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The CEO behind the smash-hit PagerDuty IPO says that she looked at 51 other chief exec roles before she chose to lead the $3.9 billion company (PD)
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The CEO behind the smash-hit PagerDuty IPO says that she looked at 51 other chief exec roles before she chose to lead the $3.9 billion company (PD)

PagerDuty isn’t really Jennifer Tejada’s 1st time primary a business as CEO.

Tejada had served as CEO of Keynote Techniques, a startup that went general public during the dot-com boom. When Keynote got obtained by Thoma Bravo in 2013, she went on the lookout for her future option to build and scale a rapidly expanding enterprise. She met with buyers and founders all in excess of Silicon Valley, looked at 51 CEO roles, and eventually made a decision to be a part of PagerDuty in 2016.

Now, right after around two years heading PagerDuty, foremost it to a $1.3 billion valuation, she was there at the helm when it went public on April 11— even however she had to get again medical procedures though the IPO approach was in complete swing. It all came with each other, while: On its to start with day of community trading, PagerDuty’s stock soared fifty six%.

Now, the organization at the moment enjoys a market place cap of about $three.nine billion, has above $a hundred million in once-a-year earnings, serves over 11,000 customers, and is a preferred among IT departments everywhere you go.

“I never know if I have totally unpacked that,” Tejada explained to Enterprise Insider. “It is really only been a few of months [since the IPO]. There is a time sure mission you happen to be on from the time you contemplate partaking in the course of action to ringing the bell. It is really like a match of Existence or a match of Chutes and Ladders. It is really a winding path.”

A huge marketplace opportunity

PagerDuty was initially started by Alex Solomon, Andrew Miklas, and Baskar Puvanathasan — engineers who all had absent via the headache of currently being on-call when a program outage or other incident occurred. In truth, the title of the firm is a reference to how IT pros employed to have pagers close to to get fast notification of any issues.

To begin with, numerous investors passed on PagerDuty, believing it was much too technical for a broad audience, and not knowing the benefit of a corporation that sells products and solutions for developers.

But in 2010, PagerDuty was admitted to Y Combinator, the famed Silicon Valley startup incubator. From there, PagerDuty and its solution begun to just take off, and traders eventually took notice: All instructed, PagerDuty elevated about $174 million in venture capital funding in the a long time just before IPO.

By early 2016, even though, Solomon required to find a CEO to switch him who would be improved suited to growing the enterprise into the next phase, so that he could phase into the extra technological part of CTO.

Tejada claims it can be exceptional to uncover a founder who is definitely inclined to hand in excess of the keys to the kingdom and assist the new CEO be successful. Extra usually, she states, founders like to deliver in a possible substitution as a lieutenant prior to making the ultimate call.

“There is a good deal of people today who want to attempt-right before-you-invest in optionality, but I experienced no curiosity in currently being a selection two,” Tejada mentioned. “I have been a quantity 2, and I liked it, but when I was a CEO, I considered, this is the work for me…I’ve had other discussions where [founders] say you can run everything besides product or service and finance. And I’m like, nicely, that’s not definitely a CEO job, is it?”

Tejada remembers that when she to start with was having to know Solomon, they went out to chat in excess of a beer. At the time, Solomon was making an attempt to maintain the CEO research less than wraps — but this informal meeting almost blew the surprise.

“We’re obtaining a good discussion and I take pleasure in listening to about his family members, his qualifications developing up, and he instantly goes completely white,” Tejada stated. “I’m like, ‘dude, are you Ok?’ He claimed,’oh my god, a full bunch of PagerDuty staff members came in.’ I’m like, ‘Don’t fret, just say you happen to be on a date with Mrs. Robinson or some thing. Permit them feel no matter what they want.'”

Little did individuals staff know that Tejada would get the nod to come to be their following CEO.

Becoming CEO

Tejada and Solomon talked ahead of time about what their new roles would appear like. By the time she officially joined as CEO, and he moved in excess of to the purpose of CTO, they both of those understood precisely how the transition would go down. She phone calls him a “phenomenal husband or wife” — one particular who paved the way for her, relatively than simply going out of the way.

“That to me represents a big amount of humility, putting the enterprise ahead of myself,” Tejada reported. “Me coming on board allows him change his emphasis to points he’s passionate about and cares about.”

By the time Tejada joined PagerDuty, it was “currently beloved by builders,” she claimed. End users have told her that they will not likely consider a occupation that will not use PagerDuty, or that they introduce the provider to their providers. Some even told her that it saved their marriages.

She says a person misconception about PagerDuty is that folks assume it just fixes outages, or that it truly is an notify instrument that wakes groups up in the middle of the night time and disrupts people’s lives. What PagerDuty actually does is proactively handle difficulties before they arise, she claims.

“PagerDuty was solving a quite big suffering point very early,” Tejada reported. “A person of the other things that’s actually attention-grabbing is the business enterprise is tremendous effective. It really is a single of the hallmarks of our business enterprise that we are increasing fast and are developing effectively and have usually grown successfully.”

Having suggestions

As a leader, Tejada explained she often appears to other startup CEOs for assistance, these kinds of as Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, who took his enterprise community on April 18 — a week right after PagerDuty’s individual IPO.

There are specific things a small business chief could not be capable to share with a group or a relatives, but she states being “open up and susceptible” with other CEOs has aided her study and grow. She states that she’s a lover of the progress state of mind, the philosophy of getting open up to finding out and improve espoused by leaders like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“I commit a ton of time implementing a progress state of mind to how I think about dealing with difficulties in the business by chatting to other CEOs,” Tejada reported. “We speak to each individual other about life. I check with them all my silly issues…It begins out as peer mentorship but it becomes camaraderie and friendship more than time and it solves the lonely-at-the-top trouble.”

In addition, Tejada suggests she’s on a mission to do the job in the direction of gender equilibrium in the tech field. Half of her leadership workforce are women of all ages, but she says the organization can do even far better. She has a list of qualified females candidates — and if she’s not ready to seek the services of them at PagerDuty, she has started out referring them to many others.

“I see us as a organization that can be an illustration of switching the complexion of your corporation, how you established the tone at the prime,” Tejada mentioned. “It begins with me, it starts off with management, it begins with our board. It commences with not accepting excuses or setting restrictions. I listen to, wow your board is gender balanced. I’m like, I am not performed, there is extra to do.”

Parallel universes

Main PagerDuty to its IPO felt like living in parallel universes, or even coaching for a marathon, Tejada suggests. Whilst she was primary the enterprise, she also had to meet up with with bankers and traders. It was a challenging approach, designed all the worse by a back operation she had to undertake in December, though the process was ongoing.

“It really is funny, back again surgical procedures was a true blessing in disguise,” Tejada mentioned. “It pressured me to delegate a good deal of operational operate and allowing go of that has established capability to target on product, continuing to assume about lengthy expression system and also consider about how I keep on to spherical myself out.”

At last, IPO working day came — and it turned into anything of a celebration, capping off all the tricky get the job done. Following Tejada rang the ceremonial opening bell, an impromptu dance occasion started off up on the podium of the New York Inventory Trade, led by Tejada’s daughter, and her childhood pal, the daughter of PagerDuty CFO Howard Wilson. PagerDuty’s offices in San Francisco and Toronto held their possess parties, way too.

“You are up on the podium and ringing the bell, and there’s unbridled pleasure and delight and wonder,” Tejada stated. “Men and women are a small incredulous that they’re there and you see it in their faces. A good deal of individuals are persons who never assumed this would be anything they complete in their careers…It was really an amazing encounter.”

Study additional: Unicorn startup PagerDuty soared fifty six% in its initial working day of community investing — now its CEO and CFO describe what is next

But the upcoming working day, it was back to get the job done. In her talks with staff, she likened the IPO to a wedding: An significant milestone, and a good justification to celebrate, but only the beginning of the genuine perform.

“The following day, we went back again to the two most important workplaces, held city halls, talked about obtaining a wedding celebration but to keep centered on the relationship,” Tejada claimed.

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