— Lisa Nelson is leaving her role as managing director of M12, the corporate venture arm of Microsoft. Nelson is a 14-year Microsoft veteran who helped to launch the company’s Female Founders Competition two years ago.
Nelson told GeekWire she is pursuing a role to help boost Seattle’s startup community, but that she is still exploring what that role will be. “I truly believe we are on the cusp of something major happening here (the big one’s coming, and that’s not an earthquake, that’s Seattle’s startup ecosystem shaking up the world!) and I want to be a part of that,” she said.
Microsoft on Thursday announced that the Female Founders Competition will be returning with help from Melinda Gates and Silicon Valley venture capital fund Mayfield. The competition will award $6 million to four female-founded companies.
“I’m thrilled to launch our 2nd comp. It’s bigger & bolder!” Nelson wrote on LinkedIn. “As I look ahead & start bringing new ideas to life beyond Microsoft, I’m rooting for this year’s applicants & female founders everywhere. Real progress happens when we dream big, lock arms & push forward together.”
M12, previously known as Microsoft Ventures, launched in 2016. The VC arm generally invests in early-stage B2B startups that are working on their Series A or Series B rounds, with investments ranging from $2 million to $10 million. There are nearly 80 startups in its portfolio.
Nelson held a number of jobs at Microsoft, including head of external reporting, director of investor relations, chief of staff to the CFO, and COO of business development. She’s an investor in companies including Pixvana, Zipwhip, and others startups. Nelson also sits on the board of directors for the Technology Alliance.
— Nordstrom’s chief accounting officer Kelley Hall resigned from her position to join an unnamed retailer as chief financial officer, a new public filing reveals. Nordstrom CFO Anne Bramman will fill Hall’s old role until a successor is found.
Prior to Nordstrom, Hall was CFO at Nike and held finance leadership roles at Starbucks.
The Seattle retailer has experienced plenty of executive shake-ups this year. Last month, Nordstrom promoted Ken Worzel to chief operating officer in a newly created role. And earlier this year, a pair of Nordstrom technology executives left the company around the time that the company was reorganizing its digital division.
— Chris Picardo left Madrona Venture Group to become the head of WONE, an activewear company based in Los Angeles. Picardo was a senior associate at Madrona and served as a board observer of prominent startups like Crowd Cow, Shyft, Knock, Ovation.io and Amperity.
“Chris was a highly valued part of the Madrona team and was impactful in many ways,” said Tim Porter, managing director at Madrona. “He was particularly helpful and insightful with our investments in consumer and e-commerce companies. This combination made the Wone CEO role a great opportunity and fit for him. We are thrilled when our team members go on to big roles starting our joining innovative Pacific NW companies.”
— Portland-based digital marketing agency Logical Position hired Adam Jones as director of business development. Jones is the former head of U.S. business development at Google and previously held account leadership roles at Symantec and EMC.
“I was lucky enough to be Logical Position’s very first Partner Manager at Google back in 2013 and watched them take off like a rocket ship. There is such a bright future ahead for this company and I want to be a part of it,” Jones wrote on LinkedIn.
— Bloomreach, a San Francisco-based platform for e-commerce companies, tapped Brian Walker as its new chief strategy officer. Walker was most recently CSO at Amplience and has also held senior roles at Amazon, Expedia, Forrester and SAP. He will be based in the Seattle area.
“It is amazing how much my experiences in the early days of eCommerce in Seattle now resonate with what we are doing today,” Walker said in an email statement. “That goes all the way back to when I was a part of the team who launched EddieBauer.com in the late ’90s, as well as when I worked to bring other businesses onto the Amazon platform or rebuild the platform at Expedia to scale and transform how travel is sold. All of this comes together with the personalized, contextualized commerce and customer experiences we are driving at Bloomreach for some of the largest businesses in the world.”
The company also announced that Scott Pace joined Bloomreach in the Pacific Northwest as head of analyst relations.