Tech Moves: Amplero founder tapped to lead Zillow AI efforts; Tesla names new chair to take over from Musk

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Amplero founder Olly Downs is now at Zillow. (Amplero Photo)

—Olly Downs, who previously founded AI-powered marketing startup Amplero, has joined Zillow Group as the company’s new senior director of artificial intelligence. In the new role, Downs leaded “AI-focused applied science and engineering at Zillow driving home valuation and marketing technology,” Downs writes in his LinkedIn profile.

Earlier this year, Downs transitioned from Amplero’s CEO to chief scientist, handing the reins to Jamie Miller, a former executive at thePlatform. The hire comes the same week that Zillow tapped former Amazon executive Allen Parker as chief financial officer.

We’ve reached out to Zillow for comment, and we will update this post as we learn more. Downs will report to Vice President of Artificial Intelligence Jasjeet Thind, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Robyn Denholm

Robyn Denholm is taking over as the chair of Tesla, filling a spot that CEO Elon Musk is leaving under the terms of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Denholm, who has been one of Tesla’s independent directors since 2014, will take on the chair role on Nov. 13. She’ll step down from her current post as chief financial officer of the Australian telecom company Telstra after a six-month transition period.

“I believe in this company, I believe in its mission and I look forward to helping Elon and the Tesla team achieve sustainable profitability and drive long-term shareholder value,”  said Denholm in a release.

Musk agreed to give up his title as Tesla’s chair, while retaining the CEO title, to settle a securities fraud lawsuit sparked by his controversial comments about a plan to take the company private.

The plan fizzled, but Musk’s “funding secured” comment fueled wild ups and downs in Tesla’s share price. The SEC settlement also forced Musk and Tesla to pay a pair of $20 million fines.

Shelly Farnham. (Photo via LinkedIn)

— Communications and user experience researcher Shelly Farnham has joined Google’s Seattle office to as a senior UX researcher, according to her LinkedIn Page. Farnham says she is working on a “new, internal collaborative technology” for the company.

GeekWire has reached out to Google for comment on Farnham’s new role and her work with the company. We will update this post when we hear back.

Farnham has led groups at Microsoft and Yahoo, with an emphasis on researching socio-technical changes and communications. She was most recently the executive director and principal research scientist for Third Place Technologies, a non-profit startup she founded to “foster civic and learning community empowerment and well-being through innovation in technology.”

Farnham said her role at Google is a contract one, via contract talent agency Zenith Talent.

Amy Nelson, CEO of The Riveter, speaks at a a live taping of the GeekWire podcast. (GeekWire photo / Kevin Lisota)

Amy Nelson, the co-founder and CEO of The Riveter, a co-working space designed and built with women in mind, said that she’s joined XFactor Ventures as an investment partner.

She will continue in her day-to-day role at The Riveter, but wrote on Facebook that she’s excited about the new opportunity. XFactor invested in The Riveter — which raised $4.75 million earlier this year and recently opened new locations in Bellevue and L.A. — in the early-stages, and the firm specializes in backing female founders.

“They have been incredible team members and I cannot wait to join them in their incredibly important work in investing in — and making a difference for —  the next generation of female founders,” she wrote.

More Tech Moves here.


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