Pondera Solutions has added a seventh member to its board of directors — a longtime business executive who's also a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
Michael Xenakis is the new board member. He's a Bay Area-based business executive who also serves on another corporate board and as a corporate adviser.
"Mike's background stands on its own," Pondera President Greg Loos told Techwire. "He's bringing sophistication and rigor to our fast-growing company."
Loos said Xenakis was brought on with three goals:
"He'll help oversee the growth of the product while keeping it easy to use. He's advising us on tech changes and release schedules. And he'll help us implement processes that streamline the interface between Research & Development and Product Development.
"It's amazing how important and dynamic that balance is."
Xenakis' appointment brings the Pondera board membership to seven. He is the third independent director to join the board, following the elections of Harvard professor and noted author Dr. Malcolm Sparrow and longtime technology sector CEO Michael Borman.
"In addition to serving on Pondera’s Board of Directors, Xenakis will also chair Pondera’s newly formed Product and Technology Committee. In this role, Xenakis will oversee the growth and progression of Pondera’s core products and technology organization and architecture. This includes helping the company refine the processes to maintain effective product and technology roadmaps while also ensuring an effective user experience," says a company news release.
Before his academic career, Xenakis spent almost 17 years at OpenTable Inc., where he served as managing director of Europe and was responsible for operations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland. Before running the European business, Xenakis also served as OpenTable’s senior vice president of product management and was part of the executive team that took the company public in 2009 and ultimately sold to the Priceline Group in 2014. Prior to his corporate experience, Xenakis served for nearly six years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and held the position of captain.
Xenakis also serves as a board member of Compeat Inc. in Austin, and as an adviser to Knock Rentals in Seattle and M Restaurants in London.
"It's an honor to serve on Pondera's Board of Directors," Xenakis said in the release. "I'm very passionate about the company's mission and service — offering innovative technologies that enhances good governance and protects taxpayer dollars. Having sat on corporate boards and scaled product growth at companies, I hope to use that experience to enhance Pondera's product offering and user experiences."
Pondera uses advanced predictive algorithms and cloud computing to prevent fraud in health care and government programs. Their core solution, Fraud Detection as a Service (FDaaS), helps clients detect and analyze claims, payments and program participants to identify and alert organizations to problems that require follow-up investigation.
"In operation since 2013, FDaaS has already saved states hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Tax, and other large government programs," the company said.
Last year, Pondera Solutions received a significant investment from Serent Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm focused on investing in high-growth technology and services businesses.
"Mike is an ideal person to chair Pondera’s Product & Technology Committee," said David Kennedy, partner at Serent Capital and chairman of the Pondera Board of Directors. "Mike’s product experience, combined with his passion for the company’s mission, will help mature Pondera’s product roadmap during the company’s rapid growth."
Loos added that the firm has benefited from the recent move to larger headquarters to Folsom. Teams are able to work together more efficiently and collaboratively, he said.