Crelate CEO Aaron Elder. (Crelate Photo) In a startup environment where heavy funding, bold bets, and rapid growth are the norm, stands out for its modest, slow-and-steady approach. The recruiting software startup just raised $5.3 million from Five Elms, a venture capital firm in Kansas City, Mo. Crelate develops tools to help recruiting agencies manage their pipelines of talent and job opportunities. The four-year-old startup just crossed 900 customers. “There’s definitely different approaches to building a business,” said Crelate CEO Aaron Elder. “There’s the burn fast and either get really big or burnout. I’m operating more under the continuous improvement, high probability of success.” The new funding builds off of a $1.2 million round the company closed in early 2017. Crelate plans to grow its 21-person team and double down on sales with the fresh cash. “We see a lot of demand and need for our product,” Elder said. “The industry is growing and they have some very specialized needs.” Crelate is headquartered in Maryland but its engineering operation is in Kirkland, Wash. Elder, who is based at the Kirkland office, said he picked the Seattle suburb because “the tax climate is more friendly to business” and “it’s a little bit cheaper.” Crelate is that have set up outposts in the Seattle area to mine the region’s tech talent.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos prepares to unleash the robo-dragonfly. (Jeff Bezos via Instagram) Find someone who looks at you the way Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos looks at the robotic dragonfly that’s buzzing around his head at this week’s MARS conference. MARS is Amazon’s annual invitation-only event focusing on Machine learning, Automation, Robotics and Space. This year’s attendees range from researchers and entrepreneurs in all those fields to celebrities like “Star Wars” legend Mark Hamill and veteran astronauts including Mike Massimino and Story Musgrave. (Astronauts attend for free.) This week marks the fourth annual MARS gathering, which has now The first re:MARS conference is planned for June 4-7 in Las Vegas, with a $1,999 admission charge. Lots of weighty subjects are addressed at MARS, but Bezos says the most important metric for judging success is to “have some fun.” He certainly seems to follow that precept in the clip from last night that he shared on and . Earlier in the day, we got a peek at — but during the onstage event, Bezos and the bug dominated the spotlight. The scene has the potential to rank right up there with other MARS moments, such as , or 2017’s . Thank you , but bigger please…. I want to get on! — Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) In the workaday world, BionicOpter is meant to be used to provide sensor data continuously from the air, via a wireless connection. But at The Parker Resort in Palm Springs, the purpose appears to be purely to have some fun. Bezos released the BionicOpter to take a few spins around his head, and then the dragonfly’s keeper gracefully grabbed the dragonfly from the air. “You’re good at catching it,” Bezos said. “You’ve done that before.” Afterward, the billionaire registered one request: “Thank you @FestoAG, but bigger please…. I want to get on!” Bezos did get on a bigger flying machine during a MARS outing to the Palm Springs Air Museum. He sat in the single seat on Lift Aircraft’s Hexa ultralight passenger drone, which could show up in Seattle one of these days.. The myriad highlights from Monday’s MARS session make for another story as well. , featuring visual dispatches from Arizona State University planetary scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton. And check back on this report later in the day in case there are updates from today’s session.
Vikram Jandhyala. (UW Photo) After five years of leading the University of Washington’s innovation center, is stepping down. Jandhyala, executive director of , told GeekWire that he plans to depart this June. He’ll stay connected to the university and spend more time at the , the new U.S.-China joint technology innovation institute run by the UW and Tsinghua University in Beijing. Jandhyala became the university’s vice provost of innovation , taking over for Linden Rhodes after a 3-year stint leading the UW’s electrical engineering department. His title evolved into vice president of innovation strategy as Jandhyala led CoMotion, which helps startups through education and access to experts and funding sources. Originally started as the Center for Commercialization (C4C) at the UW’s main Seattle campus, CoMotion evolved a few years ago from a department that mainly helped commercialize ideas born at the university to what it now describes as a “collaborative innovation hub dedicated to expanding the economic and societal impact of the UW community.” Under the leadership of Jandhyala, the UW has ranked among the top 10 on for the past several years and cracked the top 10 of the Milken Institute national tech transfer rankings. CoMotion also helped open a makerspace on campus; created an Amazon Catalyst program; and launched the Mobility Innovation Center with Challenge Seattle. “These last five years have been amazing and I am really proud of the momentum and accomplishments made by the team at CoMotion,” said Jandhyala, who first joined the UW as an assistant professor in 2000 and founded his own startup in 2007. “They have produced a standout service for the community of UW innovators and built strong connections to the local and global innovation ecosystems.” Jandhyala is already the co-executive director at GIX, which recently , and will dedicate more time to the program after he leaves CoMotion in June. He’ll work closely with UW leadership to create a transition and succession plan for CoMotion.