Microsoft hires DeepMind co-founder as CEO of AI | Jama to be acquired for $1.2B



The five finalists for Startup CEO of the Year at the GeekWire Awards are leading companies with big ambitions to improve food quality, develop better therapeutics, address mental health needs, and speed up cross-border e-commerce. Read more about the finalists; cast your vote; and grab a table before early bird sales end later this month. Above: The finalists, clockwise from top left: SEngine Precision CEO Carla Grandori; Joon Care CEO Emily Pesce; FlavorCloud CEO Rathna Sharad; AltPep CEO Valerie Daggett; and Strella Biotechnology CEO Katherine Sizov.

Microsoft makes key AI hire: The Redmond tech giant is bringing on Mustafa Suleyman, the co-founder of DeepMind and a former Google vice president of artificial intelligence, to lead a new organization called Microsoft AI. Read more.

Big exit for Portland’s Jama Software: The company, which makes a product development platform, has agreed to be acquired by Francisco Partners for $1.2 billion. Read more.

Lessons from a startup shutdown: Round raised $12 million two years ago to supercharge its platform that helped tech leaders connect with one another. Last week, the Seattle-based company said it was closing. We spoke with CEO Ryan Fuller about the risks of taking venture capital, and the difficulty of building a community-based business. Read more.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s desire to convert some downtown office space to residential use could be aided by exemptions to traditional processes, such as design review. But will the result be a friend or foe to the city’s livability? Urbanism consultant and author Chuck Wolfe offers his take. 

Hot Links:

  • The CEOs of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft touted their expanded AI partnerships with NVIDIA. (Amazon; Microsoft)

  • YouTube sensation MrBeast has a new deal with Amazon’s Prime Video in which he’ll give away a whopping $5 million in a reality show called “Beast Games.” (Variety)

  • AMC Theaters is partnering with Zoom to create “Zoom Rooms at AMC” as a way to boost business meetings and hybrid events, including in Seattle. (AMC)

  • AI is allegedly being used to help landlords collude to keep rent prices high in Seattle and other cities. (KUOW)

  • Microsoft (No. 3) and Steve Ballmer’s USAFacts (No. 13) made the top 50 on a new list of Most Innovative Companies. (Fast Company)

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