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Former Zipcar exec Doug Williams joins RunKeeper's team, as new VP of engineering

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 21, 2012 09:00 AM

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RunKeeper's Jason Jacobs has an edge over many startup founders: he used to work as a recruiter. So when talented people are looking for their next gig, his grapevine tends to tell him about it.

That's how Jacobs connected with Doug Williams, right, who'd served as VP of engineering and IT at Cambridge-based Zipcar for six years, as the car-sharing network grew from a startup into a public company, and the engineering team there grew from three people to more than 40.

"My old boss at [executive recruiting firm] Howard Fischer Associates, Jeff DiSandro, introduced him to me as simply a 'good guy to know,'" Jacobs writes via e-mail. "We immediately hit it off." Williams left Zipcar in May, and was spending some time at the Waltham VC firm Matrix Partners considering his next move. While Jacobs says he didn't have a specific search going on for a head of engineering at RunKeeper, "We were starting to think about bringing in some foundational leadership to go build a big, enduring company, and to keep up with our aggressive growth. We also share a common investor with Zipcar in Steve Case's Revolution Ventures (Steve is on the Zipcar board)."

Williams joined RunKeeper this week as its VP of engineering. The Boston company says 12 million people now use its mobile app and web site to set fitness goals and track their progress. That number has almost doubled over the past year, Jacobs says.

I last covered RunKeeper in November of 2011, when the company raised $10 million.

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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