With all of our Here One pre-orders shipped, big box retail rolling out this week, support for new hearing health legislation on the horizon, and our first major product software update coming later this month, we’re entering an exciting new phase at Doppler Labs.
As part of this, we’re thrilled to share another key milestone: the addition of two incredible C-level hires. They are Richard Heye, former VP of Silicon at Amazon, who joins us as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and Sophia Velastegui, former Head of Architecture at Nest (an Alphabet/Google company), who is joining as our first ever Chief Product Officer (CPO). We couldn’t be more excited for Rich and Sophia to join Doppler’s leadership team alongside COO Brian Hall (former head of Microsoft’s Hardware/Devices Business), and Chief Scientist Jim Pitkow. Together, they’ll help support Doppler as we continue to scale, build on the foundation of Here One, and beyond as we create new ways to push the boundaries of in-ear technology.
Richard Heye joins Doppler after serving as VP of Silicon at Amazon Lab126, which is the research and development arm behind all of Amazon’s consumer electronic devices, such as the Fire Tablets, Fire Phone, and Amazon Echo. Before Amazon, Rich held a variety of VP-level roles over the course of his thirty-year career at SanDisk, ATI, and AMD, and was also a Director at Apple, where he worked on the original multimedia desktop computer.
As CTO at Doppler, Rich will be leading our engineering group, which includes audio, mechanical and electrical engineering, software and firmware. As we continue to miniaturize our technology—while increasing battery life and efficiency—Rich will ensure we stay on the cutting edge of in-ear technology. In the near term, Rich is focused on maximizing the potential of Here One through software and firmware innovation. Long term, he’s supporting future functionality, chipset optimization, and SKU development to make sure we continue to ship world-class products and push the boundaries of our tech.
Sophia Velastegui joins Doppler by way of Alphabet’s Nest, where she was the Head of Silicon & Architecture Roadmap and worked on special projects as Nest scaled from 200 people to the company it is today. For her work at Nest, Sophia was named one of the top female engineers by Business Insider this year. Prior to Nest, Sophia led the “Think Tank” program management group at Apple, and before that, Apple’s Laptop & Special Projects Product Management group.
As CPO, Sophia will lead all of Doppler’s product efforts including UX/UI, industrial design, product management, and user research. Sophia will be focused on building out the Here One platform through partnerships, software, and firmware updates. She’ll also be leading innovation—both from a customer advocate and product development perspective—to help us achieve our vision of putting a computer in every ear. Sophia shares a deep passion for creating innovative technology, particularly for people in the hearing health community.
Long before Alexa and Google Assistant were part of the zeitgeist—we bet that the future of computing would happen in the ear, and that voice and audio would become one of the primary points of UI for human-computer interaction. Now, with Apple’s removal of the headphone jack, the introduction of the AirPods, and smart assistants becoming the norm, we’re moving even closer to a post-mobile future where computing happens more and more on the body. Here One is our first step towards redefining how we interact with computers, but it’s only just the beginning. Our new leadership team—with their diverse set of experiences from Microsoft, Amazon, and Google/Alphabet—gives us a great opportunity to push the boundaries of what we can do with technology and define the next phase of in-ear computing.