to take on the role of vice president of marketing at Urbanspoon, the Seattle online restaurant directory that was acquired by IAC in April 2009. Saam said that Urbanspoon sits right in the middle of three of the hottest trends in technology: social, mobile and local. “From a market perspective, the opportunity is disruptive — very much like what we did at Avvo — a low-cost, user-friendly product taking marketshare from a fat and happy monopoly that is openly disliked by its own customers,” Saam said. In the case of Urbanspoon, that monopoly happens to be OpenTable.

Lee Corkran has connected with Mercent as vice president of products and market strategy.  A graduate of Syracuse University and the Rochester Institute of Technology, Corkran will oversee Mercent’s retail performance marketing products. He most recently worked at, and before that held positions at Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, Digital Railroad, Pixology and PictureIQ. Mercent employs 90 people, and just signed a lease for 25,000 square feet in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. The company, backed by Madrona and others, helps online retailers boost traffic and sales through, eBay and other shopping channels.


Dr. Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada has joined Seattle venture capital firm Frazier Healthcare Ventures as Senior Executive in Residence. In the new role, Yamada will help the firm identify new healthcare opportunities in the U.S. and abroad. He most recently served as the President of the Global Health Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before that, he served as chairman of R&D at GlaxoSmithKline. “With its focus on healthcare and unique combination growth equity and venture capital strategies, I feel that Frazier Healthcare is an outstanding platform for me to build entrepreneurial healthcare organizations,” Yamada said.

Jacob Mullins is leaving Microsoft’s BizSpark unit to join Shasta Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm whose portfolio includes Adometry, Apptio, Finsphere and Gowalla. Mullins spent three years at Microsoft in San Francisco. In a blog post, Mullins wrote: “Having evangelized and marketed Microsoft products in Silicon Valley, and other startup hotbeds, I’ve received more than my fair share of snide remarks, insolent quips, and laughing fits in my face. However, over the past three years we’ve seen some incredible traction and positive change in how startups perceive Microsoft in general.”Mullins previously served as director of sales and business development at technology news site VentureBeat.


Maria Stripp has joined Coinstar as chief customer officer, arriving at the Bellevue maker of coin counting machines and move rental kiosks from Activision. “Maria’s knowledge of our retail channels, combined with her financial acumen, proven track record and ability to develop teams, makes her an ideal choice for this position,” said Coinstar CEO Paul Davis in a statement. Stripp, who prior to Activision worked at Vivendi Games and Miller Brewing, will report to Davis and work out of the company’s Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois offices.

Clark Kokich, chairman of digital ad agency Razorfish, has been appointed to the board of Redwood Shores, California-based Rocket Fuel.


Monica Guzman, the social media whiz who previously edited The Big Blog at The Seattle P-I, has left her gig at social networking upstart Intersect in order to “explore some new opportunities.” Guzman, a recent guest on the GeekWire podcast, declined to comment on what her next move might be. “Working with the team at Intersect has been such a blast. There’s a lot of talent there, and I was lucky to be around it,” she writes in a blog post. “As for the site’s community of users, I loved trading tips, tweets and feedback and following the journeys they charted on the site. It just made work that much more fun.” Intersect is led by journalist Peter Rinearson.

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