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New Mighty AI President Isaac Kato. (Mighty AI Photo)

Mighty AI has a new leader.

The artificial intelligence data company announced this week that Isaac Kato, former CFO and co-founder of data center company Verne Global, has joined the company as its first president. He will work alongside Mighty AI co-founder and CEO Daryn Nakhuda to oversee finances, business operations, and corporate development.

In an email interview with GeekWire, Kato said Mighty AI’s unique work attracted him to the new role. The company helps clients with data management and analysis for use in artificial intelligence programs.

“It goes without saying that the company faces huge opportunity, solving tough problems at the intersection of AI and autonomous vehicles,” Kato said. “The growth of our customers’ data, which Mighty AI’s platform helps to manage and curate, is enormous.”

The company has been growing steadily since it re-launched with $14 million in funding in January of last year. It was the first company to spin out of Madrona Venture Labs, the startup incubator launched by the venture group in 2014.

“Now we need to ensure that we can handle the scale up and consistency that the company will require in its next phase. I’m looking forward to ramping up our business operations, helping to build our world class team, and of course fundraising to make sure that we continue to invest in our quality and our growth,” Kato said.

Despite its strong growth, Mighty AI’s journey has not been without tragedy. Its co-founder and longtime CEO, Matt Bencke, stepped down from that role suddenly in August after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away just two months later.

Kato applauded the company’s response to the tragedy and said the company is pressing forward despite it.

“Founder and current CEO, Daryn Nakhuda, and his team continue to pursue and successfully execute on Matt and the founding team’s vision for the company,” he said. “Despite the horrific setback last year, they’ve made great forward progress.”

Mark Nelson. (Tableau Photo)

— Concur Chief Technology Officer Mark Nelson is leaving the company for a new role as the executive vice president of product development at data visualization company Tableau.

Nelson had been in his position with Concur, the expense management giant acquired by SAP, for more than four years. He previously spent more than sixteen years as a vice president at Oracle.

“We are experiencing an explosion of data and the opportunity around using it effectively is not only exciting, but it’s where the world is headed,” Nelson said in a press release. “As a former customer, I am a true believer in Tableau, using it every day over the last few years. I know there’s nothing like the Tableau platform and I’m excited not only to help build an innovative product, but to also bring my expertise in engineering at scale – both technically and organizationally – to help grow the platform and the company.”

Eric Best. (Photo via LinkedIn)

— Serial Seattle entrepreneur Eric Best joined the board of directors of Arizona-based budget e-commerce site DollarDays.

Best may be most well known as the founder and CEO of marketing technology company Mercent, which was acquired by CommerceHub in 2014. He is now the CEO and founder of SoundCommerce, a consumer brand consultancy based in Seattle.

“I’m very pleased to have been invited to join the DollarDays board and have been impressed by its mission, culture and unique position with independent businesses and nonprofits,” Best said in a press release. “My focus will be on contributing to overall growth while expanding opportunities with new partners and platforms.”

DollarDays offers a wide variety of low-cost consumer products, largely catering to nonprofits, small businesses and schools.

— Former Amazon Web Services general manager Peter Sirota has joined Mapbox to lead the company’s engineering, according to a report by Axios. Mapbox is an open source, custom mapping program and is used by companies including Instacart, The Weather Channel and guide book publisher Lonely Planet.

Sirota joins the company from AI-fueled marketing company Quantcast, where he was the senior vice president of engineering. He previously spent more than six years as the general manager of the AWS Elastic MapReduce data tool and also spent five years as a software development manager at RealNetworks.

Tim Hudson. (DreamBox Learning Photo)

— Bellevue, Wash.-based education technology company DreamBox Learning promoted Tim Hudson to serve as the company’s chief learning officer. Hudson first joined the company in 2011.

In his new role, he will oversee areas including policy, curriculum, professional development, learning impact assessment and adoption of emerging learning science.

“We’re pleased to elevate Tim’s role to CLO and leverage his deep expertise in learning and curriculum. This new role reflects Tim’s enormous impact on our growing business as well as the importance that we place on anchoring our technology innovations in the science of learning,” DreamBox president and CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson said in a press release.

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