Tech Moves: Isilon co-founder Sujal Patel joins Bay Area VC firm; Wrench adds Redfin exec to board

Sujal Patel
Sujal Patel. (GeekWire Photo)

Sujal Patel, a longtime Seattle-area investor and co-founder of Isilon Systems, has joined Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm Defy Partners as part of its “sage” program that offers a twist on the traditional venture partner model. TechCrunch reported that Defy gives investors such as Patel “a bigger piece in the upside at a fund and individual deal level.”

Neil Sequeira, previously a managing director at General Catalyst Partners, and Trae Vassallo, previously a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, launched Defy in 2016. The firm’s investments include companies such as Agentology, Airspace Technologies, Boom Fantasy, and Seattle-based Shujinko.

Patel told GeekWire that he joined Defy in part to get exposure to a set of early-stage startups in the Bay Area.

“I really like the Defy ‘sage’ program and I’m huge fans of Neil and Trae,” he added. Also joining Patel in the “sage” program is Brian Lee, co-founder of LegalZoom, ShoeDazzle, and The Honest Company.

Patel remains a strategic director at Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group and sits on the board of Madrona-backed Seattle cloud startup Qumulo.

Other companies in Patel’s portfolio include Seattle startups Amperity, Igneous, and a stealthy new company called Maka Autonomous Robotics Systems led by Patel’s Isilon co-founder Paul Mikesell. EMC acquired Isilon in 2010 for $2.25 billion — one of the largest acquisitions of a Seattle tech company.

Scott Nagel. (Wrench Photo)

Scott Nagel, Redfin president of real estate operations, is joining the board of directors at Wrench, a Seattle-based mobile car repair service. Nagel has spent more than a decade with Redfin and helped to guide the company through its IPO in 2017.

Wrench is a mobile platform that allows users to connect with local mechanics for on-demand car service and repairs. The startup raised $12 million last October to fuel its national expansion.

“I’ve been very impressed with the team, product and traction that Wrench has achieved in a short period of time,” Nagel said in a statement. “The company’s philosophy and approach to business are similar to the successful model we’ve built at Redfin and I look forward to contributing to their continued growth and success.”

Prior to Redfin, Nagel was a managing director at LexisNexis and worked at legal services software startup Applied Discovery.

“Scott Nagel is a home run addition to our board. Scott was instrumental in building an amazing business and world class team at Redfin and we see many parallels in the challenges they have solved in our space,” Wrench CEO Ed Petersen said.