Tech Moves: Starbucks tech leader departs; former T-Mobile exec joins Ossia board; and more – GeekWire

  • by
Wouleta Ayele. (Sweetgreen Photo)

— Starbucks Senior Vice President of Technology Wouleta Ayele has departed the Seattle coffee retailer to join California fast-casual restaurant chain Sweetgreen as CTO.

Sweetgreen applies technology to manage its supply chain, restaurant operations, internal operations and its customer-facing app.

Ayele spent almost 16 years at Starbucks in a variety of technology roles. She previously spent more than a decade leading IT teams at Seattle software company Attachmate.

“The way that they [Sweetgreen] approach the intersection of food and tech is unlike any other restaurant brand out there,” said Wouleta in a press release.

Fellow Starbucks executive Cliff Burrows joined Sweetgreen’s board of directors in 2020. He is currently on an extended leave from Starbucks which began in 2019, according to the Seattle Times.

Valued at more than $1 billion, Sweetgreen filed to go public in June. In a 2016 Fast Company article, co-founder Nathaniel Ru described the company as “the Starbucks of salads.”

Michael Morgan (left) and Preston Woo. (Ossia Photos)

— Wireless charging technology company Ossia announced that former T-Mobile executive Michael Morgan and former Ossia Chief Strategy Officer Preston Woo will join the startup’s board effective this month.

Morgan, who is currently president of private investment firm Camlo Hill Capital, spent almost 15 years at telecommunications giant T-Mobile. He was most recently SVP and chief accounting officer. He also led T-Mobile’s financial services subsidiaries.

Woo, who left Ossia full-time earlier this year, is currently chief strategy officer at Salt Lake City avatar startup Tafi. Prior to joining Ossia, he was CFO at Sarcos Robotics. He previously held roles at Intellectual Ventures and Vulcan Capital.

Chris Garvey. (2nd Watch Photo)

— Seattle cloud services company 2nd Watch promoted Chris Garvey to chief operating officer. Garvey joined 2nd Watch in 2017 and was most recently EVP of cloud services.

Prior to 2nd Watch, Garvey was managing director of Luxoft Digital and previously VP of Expedia’s enterprise analytics platform.

Founded in 2010, 2nd Watch is headquartered in Seattle with four other U.S. office locations. Singapore-based investor ST Telemedia acquired a majority stake in the company in 2019.

— Seattle agtech startup iUNU named former MicroVision president and CEO Alex Tokman as president and Dennis Riling as VP of sales and marketing.

As president, Tokman will be responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations. He was previously an advisor to the company and spent time as a CEO-in-residence at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Based in Tampa, Fla., Riling was most recently VP of business development at FarmVisionAI, also in the agtech space. He also previously founded his own startup VEG-E Systems.

Founded in 2013, iUNU’s technology uses computer vision in commercial greenhouses. The company recently acquired pest management company CropWalk and is in the process of scaling LUNA, its AI platform.

— Event marketing startup Banzai appointed Simon Baumer as chief technology officer. He was most recently an engineering leader at Germany-based Verivox.

Based in Seattle, Banzai was founded by former Avalara employees and in March raised $15 million. During the pandemic, the startup has focused on its virtual events marketing solution.

Michelle Newbery (left) and Karthik Sivakumar. (Babylist Photos)

— Oakland, Calif.-based Babylist added two Seattle-area executives: Michelle Newbery as CFO and Karthik Sivakumar as SVP of supply chain.

Newbery was most recently president at online meat marketplace Crowd Cow. She previously served as Crowd Cow’s CFO and was a financial executive at Lowe’s subsidiaries.

Sivakumar was most recently vice president of operations and product management at Seattle startup Pro.com. He previously worked at Nordstrom, Expedia Group and Amazon.

Founded in 2011, Babylist an e-commerce and content platform for parents.

— Visus Therapeutics, a Seattle pharmaceutical company that has raised $56 million so far this year, appointed former Bausch + Lomb SVP Tracy Valorie and Revance Therapeutics SVP and General Counsel Dwight Moxie to its board of directors.

Founded by Ben Bergo and Rhett Schiffman, Visus Therapeutics is developing treatments for eye health. Its flagship product BRIMOCHOL, an eye-drop that aims to treat presbyopia, is in Phase II clinical trials. Presbyopia is a common, age-related loss of near vision.

Belinda Nieves. (WTIA Photo)

— The Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) hired Belinda Nieves as vice president of human resources.

Nieves was most recently an HR business partner at publisher Ingram Content Group. She is based in Nashville, Tenn.

— Vancouver, B.C. landing page builder Unbounce named Greg Dos Santos as CFO. He was previously CFO at marketing analytics company Cardinal Path.

Unbounce’s platform provides a drag-and-drop builder, AI copywriting and conversion analytics for marketers. Founded in 2009, the company currently has more than 200 employees.