Trending: Want to work at Amazon? Former ‘Bar Raiser’ launches startup to prepare candidates for tech giant’s grueling interview process

William Colleran
William Colleran

—AnswerDash, a spin-out from the University of Washington formerly known as Qazzow, has named former Impinj CEO William Colleran as CEO. The Seattle company is working on contextual help technologies that better allow businesses to answer questions from customers.

Colleran stepped down from Impinj last November, ending a 14-year-old run at the maker of RFID technologies. Co-founder and former CEO Jake Wobbrock is moving to the role of chief scientist. He co-founded the company with Dr. Andy Ko and Dr. Parmit Chilana, using research from the University of Washington Information School.

“At AnswerDash, I see tremendous opportunity in helping businesses to dramatically improve their online customer engagement,” said Colleran in a release. “No other company has successfully delivered effective, online, self-service help with a cost-effective, scalable solution that is rich with analytics.”

Backed by WRF Capital and Voyager Capital, AnswerDash named former Drugstore.com CEO Dawn Lepore to its board last year.

Kathy Visser-May
Kathy Visser-May

—Acumatica, the Kirkland-based cloud ERP startup, has named Kathy Visser-May as chief marketing officer and Nigel LeGresley as chief operating officer.

“I am thrilled that Kathy and Nigel are joining our team, said CEO Jon Roskill. “They both bring years of industry experience to Acumatica, and they will be instrumental in accelerating our growth and helping us take more market share in the Cloud ERP space.”

Visser-May joins from Microsoft, where she spent the last 10 years, most recently as the senior director of global IT professional strategy. She previously worked at PeopleSoft and Huber Marketing Group. LeGresley most recently served as vice president of finance at Tableau Software, where he led finance and accounting activities. He previously worked at EMC/Isilon.

Acumatica, led by former Microsoft exec Jon Roskill, raised $13.3 million last fall in a bid to take on industry giant NetSuite.

Jeff Seely
Jeff Seely

—Lighter Capital has tapped Jeff Seely as chairman, replacing investor and founder Andy Sack who is moving to the role of vice chairman. The Seattle-based firm, which provides revenue-based loans to companies, also noted in a SEC filing that it had raised $6.5 million of a $10 million financing round. The company declined to comment on the new financing.

Seely is a former investment banker who went on to serve as CEO of Sharebuilder, a financial tech services company which sold to ING in 2007 for $220 million. He is a trustee of the Washington State Investment Board and serves as a member of the board of directors of Delta Dental.

“I know from personal experience how tough it is for entrepreneurs to get the funding they need,” Seely said. “By combining online data gathering, tech-enabled credit analysis, and entrepreneur-friendly funding structures, Lighter Capital is changing the way small businesses fund their growth. The company is scaling up nicely and I’m excited to help the team continue growing and achieve its full potential.”

Lighter Capital is closing about six deals per month, and is nearing its 100th investment. It typically invests between $50,000 and $1 million per company, providing loans versus taking full-on equity stakes.

Jon Sneider
Jon Sneider

—Contend just opened a new office in the Seattle area, appointing former Redfin employee Jon Sneider as chief marketing officer and executive vice president of client services. Kate Hepherd, formerly of Shine America, also is joining as executive vice president of content. They both will report to founder and CEO Steven Amato.

Sneider most recently spent 9 months as vice president of advertising and brand at Redfin, the Seattle-based real estate company. Before that, he worked at Microsoft and Fidelity Investments.

“With the marketing and entertainment industries transforming before us, having world-class talent like Kate and Jon are real game changers for Contend,” said Amato in a statement. “Their strategic, creative, production and thought leadership within the television and marketing industries are unrivaled. Now having offices in Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles, Contend is excited to continue to grow into the expanding opportunities that lay ahead.”

Contend, based in L.A., is a digital content creation company.

Carolyn Casey
Carolyn Casey

—Zapproved, a Portland startup that raised $15 million in venture funding earlier this year to help legal departments better analyze data, has named Carolyn Casey as director of product marketing and Chuck Yang as product manager.

Casey founded the Law Firm Information Governance Symposium while at Iron Mountain, and previously worked at Fios and Stratify. She practiced law at Brobeck Phleger & Harrison.

Yang, who holds a law degree from Lewis & Clark, previously led the development of Exterro’s e-discovery platform.

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