It takes talented people to grow a strong business. That’s why new hires, especially in key executive and leadership positions, are so important in the Austin tech startup community.
We track many of those hires, promotions and departures in the Austin Inno Beat newsletter, along with insights on how those personnel moves may impact a startup’s fortunes or an entire industry. Sign up for the Beat to get it each day in your inbox.
Now, here are the most important hires, promotions, departures and layoffs from August 2017.
TrendKite, a PR software startup, announced it appointed Prabhakar Gopalan as vice president of growth and revenue operations. Gopalan previously worked at IBM, Dell and Rackspace. TrendKite also announced it hired Kevin McKeown as senior vice president of worldwide sales. McKeown’s resume includes stints at Spiceworks and Motive.
Prologic Technology Systems, an edtech software company, hired Don Hutchings as vice president of strategic partnerships. Prologic, founded in 1992, makes software for the K-12 market.
WP Engine, a WordPress hosting startup, announced it appointed Lee McClendon to a the newly-created role of senior vice president of global engineering. McClendon was previously group vice president of engineering at SolarWinds in Austin.
Fasten, the Boston-based ride-hailing company operating in Austin, hired Joe Deshotel as its regional director of business development in Austin. Deshotel was previously director of community engagement at Ride Austin, the ride-hailing nonproft that emerged after Uber and Lyft stopped service in Austin last year. Before that, Deshotel was communications director for the Travis County Democratic Party. Fasten said it also plans to open new offices in East Austin in late fall.
SparkCognition, an AI security and predictive analytics startup, announced it hired former Department of Defense Chief of Staff Wendy Anderson as its new general manager of defense and national security. Anderson will join a staff that includes several former government officials. Prior to this, Anderson had several roles in government, including roles as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and chief of staff to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Anderson shares common background with SparkCognition board member General John R. Allen, the former commander of International Security Assistance Force and Special Envoy to the President Barack Obama for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. Both Anderson and Allen worked with former Defense Secretary Hagel.
Serenova, a contact center-as-a-service provider, hired Tom Schollmeyer as its new CEO. He was previously VP and GM of customer engagement, UC applications and cloud with Avaya, a California-based tech company. His resume also includes leadership roles at Five9, OneSource and eTelecare Global Solutions.
HotSchedules, a restaurant and hospitality tech company, named Nikki Hall as its chief human resources officer. Before joining HotSchedules, Hall was the chief human resources officer at TwentyEighty.
Shopgate, Inc., an e-commerce software startup, appointed Ken Aponte as vice president of customer success. Aponte was previously senior director at Personify. Prior to that, he was a management consultant with Diamond Management & Technology Consultants.
Capital Factory has named Mellie Price, a Capital Factory co-founder, as its director of diversity and inclusion.
NewChip, an online investment marketplace, announced Judd Hollas will be its chief operating officer. Hollas founded EquityNet.com in 2005 and served as its CTO and CEO for ten years.
Austin-based Algebraix Data, which uses applied mathematics for software development, announced it hired Robin Bloor as its chief strategy officer. Bloor is the founder of Bloor Research, a European IT research and consulting firm. Algebraix Data was founded in 2010.
Vast, a startup focused on retail automotive AI and big data, appointed former Kelley Blue Book President and CEO Paul Johnson to its board of directors. Founded in 2005 in California, Vast builds software to make the most of big data on the sale of vehicles. It moved to Austin in 2010.
Outdoor Voices, an Austin startup making fashionable athletic wear, appointed former J.Crew CEO and current chairman Mickey Drexler as Outdoor Voices’ chairman of the board. Drexler stepped down as CEO of J.Crew earlier this year to launch Drexler Ventures. His new VC firm led a $9 million investment in Outdoor Voices, bringing its total funding to $22.5 million.
Continuum Analytics, the Austin-based developer of Anaconda, appointed Mathew Lodge as its new senior vice president of product and marketing. Lodge was previously chief operating officer at Weaveworks. Before that, he was vice president of VMware‘s Cloud Services group.
Snap Kitchen will layoff 150 or more workers as part of a plan to shut down and re-purpose two of its kitchens in Austin and two in Houston. In all, 65 Austin employees are expected to be laid off by Oct. 1. Meanwhile, the company says its planning to open a 30K square-foot kitchen in Dallas with 200 employees that will prepare meals that are shipped out to other markets in the region. Snap doesn’t plan to close any of its retail stores.
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia, which bought Austin-based HomeAway in 2015, was named as the new CEO of Uber. Expedia appointed its CFO, Mark Okerstrom, as President and CEO to replace Khosrowshahi. Okerstrom has been with Expedia since 2006 and has been its CFO since 2011. Before that, he was a consultant with Bain & Company in Boston and San Francisco