By Brian Henry
PagerDuty came out from behind the scenes Thursday when it made its debut on New York Stock Exchange and quickly surged nearly 60 percent, closing its first day of trading above $38 a share. The tech company's CEO, Jennifer Tejada, told Cheddar that investor demand for viable tech stocks drove interest above the company's $24 IPO price.
“I think there’s pent up demand for businesses that are high growth, that are also efficient, and that are serving a problem that's growing,” Tejada said. “As every business becomes a software company, and as consumers become more demanding for that perfect digital brand experience, PagerDuty can be leveraged in just about any company. Whether its a digital disrupter and innovator, or the largest global 2000 firm.”
PagerDuty is different from other high-profile tech IPOs like Lyft because it's a B2B company that plays a largely anonymous role supporting the more well-known apps consumers use daily.
“When you wake up in the morning and you turn on your Spotify playlist and order your Starbucks coffee and get a Lyft to work and check Slack on your way in ー all of those services have PagerDuty in the background ensuring that they’re not only up and available, but that they’re working as they should," Tejada said.
PagerDuty, which was developed by a group of former Amazon engineers, helps digital businesses run reliably and without interruptions by using machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify problems that can jeopardize smooth operations and give businesses a head start in addressing them.
“PagerDuty identifies the early warning signs of a problem before a consumer like you or an employee feels the pain,” Tejada said. “It gets that right problem to the right person at the right time so that they can solve the issue before it has a business impact or a consumer impact."
Tejada, who doesn't come from a traditional Silicon Valley background, took over as CEO in 2016 and said she was able to successfully lead PagerDuty's IPO by embracing her role as the "Director of Dumb It Down."
“I actually have a liberal arts degree from a state school and I lead a deeply technical company, and that initially sold its products and services to developers," she said, noting her non-technical background can be an advantage.
“Part of my job is to take what we do that is complicated and deeply technical and explain it in laymen's terms, and why it creates value for our users,” Tejada said.
PagerDuty's approach has seemingly impressed investors.
“We’ve figured out how our business model works," Tejada said. "We see an enormous category opportunity as a $25 billion dollar, 85 million user opportunity in the market. Going public gives creates an opportunity to extend our reach and create brand awareness and signal to our enterprise customers that we’re a viable long term company available to partner with them for the long haul.”
The company has also made diversity a selling point. Approximately 40 percent of management roles are held by women, and a quarter of managers are from traditionally underrepresented minorities.
“When I got to PagerDuty, and even when I was interviewing for PagerDuty, I let them know that the kind of company that I was going to build was going to be a diverse and inclusive company that created access for underrepresented people to roles in technology ー the way I was able to get a role in technology!" Tejada said. "I’m not a triple degree software engineer. The board was very supportive from day one.”
For full interview click here.