Olly Downs, who previously founded AI-powered marketing startup Amplero, has joined Zillow Group as the company’s new senior director of artificial intelligence. In the new role, Downs leads “AI-focused applied science and engineering at Zillow driving home valuation and marketing technology,” according to his LinkedIn profile.
Earlier this year, Downs transitioned from Amplero’s CEO to chief scientist, handing the reins to Jamie Miller, a former executive at thePlatform. Downs — who holds 38 patents in areas such as 38 granted patents in the fields of Quantum Optimization Algorithms, Dynamic Time Series Prediction, and Location-based Data Probes — previously worked at Seattle Area startups INRIX, AdReady, Atigeo and Mindset Media.
The hire comes the same week that Zillow tapped former Amazon executive Allen Parker as chief financial officer.
Downs will report to Vice President of Artificial Intelligence Jasjeet Thind, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.
“We’re so excited to have Olly at Zillow Group,” Thind told GeekWire in an email. “He’s a seasoned tech leader and his background in machine learning make him an ideal fit to lead Zillow Group’s innovative AI and engineering teams.”
Denholm has been one of Tesla’s independent directors since 2014. She’ll step down from her current post as chief financial officer of the Australian telecom company Telstra after a six-month transition period.
“I believe in this company, I believe in its mission and I look forward to helping Elon and the Tesla team achieve sustainable profitability and drive long-term shareholder value,” Denholm said in a news release.
Musk agreed to give up his title as Tesla’s chair, while retaining the CEO title, to settle a securities fraud lawsuit sparked by his controversial comments in August about a plan to take the company private.
The plan fizzled, but Musk’s “funding secured” comment fueled wild ups and downs in Tesla’s share price. The SEC settlement also forced Musk and Tesla to pay a pair of $20 million fines.
— Communications and user-experience researcher Shelly Farnham has joined Google’s Seattle office as a senior UX researcher, according to her LinkedIn page. Farnham says she is working on a “new, internal collaborative technology” for the company.
GeekWire has reached out to Google for comment on Farnham’s new role and her work with the company. We will update this post when we hear back.
Farnham has led groups at Microsoft and Yahoo, with an emphasis on researching socio-technical changes and communications. She was most recently the executive director and principal research scientist for Third Place Technologies, a non-profit startup she founded to “foster civic and learning community empowerment and well-being through innovation in technology.”
Farnham said her role at Google is a contract one, via contract talent agency Zenith Talent.
She will continue in her day-to-day role at The Riveter, but wrote on Facebook that she’s excited about the new opportunity. XFactor invested in The Riveter — which raised $4.75 million earlier this year and recently opened new locations in Bellevue and L.A. — in the early stages, and the firm specializes in backing female founders.
“They have been incredible team members, and I cannot wait to join them in their incredibly important work in investing in — and making a difference for — the next generation of female founders,” she wrote.
“We’ve got incredible wealth here so we need incredible wealth management and I think homegrown firms are vital — just like with venture capital,” Redman told GeekWire.
“I’m excited to help Coldstream to grow and continue to build a world class organization,” she said. “Kevin (Fitzwilson, Coldstream managing shareholder) shares my view that this region is one of the most important in the world and his firm plans to help lead it.”
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