Ajai Sehgal, an early and longtime Expedia employee, is embarking on a slightly different trip than the ones he is familiar with. The longtime tech executive is leaving his role as CTO of social media company Hootsuite to join The Chemistry Group, a London-based startup that focuses on tech-fueled HR services.
Seghals’ resume includes a twelve-year career in leadership positions at Expedia, as well as a two-year stint as Vice President of Product and Technology in Groupon’s global travel division. Seghal, who joined Vancouver, B.C.-based Hootsuite in 2014 as its CTO, will also serve as CTO at Chemistry and will help the startup set up a Seattle office with 10 employees initially.
“Across the world, there’s people stuck in jobs that don’t satisfy them. There’s a job out there for everybody to be great at. It’s just a question of finding it,” Sehgal said in a statement. “What really impressed me is Chemistry’s ability to predict someone’s potential with incredible accuracy. I’ve seen it first hand and it blew me away. The impact for this is really exciting, and will completely re-invent how we work.”
Added Chemistry CEO Roger Philby: “With Ajai on board, and with his vision, deep understanding of social mapping, and track record of helping companies scale through technology, we’ll have the ability to help more people find roles that they will be brilliant at and enable more organisations to fulfil their potential,” he said in a statement.
— Life Science Washington, the state’s life science industry group, has elected a new chairman of the board: Martin Simonetti, a former exec of biotech companies including Amgen and Dendreon. Simonetti currently runs his own consulting firm and serves as a board member for a number of Seattle biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
“I am honored to become the new chairman of the board for Life Science Washington and continue to drive forward the critical work of this organization and its members,” Simonetti said in a press release. “There is tremendous opportunity to build on the solid foundation we have set and further grow this important sector in our state.”
The announcement comes with several other additions to the group’s board of directors, including Leen Kawas, CEO of biotech startup M3 Biotechnology; Chad Robins, CEO of Adaptive Biotechnologies; and Teresa Foy, executive director of pharmaceutical company Celgene.
— Serial entrepreneur and tech investor Mika Salmi has joined the board of directors for Seattle VR startup Pixvana. Salmi previously founded game companies Atom Entertainment — parent of brands AtomFilms, Shockwave, and AddictingGames — and Mad Races, and currently serves as a senior advisor at global investment company The Raine Group.
“I am excited by the vision that the founders have for the future of VR as a medium,” Salmi said in a press release. “Pixvana has built an impressive technology stack to create a new approach to storytelling. I look forward to helping the company deliver on its vision.”
“Mika is someone our team has admired since the very early days of new media, dating back to the dawn of the internet in the 90s when he founded Atom Entertainment where he and his team created many of the seminal works of interactive storytelling and gaming,” Pixvana CEO Forest Key said in the release. “As a board director Mika will lend his wealth of industry experience to help us prioritize our investments and then scale our solution to the media industry.”
— Stream analytics platform ExtraHop Networks announced the addition of Quantum vet Bryce Hein as the company’s SVP of marketing. Hein joins the company after a stint as the VP of marketing at big data analytics company Rocana, before which he spent over a decade in leadership positions at data storage and protection company Quantum.
“This is an exciting time to be joining ExtraHop,” Hein said in a press release. “The company has established itself as a force in IT data mining and monitoring with an innovative, analytics-based approach and a deep commitment to customer success. I look forward to working with the talented ExtraHop team, as well as our customers and partners, to continue to build our brand and accelerate our growth.”
The board oversees Stanford’s $22.4 billion financial endowment as well as its properties. Raikes has served on the board since 2012.
— Security specialist Kyle Wilhoit has joined Seattle-based DNS and domain name security specialist DomainTools as the company’s senior security researcher. In the role, Wilhoit will spearhead DomainTools’ efforts to conduct preventative research on cyber threats, focusing on DNS attacks.
Wilhoit joins the company from cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, where he served as a senior threat researcher. Wilhoit also has experience as a cybersecurity researcher and professor.
“What attracted me most to DomainTools is its complete dedication to providing actionable threat intelligence to help security teams adequately arm their organization against malicious activity,” said Wilhoit. “I’ve been a DomainTools user for four years and know first-hand how powerful and invaluable their data is. This client-side experience should prove useful to the company as it matures its already robust product offerings in 2017. And I’ll have first-hand access to their unique data sets that will inform my ongoing research on the latest and most nefarious cyberthreats. I’m extremely excited to get started here.”
— Bellevue, Wash.,-based WE Communications, a press relations firm noted for serving tech companies including Microsoft, announced the addition of Matt Ashworth as general manager and senior vice president for the agency’s Seattle office.
Ashworth comes to WE from his position as VP at PR firm Porter Novelli, previous to which he served for six years as the senior communications manager for T-Mobile.
“Throughout my career in the Northwest, WE has stood out from the rest, synonymous with excellence, independence and deep technology roots,” Ashworth said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to joining an impressive and growing set of leaders who intimately understand the Seattle market.”
— Mixpo, a video advertising platform, announced the promotion of two executives to senior positions: former director of marketing Erin Martin was promoted to vice president of customer success and operations, and former Senior Director of Product Marketing and Sales Strategy Adam Noble will now serve as vice president of marketing.
In an emailed statement, a Mixpo representative said the promotions were the result of the company solidifying its focus on digital publishers.