Amazon.com Veteran Darren Vengroff Joins RichRelevance as Chief Scientist
RichRelevance continues to attract the best technical and eCommerce talent to execute on its vision of next-generation personalization, recommendations and merchandising
San Francisco – October 15, 2008 – RichRelevance™, the leader in next-generation personalized recommendations that enhance the shopping experience and drive sales, today announced that renowned computer scientist and technology industry veteran Darren Vengroff has joined the company as Chief Scientist. Vengroff, who drove several high-profile personalization, navigation and targeting innovations as Principal Engineer at Amazon.com, will lead RichRelevance’s technical strategy and development as the company continues to advance the state-of-the-art in online personalization and merchandising.
Vengroff’s appointment comes at a time of rapid growth for RichRelevance, as the world’s largest retailers embrace its personalized recommendations platform to enhance the customer experience and boost sales. The company recently raised a round of funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and has more than doubled its staff in the last six months. In June, RichRelevance welcomed former PayPal executive Todd Pearson as Chief Customer Officer.
“We’re thrilled to welcome an executive of Darren’s caliber and experience to RichRelevance, as we continue to build a team that is laser focused on the needs and goals of large retailers,” said David Selinger, CEO of RichRelevance. “As we’ve grown, we’ve consistently added the best talent from companies such as Amazon.com, eBay and Overstock to help us in our quest to provide retailers with a recommendations platform that delivers the highest sales lift in the industry. With his background at Amazon.com, Darren clearly understands that retailers need every weapon they can get their hands on to stay ahead of the competition – and he has the technological know-how to deliver products that help retailers succeed.”
Vengroff, who was recently named a Top 25 Innovator & Entrepreneur by Seattle Business Monthly Magazine, has spent his career building world-class computer systems. As Chief Scientist of RichRelevance, Vengroff will be responsible for all of the company’s analytical and machine learning development – from high-level strategy and analytics, to strategic implementation plans. He will also work closely with RichRelevance CEO and Amazon.com veteran David Selinger to develop new methodologies that increase sales and enhance brand loyalty for retailers.
“Personalization technology has been around for over a decade, but RichRelevance is the first company to finally deliver on the promise of a personalized shopping experience to all,” said Vengroff. “This speaks to the power of the technology – and to the strength of the executive bench. I’m excited to join David and the rest of the top-notch team to make the RichRelevance platform even more indispensable to retailers, especially as they brace for a challenging economic period.”
Prior to joining RichRelevance, Vengroff was CTO and co-founder of Pelago, where he launched Whrrl, a breakthrough location-based mobile social networking application. Before Pelago, he served as Principal Engineer at Amazon.com with responsibilities in personalization, automated email targeting, time-series analysis, content platform architecture, attribute-based navigation, search, and deployment systems for the eCommerce giant.
Prior to Amazon.com, Vengroff spent six years at Goldman Sachs. As a vice president, he was responsible for developing and managing trading and risk management systems that priced billions of dollars of derivative products for the fixed income, currency and commodity businesses. Earlier in his career, Vengroff built the first microprocessor simulator capable of booting and running a commercial operating system under load. Vengroff holds an Sc.M. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brown University, where he studied I/O-efficient algorithms with Jeff Vitter, and a B.S.E. in Computer Science with Highest Honors from Princeton University.
RichRelevance is the market and technology leader in next-generation personalized recommendations for leading eCommerce sites, including Sears.com. Founded by the former head of Amazon’s Personalization R&D team, the company’s products increase sales by 10-30% by personalizing the shopping experience through targeted merchandising. The RichRelevance recommendations platform outperforms popular collaborative filtering-based solutions through the use of more than 15 recommendation types, cross-placement optimization, and a closed-feedback loop. The SaaS-based offering is easily integrated, and empowers merchandisers through a robust, patent-pending suite of dashboard controls. The company is privately held and headquartered in San Francisco, California.