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Tech Strikes: Techstars Seattle chief Isaac Kato steps down after main accelerator for 3 years

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Isaac Kato. (Techstars Photo)

Isaac Kato has stepped down as managing director of Techstars Seattle after leading the startup accelerator program for the past three years.

Kato told GeekWire he’ll be doing something “in the investment space,” but did not provide more details.

“Techstars Seattle remains the crown jewel of the global Techstars network, and I’m excited to remain an active member of this remarkable ecosystem,” he said.

Before joining Techstars, Kato was president at MightyAI, a Seattle startup that developed training data for computer vision models and was acquired by Uber in 2019.

Kato joined MightyAI in May 2018 after founding and leading London-based data center company Verne Global for nearly a decade. The Stanford and Harvard grad previously co-founded and sold Sven Technologies in the late 90s before stints at two investment firms.

Techstars expanded to Seattle in 2010, and since then more than 130 companies have gone through the program. They have collectively gone on to raise more than $2.5 billion in private capital. The 2011 class alone produced three unicorns.

Techstars also runs a new Filecoin Techstars Accelerator out of Seattle. The program aims to help companies using the IPFS/Filecoin blockchain-based storage network.

Other key personnel changes across the Pacific Northwest tech industry:

— Seattle-based Microsoft veteran Malli Vangala, who most recently led strategic initiatives for Microsoft 365, joined Information Resources Inc. (IRI) and The NPD Group (NPD) as chief strategy officer.

— Seattle startup Zeitworks, which helps companies improve business operations, hired former UiPath sales exec Mark Wright as vice president of sales and account management.

Lyell Immunopharma, which has offices in Seattle and Bothell, Wash., hired former Gristone bio exec Rahsaan Thompson as chief legal officer.

University of Washington’s Information School added Tableau Chief Data Officer Wendy Turner-Williams as an advisory board member.

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