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Grant Ries
Grant Ries

Arivale, the “scientific wellness” startup co-founded by genomics pioneer Lee Hood, has hired Grant Ries, the co-founder of big-data company BlueKai, as its first chief revenue officer — gearing up to work with large companies to roll out the Arivale program to their employees.

The announcement comes as Arivale approaches 50 employees and prepares to move to a larger space in downtown Seattle, with plans to double its workforce in the next six months.

Arivale combines genetic analysis with personal coaching — giving participants in its program specific ways to take action to improve their overall health, meet their goals and minimize their long-term risk of disease. The program was piloted initially in Seattle, with plans to roll out to ultimately roll out to the rest of the country.

Ries himself was a participant in the Arivale program before joining the company — losing 17 pounds and learning a lot about his own health and well-being, the 43-year-old Seattle native said in an interview.

Joining Arivale was a natural step for him given a history of health-care practitioners in his own family, including his father, Harvey Ries, a psychiatrist who was medical director at a large psychiatric hospital. Grant Ries has a master’s degree in health-care from the University of Washington and worked in health-care early in his career before shifting to the technology industry.

“I think we’re going to pioneer a new sector,” Ries said of Arivale. “I’ve been in the program. It’s personally helped me quite a bit. … I believe in the underlying science. I’ve experienced it myself. I believe it can help millions of people.”

Lee Hood
Lee Hood

That echoes Hood’s bullishness on the company, as he seeks to shift health care from a mentality of treating disease and illness to a focus on prevention and wellness. The Arivale founder, who led the Caltech team that pioneered the automated DNA sequencer, has been involved in the creation of more than 15 biotech companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, and Rosetta.

“Arivale is the opening shot in a whole new industry called scientific wellness, and it really stands a chance of being the Google or Microsoft of this whole arena,” said Hood in an interview with GeekWire earlier this year.

A big part of Arivale’s strategy is working with large employers, and Ries said he expects 2016 to be “a really important year for us in terms of rolling out an enterprise offering.”

Ries was previously co-founder and chief revenue officer at BlueKai, the cloud-based big data company for the digital marketing industry. He became a vice president in Oracle Data Cloud’s global business unit following Oracle’s acquisition of BlueKai last year.

“Grant is a visionary executive and CEOs across industries look to Grant for the next big innovation,” said Arivale CEO Clayton Lewis in a statement released by the company. “His unique experience in creating a data ecosystem that launched an entirely new sector, combined with a strong track record in building fast-growth companies, will be instrumental in driving Arivale’s growth.”

Arivale, currently based in a 3,000-square-foot space in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, will be moving soon to a new 10,000-square-foot space a few blocks north, in downtown Seattle. The company expects to double in size to 100 employees by the end of the first quarter of 2016.

In July, Arivale raised a $36 million Series B round led by Arch Venture Partners and Polaris Partners, with participation from Maveron, bring total funding to almost $40 million.

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