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Madrona Venture Group has long mined for talent, not only backing entrepreneurs with ties to the online retailer but also choosing investment professionals with the Amazon pedigree. And now the Seattle venture capital firm — an early backer of Amazon — has hired another staffer with Amazon roots. Julie Sandler, a former senior product manager on the Kindle team, has joined Madrona as an associate.

Sandler received a MBA with honors from Harvard Business School, and previously worked as a MBA intern at TeachStreet (backed by Madrona and led by former Amazon employee Dave Schappell). She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a degree in psychology, which should serve her well as she tries to navigate the well known idiosyncrasies of entrepreneurs.

At Amazon, Sandler managed online marketing for Kindle books and launched new Kindle Content projects. Her first day at Madrona is Monday.


Natala Menezes — who previously held product management roles at Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Google and TeachStreet — is the new director of product marketing at mobile startup Gigwalk. Menezes will relocate to San Francisco where Gigwalk is based, but the Silicon Valley native tells GeekWire that she’s fallen in love with the Northwest and plans to stay active in the Seattle startup and tech scene.

Ali Alami, a former product manager at Expedia and founder of Fitclimb, has been named the general manager of Judy’s Book. Alami — who attended Park University and the University of Washington — will lead efforts for the Seattle online business directory. Meanwhile, John Nelson — who oversaw business developments efforts for Judy’s Book — left the company last month. Alami tells GeekWire that the company is shifting from a focus on review syndication deals to more of a “mom-oriented consumer focus.”


Jordan Isip, one of the original developers at Tippr, has taken on a new role leading UX design at Isip tells GeekWire that he left the Seattle daily deal site in order to work for a smaller company with fewer than 10 employees. In the new role, Isip is working with Joe Van Dyk. The two previously founded GroupieGuide together. Tanga has its engineering operations in Seattle — where Isip and Van Dyk are based — and headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona.

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