Tech Moves: ReplyYes adds to executive team; Juno announces new leaders; and more


Trevor Inman. (ReplyYes Photo)

ReplyYes, a fast-growing, chat-based commerce startup, announced three additions to the company’s executive board this week: former Zulily engineer Trevor Inman, former Qumulo exec Brett Goodwin, and Blackberry and Warner Music vet Marie Sheel.

It’s another sign of the company’s laser-fast growth. Since it spun out of Madrona Venture Labs last year, ReplyYes has raised $6.5 million and is now in the running for GeekWire’s Startup of the Year award.

Inman will take over the role of chief technology officer, overseeing the technical direction and strategy of the company. He has been with ReplyYes for over a year, before which he served as a principal engineer in Zulily’s personalization group.

Goodwin will serve as the VP for platform strategy and products, leading ReplyYes’ commerce messaging platform. He has formerly served in executive marketing roles at Isilon systems, Qumulo and Skytap.

Marie Sheel. (ReplyYes Photo)

Sheel will serve as the company’s VP of Operations, overseeing strategic business planning and day-to-day operations. She has been with ReplyYes for just under a year and formerly held e-commerce leadership positions at Blackberry, Warner Music Group and Scholastic.

“These strong additions to our executive management team expand our capacity for growth, enabling ReplyYes to do more of what we’re passionate about: helping people discover and purchase items from the brands and artists they love using their mobile phones,” ReplyYes CEO Dave Cotter said in a press release. “With the recent announcements regarding our Series A funding and partnership with Universal Music Group, 2017 is off to a fast and exciting start for ReplyYes. I am thrilled to work with a team of people so talented and committed to ushering in the next generation of e-commerce over mobile messaging.”

Sunil Agarwal. (Juno Photo)

— Biotech company Juno Therapeutics announced two leadership additions this week: former Genentech VP Sunil Agarwal has joined the company as its first president of research and development, while pharmaceutical vet Rupert Vessey has joined Juno’s board of directors.

Both additions speak to Juno’s renewed focus on research and development. The company scrapped its lead drug candidate in March after its clinical trial had twice been suspended due to patient deaths.

Agarwal will now oversee the company’s R&D efforts and its drug pipeline, splitting his time between Juno’s Seattle headquarters and a new office planned in the San Francisco area. He most recently served as the chief medical officer and EVP at biotech company Ultragenyx and formerly held several executive positions at Genentech, a biotechnology subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Roche.

Rupert Vessey. (Juno Photo)

“Engineered cell and gene therapies have the potential to transform the landscape of medicine over the coming decade, and Juno is well positioned to be a leader in this era. I am delighted to join Juno at this exciting time for the company, and I look forward to partnering with the team on executing Juno’s vision,” Agarwal said in a press release.

Vessey has extensive experience as a pharmaceutical executive, and currently serves as the president of research and development at Celgene. Before joining Celgene, he served as the SVP of early development and discovery sciences at Merk and he previously spent four years in drug discovery leadership at GlaxoSmithKline.

“I believe engineered cell therapy will play an increasingly important role in our industry’s future, and I am excited to join Juno’s Board of Directors,” Vessey said in a press release. “Celgene and Juno intend to lead this field and bring these potentially transformative therapies to patients around the world. I look forward to working with management and the rest of the board to advance the pipeline and achieve these goals.”

John Aitchison. (CIDR Photo)

— The Center for Infectious Disease Research announced Thursday that the organization’s chief science officer, John Aitchison, was appointed to serve as its next president.

Aitchison replaces Kenneth Stuart, who founded the institution as the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute in 1976 and had been serving as interim president. He will continue to lead his lab there.

Aitchison joined CIDR in 2011 and has served as its chief science officer and head of the Aitchison lab. He previously spent 13 years as a professor at Lee Hood’s Institute for Systems Biology, later serving as the ISB’s executive director for integrative biology.

“I am honored by the board’s confidence in my leadership and vision, and for the opportunity to continue working alongside outstanding and dedicated colleagues at CIDResearch,” Aitchison said in the release. “Our mission has never been more critical — but the technologies available to us today enable brand new approaches, never before possible. I am sure these methods will lead to breakthroughs that will save lives, relieve suffering, strengthen societies and expand economies across the globe.”

Jessica Nguyen. (PayScale Photo)

— PayScale, a fast-growing startup that offers online salary comparison services, announced the addition of Jessica Nguyen as the company’s first senior counsel.

Nguyen will build and manage the startup’s legal department as it continues to grow. She comes to PayScale from Microsoft, where she spent almost four years as an attorney in the company’s Office legal team, and has formerly held positions at tax compliance software startup Avalara and digital marketing startup Hibu.

Paul Maritz. (LinkedIn Photo)

— Former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz has joined New York-based equity investing firm Warburg Pincus as an industry advisor.

Maritz served as an SVP at Microsoft during the company’s early years, from 1986 to 2000. He now serves as the chairman for software company Pivotal, which he founded in 2013 and led as CEO until 2015.

“We are thrilled to be working with Paul again,” Warburg Pincus managing director Cary Davis said in a press release. “Paul was an advisor to Warburg Pincus 15 years ago, and then we jointly financed Paul’s vision for [Pivotal]. Machine learning is the next frontier in computing, and we hope to make several investments together.”

Maritz will also be advising Warburg Pincus more broadly on software investments.

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