Meet Jennifer Tejada, the secret weapon of 1 among Silicon Valley’s fastest-increasing challenge tool startups

PagerDuty, an eight-yr-oldschool, San Francisco-based firm that sends companies data about their technology, doesn’t receive a share of the click that varied snappily-increasing challenge tool companies receive. In point of truth, although it counts as customers heavyweight companies treasure Capital One, Spotify and Netflix; it employs 500 workers; and it has 5 places of work across the sphere, it has largely operated out of the highlight.

That’s altering. For one thing, the firm is now a so-called unicorn, after raising $ninety million in a September round led by Wellington and T. Rowe Tag that brought its total funding to $173 million and its valuation to $1.3 billion. Crowded because the unicorn membership will be at the present time, that number, and those backers, makes PagerDuty a startup of hobby to a broader circle of commercial watchers.

But another excuse you’re at threat of start up listening to extra about PagerDuty is its CEO of three years, Jennifer Tejada, who’s uncommon within the sphere of challenge startups attributable to her gender, but whose marketing background makes her noteworthy extra of an anomaly — and an asset.

In an international that’s going digital snappily, Tejada knows PagerDuty can charm to a miles wider array of customers by selling them a product they’re going to attain.

It’s a trick she first learned at Proctor & Gamble, the place she spent seven years after graduating from the University of Michigan with each a liberal arts and a commercial management stage. In point of truth, in her first tech job out of P&G, working for the bubble-era present chain management startup I2 Technologies (it went public and modified into later obtained), Tejada says she changed into “director of tiresome it down.”

Sitting in PagerDuty’s mountainous second ground plight of commercial dwelling in San Francisco — dwelling that the firm will almost in the present day double by taking on the vital ground — Tejada recalls performing “treasure a filter for terribly technical individuals who were more than pleased with the IP they’d created” but who couldn’t disclose it to any individual with out counting on jargon. “I modified into treasure, ‘How are you going to to find any individual to pay you $2 million for that?’”

Tejada came across herself an increasing selection of distilling the tech into straightforward English, so the businesspeople who must signal giant tests and “bet their careers on these investments” might perhaps presumably perchance also realize what they were being pitched. She’s instilling that very same ethos at PagerDuty, which modified into based in 2009 to again companies show screen their tech stacks, address disruptions and alert engineers earlier than things purchase on fireside but, below Tejada’s peek, is evolving true into a service that flags opportunities for its customers, too.

As she tells it, the firm’s technology doesn’t correct give customers insights into their service ecosystem and their groups’ successfully being, and it doesn’t correct get varied precious kernels, treasure about which operations groups are the absolute top and why. PagerDuty is additionally helping its purchasers become proactive. The foundation, she says, is that “within the event you peek visitors spiking on an online role, you might perhaps presumably perchance also orchestrate a bunch of exclaim material marketers or increase hackers and to find them in that visitors movement correct then, as adverse to reading about it in a matter of-gen file per week later, the place you’re, treasure, ‘Mammoth, we totally disregarded that likelihood.’”

The example is a runt bit analogous to what Tejada herself brings to the table, which contains solid individuals skills (she’s very funny) and a knack for understanding what patrons are making an strive to hear, but additionally a deep understanding of finance and challenge tool.

As corny because it sounds, Tejada looks to were working in opposition to her fresh occupation her complete life.

No longer that, treasure the the relaxation of us, she knew precisely what she modified into doing always. On the opposite, one fragment of her route started when, after spending 4 years because the VP of worldwide marketing for I2 — 4 years at some point soon of which the dot-com bubble expanded wildly, then popped — Tejada stop her job, went dwelling for the holidays and, while her baffled family regarded on, booked a round-day out worth to Australia to to find away and get out about yachts.

She left the skills no longer finest along with her skipper certification but in a relationship along with her now-husband of 16 years, an Australian with whom she settled in Sydney for roughly 12 years.

There, she worked for a non-public equity firm, then joined Telecom Original Zealand as its chief marketing officer for a couple of years, then landed almost in the present day after at an challenge tool firm that catered to asset-intensive industries, including mining, as its chief technique officer. When that deepest-equity backed firm modified into bought, Tejada took a breath, then modified into recruited to manual, for the vital time, one other firm: Keynote Techniques, a publicly traded data superhighway and mobile cloud sorting out and monitoring firm that she suggested to a sale to the deepest equity firm Thomas Bravo a couple of years later.

The transfer gave her a likelihood to use time along with her now teenage daughter and husband, but she additionally didn’t delight in a job for the vital time in an extended time, and Tejada looks to treasure work. Indeed, within one yr, after talking with investors who’d gotten to know her over her a ramification of roles, besides to alive to recruiters, Tejada —  who says she is “no longer a founder but a large adoptive guardian” — settled on the fiftieth of 51 companies she modified into requested to eradicate into consideration becoming a member of. It modified into PagerDuty.

She has been overseeing wild increase ever since. The firm now counts extra than half of of the Fortune 50 as its customers. It has additionally doubled its headcount once or twice since she joined roughly 28 months ago, and a ramification of its workers (upwards of 43 p.c) for the time being are girls folks, besides to engineers from extra diverse backgrounds than you might perhaps presumably perchance also peek at a conventional Silicon Valley startup.

That’s no accident. Vary breeds selection, in Tejada’s get out about, and selection is lawful for commercial.

“I wouldn’t affirm we market to ladies folks,” says Tejada, explaining that selection to her is no longer any longer correct about gender but additionally age and ethnic background and standard of living preference and plight and upbringing and skills.

“We’ve made a aware effort to build an inclusive custom the place all kinds of parents are making an strive to work. And you ship that message out into the market, there’s a ramification of parents who hear it and wonder if it will also be correct. And then they reach to a PagerDuty tournament, or they reach into the plight of commercial, and they peek something varied than they’ve considered earlier than. They peek individuals they’re going to reveal to.”

Why does it topic in relation to writing code? Because a giant fragment of coding is say-fixing for one thing, says Tejada. “At the same time as you happen to might perhaps presumably perchance even delight in individuals from diverse backgrounds chunking through a giant furry say together, those varied perspectives will to find you to a extra insightful answer.” Tejada additionally believes there’s too noteworthy bias in software program pattern and particular person skills. “There’s a ramification of gobbledygook in our app that a complete bunch developers totally realize but that isn’t accessible to all individuals — males, girls folks, varied functional kinds of customers, individuals of a selected age. Love, how accessible is our mobile app to any individual who’s no longer a local-first mobile particular person, who started off on an analog phone, moved to a large desktop, then to a notebook computer and is now utilizing a smartphone? You’d like to evaluate the accessibility of your invent in that regard, too.”

What relating to the invent of PagerDuty’s funding? Sooner than parting techniques, we request Tejada relating to the money PagerDuty raised a couple of months ago, and what it approach for the firm.

Unsurprisingly, as as to whether the firm plans to head public any time almost in the present day, her answers are variously, “I’m correct constructing a prolonged lasting firm,” and, “We’re gentle taking half within the benefits of being a non-public firm.”

Nevertheless Tejada additionally looks mindful of no longer raising some distance extra money for PagerDuty than it needs to scale, even while there’s an ocean of capital surrounding it.

“Going relief to the early ’90s, in my occupation I basically delight in no longer considered a market the place there has been extra ready availability to capital, between tax reforms and sovereign money and giant corporates and low hobby rates and immense challenge funds, no longer to affirm the increased willingness of enormous institutional investors to become LPs.” Nevertheless even while the “underlying drivers and secular trends and leading indicators” counsel a healthy marketplace for SaaS technology for a truly prolonged time to reach relief, that “doesn’t mean the labor markets are going to dwell the equal. It doesn’t mean the geopolitical environments are no longer going to change. At the same time as you happen to let the scarcity project within the market pressure your valuation, you’re additionally accountable for increasing into that valuation, regardless of what occurs within the macro atmosphere.”

Where Tejada doesn’t necessarily are making an strive to be so measured is in relation to PagerDuty’s plight in its market.

And that will also be bright because the firm gains extra traction — and extra consideration.

“At the same time as you carry out the obliging thing on your customers, and also you carry out the obliging thing by your workers, your total relaxation will tumble into plight,” she says. “Nevertheless the minute you eradicate your perceive off the ball, the minute you don’t kind the have confidence of your buyer each day, the minute you discontinuance innovating in service of them, you’re gonna start up going backwards,” she says with a shrug.

Tejada recalls a conversation she had along with her executive group closing week, including with Alex Solomon, the firm’s CTO and the one amongst three PagerDuty founders who remains actively engaged with the firm. (Co-founder Andrew Miklas moved on to challenge capital closing yr; Baskar Puvanathasan within the meantime left the firm in March.) “They potentially wished to abolish me,” she says laughing. “I told them I don’t think we’re disrupting ourselves ample. They’re treasure, ‘Jenn, let up.’ Nevertheless that’s what occurs to companies. They delight in their first success and they omit that second wave or Zero.33 wave, and the subsequent thing you know, you’re Kodak.”

PagerDuty, she says, “is no longer any longer going to be Kodak.”