It’s no secret that one of the companies here in Portland that motivated me to start Silicon Florist was Jive Software. Back in 2007, it was on the cusp of something big—but still a bit rough around the edges. But as we watched, it grew and matured and focused and changed. Growing, shrinking, and then growing again. Adding new funding and new executive talent. And transitioning.
Without a doubt, my favorite “they’re a Silicon Forest company?!!?” startup is Portland-based SurveyMonkey, the nearly ubiquitous Web-based survey service. It’s one of those local success stories of which everyone seems to have heard—even though they don’t realize they’re Portland-based.
Goldberg will be based in Menlo Park, where SurveyMonkey is opening a new office. (Goldberg’s wife Sheryl Sandberg is COO of Facebook.) The company is also holding on to its Portland headquarters, where Ryan and Chris Finley will work.
Hopefully, with someone else on board to help guide the company, Ryan and Chris will finally find some free time to spend with their Portland fans (hint, hint 😉 ).
Todd MacLean, a Director at Bain Capital Ventures [one of the group of investors in SurveyMonkey] said, “We are extremely excited to partner with Dave Goldberg, a dynamic entrepreneur who we believe is ideally suited to lead the next phase of the company’s growth. We believe our experience with low-touch, viral software models will be an asset in supporting Dave and the team of talented professionals at SurveyMonkey as they grow the business. In addition, we have great affinity and respect for Spectrum, having co-invested with them in the past, and look forward to a great partnership on the Board of SurveyMonkey.”
It seems like only yesterday—or April—that I was pitching conspiracy theories about Portland-based WebTrends‘ new CEO, Dan Stickel. With Stickel being a former Google employee, I thought I saw the potential for our local Web analytics company—one with a bit of a checkered history—to have a clear path toward acquisition.
In naming Yoder as CEO, the board turned to a WebTrends insider with seven years of experience at the company, and who most recently led WebTrends to its most successful quarter in history as its vice president of sales. He also has been one of the key executives leading the company’s long-term strategic planning, and has over 20 years of global business experience.
Sources close to the announcement say that there is a “tremendous amount of excitement” about Yoder ascending to the leadership role. And that the news was incredibly well received throughout the company.
Yoder has been responsible for strategic oversight of all WebTrends marketing and sales activities in North America. Alex has built his team around industry and product expertise and has transformed the culture to emphasize customer relationships, providing complete online marketing solutions with world class services.
On a tangential and random “isn’t it a small Portland Web scene?” note, Yoder also graduated from the same tiny college that Mike Rogoway of The Oregonian and I did—Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. So I mean, that’s good, right?
Yoder joined WebTrends in 2000, then left early in 2007 to become vice president of sales at a company called Touch Clarity after becoming disillusioned with WebTrends’ direction.
Yoder rejoined WebTrends in January of this year, feeling that the company’s focus had returned. He said he hopes to bring stability to the Portland company, and said that he expects his history with the company will help him build trust with WebTrends’ employees.
In my opinion, having someone like Yoder, who has been with the company through the thick and thin of the last few years, should prove a positive move for the company. And should—hopefully—help WebTrends continue along its path to recapture the heights of its dotcom-days greatness.
And while it doesn’t necessarily take the whole acquisition conspiracy theory off of the table. It does make things seem a great deal more stable.
The move has been a successful one for Nike. And here’s hoping that it’s equally successful for WebTrends.
Portland-based WebTrends provides web analytics and online marketing solutions to optimize marketing campaigns and customer engagement. WebTrends Marketing Lab delivers the industry’s most recognized analytics, SEM, and visitor intelligence solutions to enable companies to understand their customers, drive customer engagement, and enhance marketing and brand awareness. Thousands of leading global organizations, including General Mills, Microsoft, Reuters and Ticketmaster have chosen WebTrends business solutions and client services expertise to optimize their customers’ online experiences. For more information, visit: www.webtrends.com.
Now, I realize that Portland-based WebTrends isn’t exactly a “startup” around here anymore. (Although some would argues that the company continues to go through fits and starts as it navigates the ever-changing Web analytics landscape.)
Meet Daniel Stickel, a Harvard-educated engineer—Magna Cum Laude, at that—who also boasts a rich 20-year history as an executive, with an impressive record of building businesses.
But I’m especially interested in his experience with preparing for—and living through—acquisitions. According to Stickel’s resume, he was an executive at K2 Technologies before and throughout acquisition, he helped establish the foundations that built Delfin Systems into an acquisition target, and he managed the Alta Vista engineering team that turned that property into a valuable commodity for purchase.
What’s more, it’s not often that you hear of companies in the Portland area hiring folks away from Google.
Let’s see… he worked at Google and he’s got experience in being acquired.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.