Leadership

Babur Ozden

Babur Ozden
Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Donald Thompson

Donald Thompson
Founder, President &
Chief Operating Officer

Azita Martin

Azita Martin
Chief Marketing Officer

Allen Jones

Allen Jones
Chief Technology
Officer

Len Emmick
Chief Sales Officer

Roop Lakkaraju
Chief Financial Officer

Rob Povey
Chief Software Engineer

Steve Gustafson
Chief Scientist

Babur Ozden

Babur Ozden is founder and CEO of Maana, the Knowledge Platform that accelerates enterprise profitability. Maana is backed by Chevron Technology Ventures, ConocoPhillips Technology Ventures, Frost Data Capital, GE Ventures, Intel Capital, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, and Shell Technology Ventures. Babur served as the president of DataCert, the largest SaaS legal billing and payment provider in the world (acquired by Wolters Kluwer WLSNC:NA); and was the founder and CEO of Superonline, the largest Internet services provider in Turkey (acquired by Turkcell NYSE:TKC). Babur founded TurkishSpark, a non-profit ambition helping immigrant engineers to become American entrepreneurs. He holds an M.B.A. from Rice University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Donald Thompson

As founder, President and Chief Operating Officer, Donald Thompson leads Maana’s product vision, oversees technology and product management, and is responsible for building and delivering cutting-edge solutions to Maana’s customers, some of the world’s largest corporations. With over 25 years of experience delivering high-profile, large-scale software and services, Donald has worked closely with top executives at Fortune 30 companies to develop and implement computing strategy across an array of industries, including oil and gas, health care, finance, retail, and travel. Prior to Maana, Donald spent 15 years at Microsoft as director of engineering, architect, and development manager within multiple divisions. He founded Bing’s Knowledge and Reasoning Team (project Satori); was co-founder of project Arena, which shipped as the SQL Server 2012 Semantic Engine; created Microsoft’s first contextual ad delivery system, spanning multiple international data centers to deliver over 14 billion targeted ads daily and generating $700MM annual revenue. Donald also oversaw numerous incubations in Microsoft Research and Windows.

Prior to Microsoft, Donald was architect for a financial services startup, lead developer on a cellular billing system, and an independent consultant working on 3D graphics and physics engines for computer games.

Donald earned a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Oxford. He has authored several technical publications and holds an array of patents covering data, wireless, search, and other technologies.

Azita Martin

Azita Martin is Chief Marketing Officer of Maana, the Knowledge Platform that accelerates enterprise profitability. Azita brings a combination of big data expertise, combined with extensive marketing leadership experience at high-growth start-ups and category-creating public companies like Salesforce and Siebel.

Azita has global responsibility for scaling all aspects of Maana’s product and corporate marketing, including defining go-to-market strategy, driving thought leadership, increasing brand awareness and customer acquisition. Prior to joining Maana, Azita was Chief Marketing Officer of Datameer a big data analytics company.  Azita has built and led marketing teams for both fast-growing start-ups and major public companies, including Moxie Software, LiveOps, Salesforce, Siebel and SGI. Azita has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an MBA from University of Southern California.

Tara Prakriya

Tara Prakriya is Chief Product Officer at Maana. She spearheads product strategy and direction. Tara’s background includes 15 years at Microsoft, holding various roles, including: Partner General Manager of Technical Strategy reporting to the CTO; Product Unit Manager of the Tablet PC Group in Windows; and Product Unit Manager of the advertising and content management teams in MSN; and the Group Program Manager for iDSS, the first large scale data warehouse for consumer web activity for the worldwide MSN and MSNBC networks. Prior to Microsoft she worked in financial data warehousing at Merck. Post Microsoft she was Senior Vice President of Product Management at Scantron. Tara earned an M.B.A. in Finance and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Science. She holds multiple patents related to web advertising, data, digital ink, and other technologies.

Darrell Blegen

As vice president of customer solutions at Maana, Darrell Blegen oversees the success of each and every customer deployment. With more than 20 years’ experience as a product visionary and team builder, Darrell has worked in Fortune 50 companies and start-ups alike, advancing initiatives in program management, strategic business planning, product development, product management, and leadership. Prior to joining Maana, Darrell served in a number of leadership roles at Microsoft Corporation where he shipped over a dozen innovative products, from custom application development for Fortune 50 enterprises to mobile services and a smart watch. Before Microsoft, Darrell held an executive position at an Internet start-up and was a technical leader at the Boeing Company, where he created a shop floor automation system for their New Airplane Program.

Darrell earned a Master of Science in Software Engineering from Seattle University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Washington. He holds a Project Management Professional certification from PMI, and is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals. He has authored several papers and a textbook on artificial intelligence, and is named on more than a dozen patents issued and pending.

Rob Povey

Rob Povey is chief software engineer at Maana in charge of software development across the company’s product line. Rob’s broad experience, spanning from video games through search and knowledge representations, gives him a unique perspective in guiding Maana’s evolution. Prior to joining Maana in 2013, Rob worked at Sony Computer Entertainment where he was a principle engineer with the Worldwide Studios Tools and Technology Group during the development and launch of PlayStation 4. Before joining Sony, Rob worked at Microsoft, initially joining the CTO’s office before moving to the SQL Server Team where he was the development manager on semantic search, and later a founding member of Bing’s Knowledge and Reasoning Team (project Satori). Previously, Rob spent 20 years in the video games industry in both management and individual contributor roles, working on titles such as Spore, The Sims, The Godfather, and The Lion King.

Rob holds a Bachelor of Science with honors in Computer Science from the University of York.

Allen Jones

As Chief Technology Officer, Allen Jones leads platform architecture, manages software engineering and ensures product quality standards. With 25 years of experience, Allen has held a number of senior technical leadership, strategy, architecture, and incubation roles, serving a range of multinational organizations as well as technology start-ups in sectors such as banking, oil and gas, corporate strategy, and personalization. Previously, Allen founded Microsoft’s Personal Cloud Project as a joint incubation project between Microsoft Research and the Online Services Division (Bing). He also worked at Microsoft Fuse Labs where he led the development of solutions that blend human, computational, and social intelligence.

Prior to Microsoft, Allen co-founded QuantumBlack, a creative data science agency that merges data analytics, visualization, and strategy to help clients use data to make timely and insightful business decisions. He was also the director of development and chief architect at SmithBayes, a joint venture with McLaren F1 Racing Group that leveraged Formula 1 race strategy software to create a platform for agile strategic decision-making in large enterprises.

Allen holds a Master of Science with honors in Software Engineering from the University of Oxford. He is also the author of ten books covering .NET and Java software development.

As Chief Sales Officer, Len leads sales efforts globally to establish Maana – the Knowledge Platform that accelerates enterprise profitability.

Len is an accomplished software industry executive whose teams have delivered hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Most recently, Len served as SVP of the Americas at Pentaho (a leader in the big data analytics space) where his team delivered hyper-growth every year resulting in the 2015 acquisition by Hitachi for 10X+ multiple. Before Pentaho, Len was EVP Worldwide Sales at Cloudmeter (a pioneer in real-time digital data integration acquired by Splunk), Chief Revenue Officer at iPerceptions (a global leader in Behavioral Analytics) and SVP Sales at Air2Web (a global leader in mobile application development and messaging platform acquired by Velti).

Prior to his sales career, Len worked as a software engineer at AT&T Bell Labs and applications engineer at a partner firm of IBM’s Industrial Sector Division.

Len earned a Bachelor’s of Mathematics degree from the University of South Florida, achieving Dean’s List honors.

Roop Lakkaraju is the Chief Financial Officer of Maana. He brings more than 20 years of technology industry experience working for private and public companies in finance and operations roles. Most recently, Roop was the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Support.com (NASDAQ:SPRT), a leading provider of cloud-based software and services for support interaction optimization. Prior to Support.com, he was Chief Financial Officer of Quantros, a private equity backed provider of enterprise SaaS-based solutions that advance healthcare quality and safety performance. Previously, Roop was Chief Financial Officer of 2Wire until being acquired by Pace, plc. He has held various roles at Solectron (NYSE:SLR) including Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer prior to its acquisition by Flextronics. Roop is a CPA and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from San Jose State University. He sits on the Board of YMCA of Silicon Valley and is on the Global Leadership Council for the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business at San Jose State University.

Rob Povey is chief software engineer at Maana in charge of software development across the company’s product line. Rob’s depth of experience in software development, spanning from video games to search and knowledge representations, gives him a unique perspective in guiding Maana’s evolution. Prior to joining Maana in 2013, Rob worked at Sony Computer Entertainment where he was a principle engineer with the world wide studios, tools and technology group during the development and launch of PlayStation 4.Before joining Sony, Rob worked at Microsoft, initially joining the CTO’s office before moving to the SQL Server team where he was the development manager on semantic search, and later a founding member of Bing’s knowledge and reasoning team (project Satori). Previously, Rob spent 20 years in the video games industry in both management and individual contributor roles, working on titles such as Spore, The Sims, The Godfather and The Lion King.

Steven Gustafson is Chief Scientist overseeing research and data science at Maana. Previously, he spent over 10 years at General Electric’s Global Research Center in New York, developing novel solutions for massive-scale, click-stream log mining for media and industrial equipment businesses, open source intelligence, and network analysis for the intelligence communities; and knowledge-driven data and analytical solutions across the finance, healthcare, and industrial sectors. Steven drove several company-wide strategies for Big Data, Semantics, and most recently Artificial Intelligence. He founded the Knowledge Discovery Lab at GE and co-founded the journal of Memetic Computing, where he was the Technical Editor-in-Chief. Steven has chaired conferences and program committees, and serves on several editorial boards. Steven is a former winner of the IEEE Intelligent System’s “AI’s 10 to Watch” award, holds over 10 patents, and has authored more than 40 peer reviewed articles.

 

Steven earned a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Nottingham, UK, and was a research fellow in the Automated Scheduling, Optimization and Planning Research Group.  He received his BS and MS in Computer Science from Kansas State University, and served as research assistant in the Knowledge Discovery in Databases Laboratory.