Quantum computing company D-Wave Systems, which claims to be the first company with a commercially available quantum computing system, has a new presence in Seattle.
The company tapped former Apptio vice president of marketing Jennifer Houston as its senior vice president of marketing. Houston is the Vancouver, B.C., area company’s first high-level marketing hire and becomes the company’s first foray into Washington state, just across the border from its headquarters.
“Jennifer is D-Wave’s first hire in the Seattle-area,” a D-Wave spokesperson said. “We have no imminent plans for additional hires in Seattle, but Jen’s hiring marks a major milestone for our growth and we’re excited to have a member of our leadership team in such a strategic area of technological growth and innovation.”
At Apptio, Houston was a part of an executive team that led the company through its IPO in 2016. She formerly spent 13 years at technology PR company Waggener Edstrom, where she held several executive roles, including founding and leading the company’s multimedia department.
“Jennifer’s strengths in communications and global marketing will help to keep D-Wave at the forefront of the conversation about quantum computing and how this revolutionary technology will benefit businesses and other organizations,” D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell said in a press release.
The new hire follows several busy months for D-Wave. In May, the company launched Quadrant, its new machine learning business unit, and in June, it announced $30 million Canadian dollars ($22.8 million USD) in new funding.
D-Wave’s quantum computers have been embroiled in controversy as different studies have found contradicting data on how they work, putting their status as the world’s first quantum computers in question.
—Vancouver, B.C.,-based home improvement online marketplace BuildDirect has added four seasoned executives to its team, including former Amazon and Microsoft executives.
The hires come as BuildDirect finishes extensive restructuring. In October, the company filed for relief under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada, which allows insolvent companies to restructure, leading to founder and previous CEO Jeff Booth stepping down and replaced by current CEO Dan Park. In its most recent funding round in March, BuildDirect raised $43 million and shed its CCAA protection.
The new executive team includes three Amazon veterans. Park, himself an Amazon veteran, said in an email that he “hired a team that had the expertise and leadership skills that I felt could help lead BuildDirect on its next phase of growth as we disrupt the $600B home improvement industry.”
Mukund Mohan is BuildDirect’s new chief technology officer. Mohan was most recently the director of product management at Amazon Business. He was also previously the director of Microsoft Ventures and the director of engineering for Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise business.
Ken Stanick is BuildDirect’s new chief revenue officer. He was previously the director of sales and channels at Amazon Business when it launched in 2015 and previously spent 13 years at business commerce network Ariba.
Godwin Pavamani, who also comes from Amazon, is now the chief merchandising officer and general manager of marketplace at BuildDirect. At Amazon, he was a global product leader for Prime samples and the head of vendor management in the PC/IT department. He was formerly a general manager at Sony and director of consumer sales and marketing at Dell.
Stephanie Roberts is the new interim chief financial officer. Most recently, Roberts was the CFO at Specialized Bicycle Components and was also previously the CFO at Old Navy.
— Seattle-area tech executive Stijn Hendrikse has launched a new venture called SaaS-CMO.com, which allows B2B software-as-a-service companies to hire an experienced chief marketing officer as a service.
The venture is Hendrikse’s return to shared CMO-as-a-service work after two gigs as a full-time, interim marketing executive at Fluke Digital and Group Health. At Fluke, he built a marketing team from scratch. At Group Health, which was acquired by Kaiser Permanente, he led the marketing team through the integration process.
Hendrikse is also a CMO and partner at Chief Outsiders, which provides fractional CMOs to companies across multiple industries. He told GeekWire that his prior shared CMO work for SaaS companies was more organic — he helped out other B2B SaaS companies on the side after he sold MightyCall, where he was the CEO.
With SaaS-CMO.com, Hendrikse says he just standardized and packaged what he used to do. “Before, it was more generic consulting,” He wrote in an email to GeekWire. “Now it’s a packaged service, priced by company maturity, etc.”
Hendrikse says he is focused on the Seattle area and other Chief Outsiders CMOs are helping him follow up on clients outside of the Pacific Northwest.
—Seattle-based biotech startup Lumen Bioscience hired Craig Behnke as the senior vice president of production and development. In his new role, Behnke will lead Lumen’s production and development teams as they prepare to expand production capacity and scale
Previously, Behnke held a variety of positions at Sapphire Energy. Most recently, he was the vice president of business development and a chemistry technical fellow there.
“Craig’s experience makes him the perfect leader to scale commercial production beyond our current facility in Seattle,” Lumen CEO and co-founder Brian Finrow said in a press release. “His scientific background and history of scaling up biological systems at Sapphire will be invaluable as we continue to expand our capacity.”
Lumen uses Spirulina, a bright green algae, as the basis for its molecule manufacturing platform. It recently launched its first product: RioBlue, a natural blue colorant for food and cosmetics.
Hopkins was the founder and CEO of Citi Ventures, as well as Citi’s first chief innovation officer. Before that, she was the chief operations and technology officer at Citi and also held chief financial officer roles at Boeing, General Motors Europe and Lucent Technologies.
She also holds a number of advisory and board positions at Union Pacific, Marto Capital and more.
M3 is currently conducting Phase I clinical trials for its Alzheimer’s treatment drug, the first step to FDA approval. It’s the first time in the process the drug is being tested on humans. In 2017, it raised $15.2 million in new funding.