Tech Moves: Vacasa names ex-OpenTable CEO to board; Pixvana brings on sales VP; and more

Matt Roberts. (Vacasa Photo)

— Vacation home rental company Vacasa added former OpenTable CEO Matt Roberts to its board of directors. Roberts led OpenTable through its IPO in 2009 and later served as CEO from 2011 to 2015. He is currently on the boards of digital advertising firm Quantcast and staffing platform Snag.

“The vacation rental industry is experiencing tremendous growth with the significant shift in consumer preference toward professionally managed homes,” Roberts said in a statement. “Vacasa is poised to become the leading brand in the space which is an exciting time to join the board.”

Portland, Ore.-based Vacasa raised $64 million last year and hinted at plans to go public.

Nicole Bunselmeyer. (Pixvana Photo)

— Seattle-based virtual reality startup Pixvana brought on Nicole Bunselmeyer as vice president of sales. Bunselmeyer previously worked in corporate training at Intrepid Learning and later VitalSource, where she was most recently senior account executive.

“Nicole is a veteran sales executive with a deep background in tech-based learning and corporate training programs,” said Pixvana CEO Forest Key. “She is going to play a pivotal role on our team, ingraining us within the enterprise learning space and serving as a trusted voice for product design and development.”

“Pixvana is re-imaging what modern enterprise learning looks like through VR,” Bunselmeyer said in a statement. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of this company and to help them introduce immersive employee training and learning to forward-thinking organizations.”

Tom Monahan. (ProKarma Photo)

— Portland, Ore.-based digital services company ProKarma added Tom Monahan to its board of directors as executive chairman. Monahan served as CEO of IT advisory firm CEB until its acquisition by Gartner in 2017. He is now a managing partner at Norton Street Capital and serves on the boards of Workforce Logiq, Winsight and TransUnion.

“Tom’s unparalleled expertise into building highly valuable enterprise companies will be a strategic asset to us as we target ongoing growth and preserve our unique culture,” ProKarma COO and co-founder Manish Mehta said in a statement. “His first-hand experience implementing approaches that enable innovation at scale will help strengthen and drive our transformation initiatives and growth.”

ProKarma recently acquired Gamma Partners, a marketing agency based in Bannockburn, Ill., and merged with Seattle-based customer experience firm Lenati.

— Satellite antenna startup Kymeta made two high-level appointments. S. Douglas Hutcheson was named executive chairman of the board of directors, and Walter Berger took on the roles of president, CFO and COO.

Hutcheson is a senior advisor to Searchlight Capital and serves on several boards. He was the CEO of Leap Wireless, which sold to ATT in 2013, and an executive with Qualcomm prior to that.

“The telecommunications industry has made major strides over the last 25 years, and I believe Kymeta is well positioned to deliver on the promise of mobile connectivity around the world,” Hutcheson said in a statement.

Berger came from medical device platform company Nuvectra, where he was COO and CFO. He also held leadership roles at AppDynamics, SoftLayer and Leap Wireless.

Earlier this month, Redmond, Wash.-based Kymeta struck up a partnership with Turkey’s Türksat telecommunications service to expand satellite data connectivity across a wide swath of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

John Jester. (Google Cloud Photo)

Google Cloud hired former Microsoft executive John Jester as vice president of customer experience.

Jester was most recently corporate vice president of worldwide customer success at Microsoft, where he worked for nearly 20 years.

At Google Cloud, John will lead three teams that are focused on professional services, customer support, and education and training. Jester will report to Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.

Field Cady. (Field Cady Photo)

— Seattle startup Algorithmia hired Field Cady as an algorithm engineer. Cady was most recently a data scientist at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) and has held data roles at MAANA, Think Big Analytics and Opera Solutions. Cady is also the author of The Data Science Handbook.

“Field has a unique combination of real-world data science experience, deep knowledge of theory, and an excellent ability to communicate his work. These skills are critical to the work we do, and I am excited to see the new models and features that we will build together,” Algorithmia CTO Kenny Daniel said in a statement.

Algorithmia, which helps companies implement machine learning algorithms, recently raised $25 million in a round led by Norwest Venture Partners.

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