12 of Colorado's top technology executive hires from 2021 – Denver Business Journal

Science & Technology

Covid-19 changed hiring plans for many, but that didn’t stop Colorado’s startup and technology scene from bringing on a new class of seasoned executives to lead it forward.
In 2021, we saw more than two dozen new CEOs join area companies and professional organizations in the educational technology, bioscience and security spaces. Many came with extensive experience from high-profile companies like Google, T-Mobile, Vimeo and Walmart.
As the year ends, we’ve listed 12 of the top executive hires from Colorado’s tech and startup ecosystem in 2021.
In January, there was a pretty big shakeup in Colorado’s tech ecosystem as Techstars announced that the company’s board of directors appointed Maëlle Gavet as CEO. Outgoing CEO and co-founder David Brown will continue to serve on the board. Techstars also announced that David Cohen, co-founder, will assume the new role of chairman of the board of directors.
Denver security operations startup Swimlane started 2021 with a substantial funding round and a new leader to guide the company forward. The $40 million funding round was led by EIP and was raised to accelerate the company’s partnerships and alliances, expand research and development and enable further global expansion. Swimlane has appointed James Brear as the company’s chief executive officer. Brear previously served as the CEO of Veriflow, which was sold to VMWare in August 2019.
Denver’s QRails, a cloud-based payment solutions startup, announced in January that Brian Brinkley has been appointed as CEO. The Google Wallet co-founder has been a key member of the QRails leadership team since 2019, previously serving as chief technology officer. Gerard Griffin, co-founder of QRails and CEO since 2019, will take on the role of chairman following this move. QRails raised an $8 million Series A round led by EFM Asset Management in March 2020 and has brought on $18 million to date.
In February, Angi, the Denver-based parent company to HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and other brands, announced that it has appointed a new CEO. Oisin Hanrahan, formerly the company’s chief product officer, took over for Brandon Ridenour as the company’s CEO. Ridenour stepped down from the CEO position, Angi said in a release.
Denver tech unicorn Ibotta announced in March that Sunit Patel joined the company as its new chief financial officer. Patel came to Ibotta after previously serving as executive VP, merger and integration, at T-Mobile, where he was responsible for leading T-Mobile’s integration with Sprint following the companies’ $26.5 billion merger. Patel also oversaw the 2017 merger for CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications.
More than a year after its $165 million acquisition, Denver technology education company Galvanize brought on a new top executive. The company announced in April that it appointed Ricky Hamilton as the new chief executive officer, as he took over for former CEO Harsh Patel. Patel, who stepped into the role in April 2019, is “raising a newborn and advising and investing in space, fintech, education and healthcare companies I believe in,” according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to being named CEO, Hamilton served as executive VP of revenue operations and as chief of staff to Patel. And, before Galvanize, Hamilton worked at global management company McKinsey & Company.
Health Scholars
Westminster-based Health Scholars, a provider of virtual reality clinical training for high-acuity care, announced that Scott Johnson joined the company as its new CEO in June. You’ll likely recognize Johnson’s name as he most recently served as the president and COO of Denver text-first virtual care startup CirrusMD.
Denver-based smart sprinkler startup Rachio named a new CEO with executive experience at Walmart and Home Depot in June. The news came as Rachio reported a record year of growth and sales in 2020, with customers saving 36 billion gallons of water. Kim Sentovich took over the top executive position, replacing co-founder Chris Klein. Klein remained with the company and shifted to the chief product officer role.
After successfully guiding video giant Vimeo for three years as CEO and putting the company on the path to its 2021 public debut, Dae Mellencamp joined the executive team at local same-day content startup Soona in July. Mellencamp was announced as Soona’s new chief operating officer and is tasked with overseeing the areas of the business that support the virtual shoot experience from the creative crews.
When ex-Zayo Group Holdings CEO Dan Caruso joined Boulder’s ColdQuanta as executive chairman and interim CEO in March, he did so with the intention of finding a permanent leader to bring the quantum computing startup through its next stages of growth. Nearly six months later, the company found that person in the form of CEO Scott Faris. Faris joined ColdQuanta after serving as chief business officer at Luminar Technologies, a publicly traded autonomous vehicle sensor company headquartered in Orlando, Florida. Faris served in the role for nearly five years, helping guide the company through its initial public offering in 2020.
Guild Education
Denver’s Guild Education in October announced Chris Garber as its new chief financial officer. The ed tech giant hired Garber from San Francisco-based data connectivity platform LiveRamp, where he was a senior vice president in charge of finance and operations. Guild said Garber will help the company build deeper partnerships with companies looking to upskill their workforce by emphasizing investment in human capital.
Colorado BioScience Association
The Colorado BioScience Association announced the appointment of Elyse Blazevich as the new president and CEO of the industry organization in October. Blazevich came to CBSA as the company she co-founded and led as chief financial officer and chief operating officer, Securisyn Medical, transitioned its leadership team to scale commercially. Securisyn is a medical device technology company that has developed breathing, smooth tube and catheter securement products.
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