Tech Moves: Former Amazon execs flock to startups, and Palmetto hires for new Seattle office

Prentis Wilson. (Boxed Photo)

He’s the former head of a $10 billion business retail unit at Amazon, and he’s one of several execs heading to competing startups. Prentis Wilson, who left his role leading Amazon Business last month, is the new president of wholesale e-commerce startup Boxed.

“Boxed is an innovative company that identified and capitalized on a real opportunity in the grocery space,” Wilson said in a statement. “I’m super excited to join Boxed, where I see massive potential for its end-to-end platform to deliver an industry-best shopping experience for customers, as well as unrivaled value for vendors.”

Boxed raised $111 million in August, bringing its total funding to $243 million. Prentis’ role is a new one for Boxed, and Wilson will report to co-founder and CEO Chieh Huang. CNBC first reported Wilson’s move.

Priya Abani. (AliveCor Photo)

— Former Amazon director Priya Abani is taking the reins at health tech startup AliveCor as CEO. The company makes a device and a smartphone app that measure a user’s heart rhythm to detect abnormalities.

Abani most recently worked on Amazon Alexa as a general manager and was a senior director at Intel prior to that. She told CNBC that the move into healthcare was spurred by the loss of a parent last year.

“I am honored to join AliveCor at this pivotal time where healthcare and AI are converging to give people more information and control of their cardiac care,” Abani said in a statement. “AliveCor team has not only built a trusted and globally known consumer business via their personal ECG devices, but they have also struck a chord with physicians and medical professionals by building a secure and powerful technology platform that is poised well for expansion and growth.”

Meredith Han. (SoundCommerce Photo)

— Operations data platform SoundCommerce hired Meredith Han as chief operating officer. Han was senior director of global ecommerce at Brooks Running and worked as a senior project manager at Amazon.

SoundCommerce helps direct-to-consumer brands “take a page from Amazon’s playbook” by improving their operations through data. The Seattle-based company recently raised $6.8 million.

“Upon first seeing [SoundCommerce’s] software, I immediately recognized the problem we are working to solve. Now I get to help build the operational nerve center I wish I had as an ecommerce leader — to help every brand deliver great customer experience and scale a profitable business,” Han said in a statement.

Nitin Agrawal. (Yuen Lui Studio Photo)

— Open-source mapping startup Mapbox hired ex-Amazon executive Nitin Agrawal as CFO. Agrawal most recently led finance for the compute-services division at Amazon Web Services. He was also a finance executive at Microsoft and an investment banker at Bear Stearns.

“Developers have love for Mapbox as a platform that understands their needs. I’m excited to build on my experience in the platform world and join a team that’s passionate about delivering for this community,” Agrawal told GeekWire in an email statement.

Mapbox, which provides data to the likes of Facebook, Tinder and Snapchat, has also set its sights on the mapping needs of self-driving cars. The startup is backed by SoftBank and has raised more than $200 million to date.

Cory Finnell. (Palmetto Photo)

Palmetto Clean Technologies, which operates a solar and energy efficiency marketplace for homeowners, is establishing a Seattle office and has hired Cory Finnell to open it. Finnell, who was brought on as Palmetto’s chief analytics officer, previously ran analytics at Churchill Downs and was CIO at Seattle-based gaming startup Big Fish Games. Churchill acquired Big Fish in 2014 and sold it off in 2017.

“After many years in the data-heavy gaming industry, I am looking forward to bringing my big data, executive, and entrepreneurial experience to the cleantech sector in our effort to help save the planet,” Finnell said in a statement.

Several clean tech startups based in Seattle have raised financing in recent months, including WattBuy, Omnidian and LevelTen Energy.

Palmetto also announced the hiring of Leon Keshishian as COO. Keshishian was an executive at Tesla Energy and SolarCity, as well as co-founder of Clean Currents.

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