Here today, gone tomorrow: director of Nokia’s mapping platform joins SoundCloud

Sylvain Grande

This story was updated at 9.25am PT to include comment from SoundCloud, confirming Grande’s new role.

The director of Nokia’s Here mapping platform, Sylvain Grande, is leaving the company to join SoundCloud, GigaOM can reveal.

Grande, who will manage partner relations for the Berlin-based audio platform firm from next week, worked on Here Maps (formerly Nokia Maps) since the end of 2008. He ran the teams – also located in Berlin — that develop Here for Windows Phone, the web and other platforms. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was also “strongly involved in Nokia Maps’ key partnerships (from negotiation to delivery) with Yahoo!, Microsoft and others”.

Nokia tells me Grande won’t have a direct replacement as such. He reported to Thom Brenner, Nokia’s vice president of applications, location and commerce, and various members of Brenner’s team will take over his responsibilities.

The move comes at an interesting time for both SoundCloud and Nokia’s Here platform. SoundCloud has done a great job becoming the so-called YouTube of audio, but is only now starting to get serious about making money. Meanwhile, last month Nokia announced that it is opening up the Here platform to third-party developers, a shift that I reckon points to a strengthening of the platform’s significance for the company.

Grande’s jump to SoundCloud isn’t unprecedented. Indeed, SoundCloud co-founder Eric Wahlforss used to work at gate5, the Berlin mapping company that, along with Navteq and Plazes, was acquired by Nokia to form the underpinnings of what is now Here. Sources tell me at least one other developer from Nokia’s Berlin operations has also found his way to SoundCloud, so there may be some active courting going on.

UPDATE: Wahlforss has confirmed the hire and given me this brief statement:

“We’re very excited to welcome Sylvain Grande to SoundCloud. His proven experience across companies including Nokia and Myspace make him the perfect hire to help oversee our product development. Sylvain will be directly involved with managing our recently launched beta Pro Partner profiles, assisting our music, audio, and brand partners to have an even greater presence on our platform.”

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