Tech Moves: Microsoft distinguished engineer joins Eclipse Ventures; Outreach adds evangelist

Kushagra Vaid. (Kushagra Vaid Photo)

— Former Microsoft VP and Azure Distinguished Engineer Kushagra Vaid is now a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Eclipse Ventures. He is also currently a strategic advisor for Seattle area cybersecurity startup Cyemptive Technologies.

At Eclipse Ventures, Vaid will invest in startups across areas such as enterprise computing, retail, healthcare, automotive and manufacturing.

Vaid spent 13 years on the Azure team. Prior to Microsoft, he was a principal engineer at Intel.

— Bothell, Wash.-based Athira Pharma appointed Barbara Kosacz to its board of directors. Kosacz is a life sciences attorney and currently COO and general counsel at Kronos Bio.

The Seattle area biotech company led by CEO Leen Kawas went public last year and won a $15 million grant from National Institute on Aging for trial of its Alzheimer’s drug in December.

Mary Shea. (Outreach Photo)

— Seattle sales technology startup Outreach hired Mary Shea as its first ever evangelist. Shea, most recently a principal analyst at Forrester, was named vice president, global innovation evangelist.

As an analyst, Shea looked at the future of B2B sales and emerging sales technologies. In her new role she will continue her research focusing on the dynamics between B2B buyers and sellers, as well as how to build more diverse sales team.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with the Outreach team as an analyst, and now I have the opportunity to work more closely with product and commercial colleagues to help create the next generation of sales engagement technology,” said Shea.

Companies such as Adobe, Splunk, SAP, and others use Outreach to automate and streamline communication with sales prospects. Outreach is one of a handful of “unicorn” companies in the Seattle region and employs 700 people.

Edoardo De Martin, the general manager of Microsoft’s Vancouver, B.C. development center, has left to join Canadian agricultural technology company CubicFarm Systems Corp. as CTO.

De Martin joined Microsoft in 2011 to work on its HoloLens technology in Victoria, B.C. He spent almost a decade with the Redmond, Wash.-based company including participating in the opening of the Vancouver development center.

“While the work isn’t finished, it never would be. There’s no perfect time to make a change,” De Martin said in a post on LinkedIn. “We built a solid foundation in Vancouver and I know there are big plans for the future.”

Anthony Mendonca. (Hiya Photo)

— Seattle startup RealSelf’s longtime VP of engineering Anthony Mendonca joined caller ID startup Hiya. He joined RealSelf in 2011 and was previously a senior software engineer at Intuit.

Mendonca will be Hiya’s first VP of engineering and lead the company’s engineering, QA, IT, and tech operations. Hiya also recently promoted Kush Parikh to president and added Jonah-Kai Hancock as head of digital demand generation.

— Former Tableau Senior Director of Product Management Ken Wong is now co-founder and chief product officer for startup DataJoy, which recently came out of stealth mode and announced a $6 million seed round.

Prior to Tableau, Wong, who is based in Vancouver, B.C., held roles at Microsoft and SAP. The new startup is currently entirely remote with co-founder and DataJoy CEO Jon Lee based in the Bay Area.

Shama Keskar. (Nickelytics Photo)

— Former Amazon Senior Engineering Leader Shama Keskar is now co-founder and CTO of Tampa, Fla.-based out-of-home advertising startup Nickelytics.

Based in Mercer Island, Wash., Keskar has experience with both startups and established tech giants including LinkedIn and Google.

“My background and experience with Google’s large complex ad systems position me to innovate in the OOH space and take it to the next level” said Keskar.

— University of Washington Allen School Professor Jeffrey Heer was elected to the CHI Academy, a lifetime research award presented by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction.

Heer, head of the UW Interactive Data Lab, focuses on computer-human interaction, social computing and data visualization. He joined the Allen School faculty in 2013.

— Former Microsoft and GitHub engineering leader Erica Joy Baker was named the first-ever chief technology officer for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Manoj Kalyanaraman (BitTitan Photo).

— Cloud services provider BitTitan promoted Manoj Kalyanaraman to VP of product and engineering. Kalyanaraman joined BitTitan in 2019 as a director of engineering and is based in the Bellevue, Wash.-based company’s Singapore office.

Prior to BitTitan, Kalyanaraman was CTO for hospitality company Next Story Group and was an engineering leader at Intuit.

— Bay Area drone startup Volansi appointed Mike Guerchon as SVP of people, based out of the company’s Bend, Ore. office which it opened last year.

Guerchon was previously a human resources executive at RealWear and Puppet. He is an investor with Oregon Venture Fund.

Volansi raised $50 million in September and moved some of its development, production, and testing work to Central Oregon soon after. The company is developing drones from long distance deliveries.

— Non-profit entrepreneurship group TiE Seattle named three new board members:

  • Dinesh Chahlia, a Google engineer leader and advisor with Google for Startups.
  • Kishor Panpaliya, head of North American business development for global telecommunications and cybersecurity software provider Enea AB.
  • Malay Verma, a former Wipro and Zensar Technologies executive.

Part of global non-profit The Indus Entrepreneurs, the TiE Seattle chapter launched in 2000. In addition to events and programming, TiE Seattle runs the Z5 Catalyst initiative to invest in early B2B startups in the region.