— Former BMW ReachNow CEO and INRIX executive Steve Banfield has joined Seattle-based “startup studio” Madrona Venture Labs as founder-in-residence.
“Steve’s proven talent and leadership make him uniquely suited to build the next great Seattle company,” said Mike Fridgen, managing director of Madrona Venture Labs.
“It is still day one and we will have more to share later, but we can say that together we are attacking an immense and growing data problem faced by essentially every enterprise today and that this challenge fits squarely in both Steve’s and Madrona Venture Labs’ founding and operating experience.”
Banfield stepped down as CEO of BMW’s car-sharing service in January 2019 as BMW and car2go-owner Daimler prepared to merge mobility services. Several months later, ReachNow abruptly shut down in Seattle and Portland. This past December, Share Now, operator of car2go announced it will end operations in North America on Feb. 29, leaving Seattle with no free-floating car-sharing services.
After leaving BMW ReachNow, Banfield unplugged and left Seattle to walk the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route from France to Spain.
Formed by venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group in 2014, MVL raised its third fund last year with plans to launch up to a dozen new startups. One spinout, Uplevel, recently raised $7.5 million in seed funding.
— Starbucks hired former Levi Strauss & Co. exec Michael Kobori as its first chief sustainability officer. The new executive hire is part of a broader company initiative to meet target reductions of carbon, water and waste by 2030. At Levi Strauss & Co., Kobori led the apparel company’s sustainability initiatives and previously directed its global code of conduct.
— Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was named chair of the non-partisan United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) Automation and Future of Work Task Force.
“We are living in the most disruptive era since the Industrial Revolution. Long-term jobs are giving way to gig work, and real wages have barely budged for working people,” said Durkan.
The task force is responsible for “developing innovative, progressive policies that center around youth opportunity and workers while addressing the changes caused by new technology and the gig economy.”
— Longtime HP manager and former CTO of Appnique Aloke Gupta has joined Seattle-based strategic advisory firm WorksMachine as partner of AI and product strategy.
— Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon will be consulting with Microsoft. Tom Burt, Microsoft’s VP of customer security and trust, said in a tweet that Gordon will consult on security, national security and leadership topics.
— Seattle-based WineBid, an online auction site for fine wines, appointed Zulily alum Matt Torrie as chief financial officer. Torrie’s tenure as director of financial planning and analysis at Zulily included the company’s IPO and acquisition by QVC Group.
“I’m excited to join the WineBid team,” said Torrie. “There are many opportunities for growth at WineBid, and I look forward to helping scale this innovator in global wine re-commerce.”