Today in key hires: TribalScale adds head of data sciences, BlueRock Therapeutics appoints new CEO and CTO


Two Toronto-based startups announced major additions to their team. BetaKit pulled together this roundup to give you the latest on these company developments.

TribalScale appoints Geoffrey Hunter as head of data sciences, Jane Motz Hayes as director of design

Toronto-based product and design shop TribalScale announced that Geoffrey Hunter has been appointed as the company’s head of data sciences, and Jane Motz Hayes has been appointed as director of design.

Hunter, who will lead TribalScale’s AI and data science offering, is a data scientist and applied mathematician with experience in deep learning, robotic process automation, and cognitive technologies. He has previously conducted analytics projects and applied machine learning methods at Deloitte Canada and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

“Businesses are making massive investments in digital and AI, yet the rapid pace of innovation makes it difficult for them to know how to leverage these technologies to resolve business problems,” said Hunter. “I see an opportunity to enhance TribalScale’s offering with deep learning and AI to make digital products smarter and more engaging for customers.”

Hayes previously served as a strategist, coach, and UX designer at several companies including K2 Digital and WebFeat Multimedia. As TribalScale’s director of design, Hayes will be responsible for providing innovative design services for the company’s clients. TribcalScale said Hayes will also guide the strategic direction of the company’s design practice and help with scaling its team.

“We’re positioned to employ our unique design thinking methodology with our engineering, and product management services to offer true digital transformation services,” said Hayes. “I’m thrilled to lead a team of dedicated, craft-focused practitioners with full stack design expertise spanning user research through UX to visual design.”

In February, TribalScale was added to Amazon’s list of Alexa Skill builders. TribalScale is also among the 14 companies that pledged to the Upside Foundation at #BetaKit150.

BlueRock Therapeutics appoints Emile Nuwaysir as president and CEO, Robert Deans as CTO, and Eric Soller as VP of corporate development and strategy

BlueRock Therapeutics, which is developing cell therapies for degenerative diseases, has announced the addition of three new members to its executive team.

The trio of hires includes Emile Nuwaysir, who has been appointed as president and CEO; Robert Deans, who has been appointed as chief technology officer (CTO); and Eric Soller, who has been appointed as VP of corporate development and strategy.

Nuwaysir previously served as president and COO of Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), where he supported CDI’s growth and its stem cell therapy efforts. Before that, Nuwaysir served as VP of business development and group leader of molecular research and development at NimbleGen Systems. BlueRock said Nuwaysir played a key role in scaling both these companies and guiding them to their exits. CDI was acquired by Fujifilm Holdings for $307 million in 2015, while NimbleGen Systems was acquired by Roche Diagnostics for $273 million.

“I am honoured to join the growing team at BlueRock in its mission to dramatically improve the quality of life for patients with degenerative disease,” said Nuwaysir. “Our new generation of medicines have the potential to effectively reverse disease, and to repair the body when it cannot repair itself.”

Deans previously served as the chief strategy officer of Rubius Therapeutics, where he was responsible for developing a gene-engineered red cell therapeutics platform. Before that, he was an EVP at Athersys, where he helped move numerous adult adherent stem cell therapeutics into late-stage clinical development. As Blue Rock Therapeutics’ CTO, Deans will be responsible for implementing the company’s new induced pluripotent stem cell production platform.

BlueRock Therapeutics’ third hire, Soller, led the company’s launch as an entrepreneur-in-residence at healthcare investment firm Versant Ventures. Prior to joining Versant in 2016, Soller was a junior partner at McKinsey & Company’s New York office.

“With BlueRock’s seasoned executive team, world-class scientific collaborations and the support of one of the largest Series A financings in biotech history, BlueRock is positioned to aggressively pursue the development of its novel induced pluripotent stem cell therapeutics platform,” said Jerel Davis, a managing director of Versant Ventures and a BlueRock board member.

In December 2016, Versant and Bayer AG launched BlueRock Therapeutics with a $225 million Series A investment.

Disclosure: TribalScale is the proud sponsor of BetaKit’s Ask an Investor series.


Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.

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