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Aley R77
Doug Aley

Doug Aley is jumping back into the online travel business, taking a new job as vice president of product development at hotel search engine Room 77. “Room 77 has established itself as an innovator that’s pushing the limits of hotel search, and I’m really excited to join the team and disrupt this category for the better,” said Aley.

Aley most recently worked at Seattle flash sale site Zulily, and before that he co-founded the auction-based travel startup Off & Away. That company, backed by Madrona, was purchased by Lockerz and promptly shut down. Aley also previously worked at Jott Networks and The 34-year-old will relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area where Room 77 is based. The company also announced that it has hired former Netflix marketing executive Jessie Becker as chief marketing officer.

Room 77, which helps travelers find quality hotel rooms at low prices, is growing fast after raising a $30.3 million funding round earlier this year (bringing total funding to $43.8 million). Backers of the 40-person startup include Expedia; Concur Technologies; General Catalyst Partners; Zillow and Expedia co-founder Rich Barton, former Farecast CEO Hugh Crean; Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff; MTV founder Bob Pittman and others.


—Speaking of online travel, Egencia, the corporate travel division of Expedia, today promoted Sravana Kumar Karnati from vice president of worldwide technology and development to Chief Technology Officer. Karnati has worked at Egencia since 2011, with Egencia president Rob Greyber calling his technology vision “awe-inspiring.” Prior to Egencia, Karnati worked at Oracle, Amazon and Disney Interactive Media.

Karnati earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Ohio State University, specializing in Artificial Intelligence applications. He holds a Master in Chemical Engineering, with specialization in Computer Aided Design, from Indian Institute of Technology-Chennai and a bachelor degree from Anna University in India

Robin Wolaner
Robin Wolaner

—Vittana, the Seattle student microloan non-profit founded by Kushal Chakrabarti, has named Robin Wolaner as CEO. Wolaner is the founder of Parenting Magazine, and the former CEO of Sunset Publishing. She also previously worked as a vice president at CNET. Based in San Francisco, Wolaner will spend a couple days a week at Vittana’s new offices in Pioneer Square.

“Vittana has continued its incredible trajectory of growth and we’re preparing for significant scale this year,” Wolaner said in a statement. “We’ve reached a key milestone of helping 10,000 students escape poverty this year. I’m looking forward to working with Kushal and the team to build upon Vittana’s inspiring achievements and help reach 100,000 youth in the next few years.”

Rebecca Lovell, who had served as interim CEO and previously worked at GeekWire, will continue to work at the non-profit through September as chief people officer.

Thomas Nielsen
Thomas Nielsen

—Thomas Nielsen, who resigned last year as CEO of RealNetworks after just seven months on the job, has joined cloud content company Brightcove as senior vice president of products. He will report to CEO David Mendels, and lead the company’s product development and engineering teams.

“I am confident that Thomas is the right person to drive our product execution and roadmap both now and in the future as we continue to scale our organization and enable our customers to reach their audiences on every screen through online video solutions,” said Mendels in a statement.

Prior to Real, Nielsen served as vice president of digital imaging at Adobe Systems.

Sean Gorman

—Panopto, a Seattle online video startup founded in 2007 by software design veterans from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, has named Sean Gorman as chief operating officer. Gorman, who will oversee sales, business development and operations, is a former and Microsoft manager who worked on products like Kindle and Xbox. He was most recently the director of Amazon’s Newsstand business. Panopto is developing a platform by which academic institutions can record, broadcast and search online video assets.

“Panopto continues to expand rapidly in the enterprise and education markets,” said Eric Burns, co-founder and chief product officer of Panopto. “As global demand for online video platforms increases in the years ahead, Sean’s track record of developing sustainable technology businesses will help us accelerate growth while meeting our customers’ needs.”

Colin Henry

—Colin Henry has left his director of engineering role at venture-backed Simply Measured to join stealthy Seattle startup UserMind. Henry, who previously worked at Apptio, writes in a blog post: “I am pleased and incredibly proud to be working with Michel Feaster again, whom I’ve known from the inception of what the press has liked to call ”The Opsware Mafia” and had the pleasure to collaborate with in our tenure at Apptio, and Przemek Pardyak, a seasoned and successful CTO who will be leading UserMind’s engineering efforts, in creating a new breed of enterprise software. I’ve gotten the privilege over the past several weeks to watch the two of them begin to mold something out of nothing, and I feel honored to lend my hands to mold UserMind with them.”

Ryan Sousa

—Medio, a maker of app analytics software, has named technology veteran Ryan Sousa as senior vice president of engineering. Sousa previously served as vice president of global business intelligence and data warehousing technology at Expedia, and before that worked at Amazon, Starbucks and MCI Communications.

“Ryan is one of the early Big Data pioneers, having built and grown core systems for some of the world’s most trusted brands,” said Rob Lilleness, president and chief executive officer of Medio. “He is a seasoned, innovative and trusted technology leader who embodies our core disciplines, and we are thrilled to have him on board.”

—Elan Lee has been named chief design officer at Xbox Entertainment Studios, reporting to  Microsoft entertainment exec Nancy Tellem, reports Deadline Hollywood.

—The National Venture Capital Association has named Bobby Franklin as president and CEO, replacing longtime exec Mark Heesen who is retiring. Franklin previously served as executive vice president of the wireless industry association CTIA where he worked since 2006.

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