When you’re a billion-dollar startup looking to disrupt an $800 billion industry, you need engineers. Good ones.
Trucking platform Convoy plans to double its more than 100-person tech team this year, and it’s luring talent from the Seattle satellite offices of the world’s largest tech companies.
Convoy’s new head of infrastructure is Vishnu Challam, who previously led Twitter’s Seattle office where he was a director of engineering. Other hires in a similar vein include Tim Prouty, who was head of Uber Seattle before signing on as head of engineering at Convoy, as well as Viraj Mody, who led Dropbox Seattle prior to joining Convoy as senior director of engineering. Divya Mahalingam was development team lead at Palantir Technologies in Seattle before she became an engineering manager at Convoy.
So what’s the appeal of joining a local up-and-comer? As Prouty sees it, engineers often join satellite offices only to find that the problems they want to solve are being worked on elsewhere.
“A company’s core problems tend to gravitate toward its headquarters,” Prouty told GeekWire. “I find it exciting to be at the beating heart of where a company is going.”
And despite the allure of building mass-market consumer technology, Prouty said building business-to-business technology lets him solve classic engineering problems in new arenas.
“No trucking company has been able to build a massively scalable business around trucking. It’s because to scale exponentially you have to approach it from an engineering and technology perspective,” he said.
—Discovery is opening a Seattle office and has hired Avi Saxena to lead it in his role as chief technology officer for direct-to-consumer products. Saxena was most recently VP of technology at Amazon Marketplace and a director at Microsoft before that.
“Discovery is one of the most dynamic companies in media right now, doubling its commitment to the direct-to-consumer space by building out this new, entrepreneurial team here in Seattle to augment the current global organization,” Saxena said in a statement.
Discovery said the new office will open in the first quarter of 2019 in Bellevue, Wash. Saxena will report to Discover’s global direct-to-consumer CEO Peter Faricy, who worked with Saxena at Amazon. The company’s direct-to-consumer products include MotorTrend OnDemand, Eurosport Player and GolfTV.
—Aerial imagery and data firm EagleView hired Michael Park as chief product and marketing officer. Park was previously general manager at HP and, prior to that, corporate VP of the servers and tools division at Microsoft.
EagleView’s eye-in-the-sky technology has been used to inspect infrastructure on bridges and railways as well as survey wildfire damage. The company said Park would be tasked with expanding its capabilities in computer vision and software-as-a-service solutions.
“In prior roles at some of the world’s largest technology companies, I have helped transform and modernize technology assets, product portfolios and organizations to deliver more compelling customer experiences and generate new growth engines. I see the opportunity to use this experience to help EagleView‘s customers drive greater impact through digital innovation,” Park said in a statement.
“Chris Jacobs is the perfect person to convey our mission of removing the hassle of car ownership. His credibility as a car enthusiast and one of the shining personalities at MotorTrend was a natural fit to tell our story of delivering a high quality and trustworthy service with the convenience of our mobile platform,” Wrench CEO Edward Petersen said in a statement.
Seattle-based Wrench announced a $12 million investment round in October as it sought to expand its mobile service to more markets.
—Stacy Luckensmeyer has taken over as president of the board of directors at the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance (GWATA), on which she has served since 2015. Luckensmeyer is the business and industry liaison at Wenatchee Valley College.
“It’s an honor to serve both the organization and our community as president for 2019,” Luckensmeyer said in a statement. “GWATA has seen such tremendous growth over the last few years, with the addition of the Flywheel Investment Conference and our expanding membership base.”
GWATA promotes tech growth and development in North Central Washington state. The alliance also appointed four new directors, including Brian Beaumont of Subsplash, Wendy Dalpez from The Entrepreneur’s Source, Ryan Smolinsky of the Overcast Law Office, and Barbara Walters from the North Central Regional Library.
The Auburn, Wash.-based company also announced the appointment of Rich Montbriand as SVP of digital solutions.