TraceMe may still be a young startup, but the company is making strides in building out its team and attracting executives from Seattle and beyond.
The company — a platform that connects “superfans” to celebrities and founded by Seattle Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson — announced three new additions to its leadership team Monday, following a $9 million seed round in September.
One new executive will be a familiar face to many in the Seattle tech community: Hulu and Microsoft veteran Duoc Nguyen, who joins the company as its vice president of engineering.
“I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have the opportunity to build some amazing products alongside tons of passionate people,” Nguyen told GeekWire in an emailed statement. “Joining TraceMe was a natural extension of that — there was an incredible team in place, who were building a product for passionate people.”
During his time at Microsoft, Nguyen was a senior software engineer and later a development lead on Xbox, overseeing various Xbox social experiences on a variety of Windows devices. At Hulu, he led the development of the service’s Live TV app for game consoles, set-top boxes and other devices.
Now at TraceMe, Nguyen will oversee the company’s superfan platform, which aims to connect fans with their favorite celebrities through exclusive behind-the-scenes content. The idea was sparked by Wilson’s weekly visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Wilson told GeekWire in a previous interivew that he wanted to take the children he met along with him on his journey, and be able to give them a powerful, raw connection to him even when he wasn’t visiting the hospital.
“[I]t’s more than just about fandom,” Nguyen said. “These superfans are in some way connected by something or someone who inspires them. We’re building a platform that provides the content and community for inspiration. I’m excited to help build that — but even more excited to see what incredible things will come from the fans!”
Nguyen is joined on the executive team by Joe Braidwood, a London startup veteran with multiple C-suite roles under his belt, who will serve as vice president of marketing. He holds degrees from Brown University and Cambridge University and has spent the past decade in London’s startup scene. Braidwood was the first employee and later the CMO of AI tech company SwiftKey, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2016, and most recently served as an interim Chief Product Officer of healthcare staffing platform Lantum.
Braidwood echoed Nguyen’s enthusiasm for working on a platform that brings together fans and their idols in a long-term way and said TraceMe’s team was a big reason he signed on.
“Everyone at TraceMe has superpowers — I’ve never worked in a small team like this that has such a diverse and inspiring group of rockstars,” Braidwood said.
TraceMe’s leadership team includes Wilson, the company’s chairman, and CEO Jason LeeKeenan, who was previously an executive at Zulily, Hulu and the Walt Disney Company.
Another new addition is former Pioneer Square Labs Principal Designer Sophie Otto who saw TraceMe’s formation first-hand through her work at PSL, a Seattle startup studio that helped launched TraceMe.
Otto, who will take on the role of director of design, got to see the company’s mission first-hand — along with the unique design challenges it offers.
“Not only are we designing celebrity ‘worlds’ within TraceMe, and therefore developing their brands, consumer expectations are at an all-time high from a product perspective,” she said. “More than perhaps any other startup in history, I saw how integral design was — and would be — for TraceMe, and decided to commit full-time to Russell’s vision.”