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Meredith Powell.

Voyager Capital has hired Meredith Powell as its dedicated Canadian venture partner, a new position the Pacific Northwest venture capital firm just created.

Powell is a long-time entrepreneur, investor, and board member who previously founded two companies. She focuses on marketplace businesses, B2B startups, fintech, artificial intelligence, and consumer packaged goods.

“British Columbia companies desperately are searching for smart capital: partners who are not afraid to lead or to syndicate a round, and team that will work tirelessly to open doors to new customers, future capital, top talent, exit opportunities and more,” Powell said. “Voyager offers that kind of smart capital.”

Powell added that she is “deeply passionate about inclusivity in tech” and was impressed by the diverse makeup of Voyager’s team.

“As we began increasing our focus on Western Canada several years ago, we couldn’t stop hearing the name, Meredith Powell,” said Voyager Partner James Newell. “It became clear that she was a great fit with our group and we are now thrilled to be adding one of the most thoughtful and well-connected company builders in the entire Cascadia region to our investment team.”

Voyager, which has offices in Seattle and Portland, is raising its fifth fund. The firm, founded in 1997, recently closed its Silicon Valley location as it focuses on investing in startups based in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia that build software-as-a-service, cloud infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and machine learning-related products and services.

Current companies in Voyager’s portfolio include LyticsLighter CapitalAct-OnAnswerDashShiftboardZipWhip, and several others. The firm’s exits include aQuantive, BlueBox, Elemental Technologies, Skyward, and more.

Nick Hughes.

— After organizing startup pitch events for the past four years, Nick Hughes has realized that entrepreneurs need to take risks when an opportunity presents itself — and that’s exactly what the Founders Live leader is doing with his own endeavour.

Hughes is embarking on a 12-month world tour that will take the Seattle entrepreneur across several U.S. cities, as well as Africa and South America. He’ll spend a month in each location helping grow Founders Live, his company that organizes local events for entrepreneurs in 30 cities worldwide.

As Hughes details in this blog post, the impetus for the trip came about after his long-term relationship recently ended. The experience was a “slap in the face” for Hughes, both personally and professionally.

“I have no idea what is ahead of me, no idea what a year on the road is like, or even how to balance heartache with an unparalleled vagabond worldwide journey in search of human potential, truth and inspiration,” he wrote. “All I do know is I have never felt a stronger pull in a direction than this that I feel right now, and I’m excited to meet the man out there on the horizon.”

Founders Live invites entrepreneurs to pitch their idea in 99 seconds or less. It started in Seattle in 2014 and has grown to 10,000 members globally. This past September, it inked a corporate partnership with Liquid Telecom in Africa. Hughes said he wants the event to be in 100 cities and 30 countries by the end of 2019.

Sam Kanner.

New Engen, a Seattle-based customer acquisition marketing startup, just brought on Sam Kanner as its vice president of people. Kanner was most recently at Alaska Airlines and has experience at other companies such as Getty Images, Nordstrom, and PeopleFirm.

“What the team at New Engen is doing with direct marketing is really exciting since it has the power to change the way companies target and acquire customers,” Kanner said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to being a part of and helping drive the trajectory from early stage to fast-growth startup.”

Founded and led by former Zulily executives, New Engen develops AI-infused tools to help marketers acquire customers. When the company made its work public in June, it had already raised $10.5 million and grown to approximately 125 employees. It plans to add another 150 people in 2019 and has offices in New York, San Francisco, Dallas, and Charlotte.

Varsity Tutors, an education technology startup that combines live experts with an online and mobile platform for learners, has hired Mike Nathenson as its new chief financial officer. Nathenson has more than 20 years of finance experience at places such as Blue Buffalo, where he helped manage the company’s IPO and $8 billion acquisition by General Mills.

Varsity Tutors is based in St. Louis but has “co-headquarters” in Seattle, where it employs more than 50 people. It raised a $50 million round in February.

Andrew Kim, a designer who worked on the Windows 10 UI and other Microsoft products such as HoloLens and Xbox One S, has left Tesla to join Apple. The Verge reported on Monday that Kim “rose to prominence with a fan-made remaging of Microsoft’s design language.”

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