If you’re running a software startup in Seattle, Raj Singh is the kind of person you’d want as an advisor.
Singh, who helped launch expense management company Concur — which sold to SAP for $8.3 billion — is currently the CEO of healthcare tech startup Accolade. As of Wednesday, he will also have a new role on the board of advisors at Avalara, a provider of cloud-based tax compliance software.
Singh replaces former Avalara board member Doug Burgum, who has stepped down from his post to serve as the governor of North Dakota.
Singh founded Concur with Mike Hilton in 1993. For the next twenty years, he worked in key leadership roles as the company grew and became a cornerstone of the Seattle tech community.
He eventually sold the company to SAP in 2014. Singh and Hilton both joined Philadelphia-based Accolade in 2015, with Singh serving as CEO. The company established a second headquarters in Seattle last year.
Singh told GeekWire in an email that he was drawn to Avalara because the company is working in an area where software solutions could have a big impact.
“These are the types of challenges that excite me – where companies are solving really big and complex issues,” he said. “When you know that technology done right can make a serious impact, then the messier the challenge, the better. It’s important to be a part of something meaningful that can disrupt an industry. Avalara is doing that.”
Singh also said he believes startups should focus on people and culture to arrive at the best strategy, and that Avalara has had success doing that so far.
“Avalara has a solid foundation of great people with awesome ideas and smart approaches to development and growth,” he said. “Layered on top of that is the fact that they’re taking a big burden away from corporate finance teams. That’s all goodness. The Avalara team has a clear vision and a killer team to make it happen.”
Avalara, founded in 2004, has raised more than $300 million to date and may be heading for an IPO in the coming years. The company offers a variety of software-as-a-service tax compliance solutions for companies of all sizes and employs about 1,000 people around the world, 500 of those in Seattle.
Singh also serves on the board of Bellevue, Wash.,-based SaaS company Apptio, which raised $95 million in its initial public offering last year.
— Winshuttle, the quick-growing Bothell, Wash.-based SAP data management company, announced two additions to its leadership team: Jim Zahka was promoted to vice president of Americas sales and Joel Chaplin joins the company as vice president of information technology.
Chaplin comes to Winshuttle after three years at Nuance Communications, where he most recently worked as the company’s VP of cloud operations. He previously held leadership positions at business software firm Varolii, which was acquired by Nuance in 2013.
“Joel is a technology visionary,” Winshuttle CTO and co-founder Vikram Chalana said in a press release. “His diverse background and extensive SaaS experience aligns with our cloud strategy, and will be crucial as we test and expand new technologies.”
Zahka joined Winshuttle in 2014 and previously served as the VP of sales for Eastern North America. Prior to joining the company, he held leadership sales roles at a variety of tech startups, most recently Massachusetts-based Interval Data Systems.
“Jim has been an integral part of our leadership for the past several years as Director of North American Sales East,” Winshuttle CEO John Pierson said in the release. “This promotion follows an outstanding track record, and we’re thrilled to have Jim driving sales development across the Americas.”
— Fitcode, a Kirkland, Wash.,-based startup that uses tech to help customers navigate online clothes shopping, added two new names to its board of directors: former Nordstrom exec Loretta Soffe and former Deloitte manager Achim Bassler.
Soffe spent 24 years at Nordstrom, the last seven as one of the retail giant’s executive vice presidents. She now runs her own business consulting practice.
“Fitcode is a true innovator,” Soffe said in a press release. “It’s redefining the way that women shop for denim to provide a better experience for consumers and a better return for brands and retailers.”
Bassler spent five years at Deloitte, first as a director and then as a managing director. He was formerly the VP of software development and delivery services at Deloitte-owned tech contractor Ubermind.
“Fitcode represents the future of retail personalization,” Bassler said in the release. “We’ve designed the experience to be quick and lightweight for our partners, while providing them with massive amounts of actionable data and a high-quality user experience.”