Can you give a brief overview of what your company does and your role within it?
To prioritize safety and minimize the impact of disruptive events, organizations need to be able to quickly assemble information and determine exactly who needs to receive each communication. Then, just as importantly, an organization needs to reliably deliver this information to virtually anyone, on any device or contact path, anywhere in the world. An example might be managing a substantial IT outage– network engineers tasked with responding to the problem need one level of information, customer service representatives need another, and both need messages delivered to them in seconds. Global companies need to send notifications in multiple languages, and given the diverse ways people communicate, in multiple modes—via voice, email, text, digital signage, two-way radio, and so on. Our applications automate this process and deliver notifications at very large scale for over 2,700 enterprise customers, including 24 of 25 of North America’s busiest airports, 6 of 10 of the world’s largest auto makers, and in the U.S., 7 of the 10 largest investment banks and 4 of the 10 largest healthcare providers.
My tenure at Everbridge began with my joining the Board of Directors in 2010. In late 2011 we merged a software company I had founded in 2009, CloudFloor, Inc., into Everbridge and I became CEO and Chairman of the Board. Everbridge was founded after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when the need for instant, reliable communications to prioritize safety became clear. To build our business over the last 15 years we have been fortunate enough to attract great people – in fact over 50 of our current team members have worked together in multiple successful previous ventures. We have a saying at Everbridge: “first the team because the team is the business”—it is our way of highlighting the importance of people. My role is to lead the strategic corporate direction that enables our continued growth while being capital efficient. We focus on the top and bottom lines and pay close attention to a number of key performance metrics. Our entire Senior Management Team also spends a significant amount of time with customers. I personally spend a lot of time with new and current customers who are often the source of our best ideas for improving our platform and extending it to new applications and markets.
Can you go into more detail about the services you offer?
Let me give you a couple of examples of how our products are used. The City of Boston, local hospitals, companies, and a number of nearby towns are all customers of Everbridge. When the Boston Marathon bombing happened, the Boston police used our software to contact and coordinate the actions of first responders. Hospitals used it to communicate to and bring in trauma surgeons to treat the wounded. The Watertown Police Department used it to keep citizens informed as police conducted a door-to-door search for the bombers. Local towns used it to advise citizens to stay indoors, and corporate customers used the software to check on the safety of their employees running in the Marathon.
These were all uses of our core application, Mass Notification. This application organizes the process for constructing and securely and reliably sending out notifications in seconds. It is based on a Software as a Service Architecture, with multiple data centers around the world, so we can scale to sending out millions of messages simultaneously and our infrastructure is never constrained by the severe weather issues that customers may be facing. We deliver messages via over 100 different modalities. In 2015, we sent out over 1 billion messages, we have contact data for over 100 million people, and our platform can deliver messages to over 200 countries and territories and in 14 languages and dialects.
A second application is IT Alerting. When an IT outage or cyberattack occurs at a company, the resulting service downtime can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per minute. Companies use our IT Alerting application to rapidly notify and organize responders across departments in order to shorten the time to restoring service. Incident management procedures can be pre-built into the system based on rules so that the software knows what groups need to be represented, what type of information they should receive, who to contact within the groups, how they are best reached, and, if people with the right skill sets do not respond in a prescribed period of time, who to escalate to. Other stakeholders, such as executive team members and customer service representatives, can be simultaneously notified with messages appropriate to them so they are kept properly informed. Automating the process lowers costs, improves speed, and avoids errors at what are often times of high stress.
We are also leveraging the power of our underlying platform with additional applications. We have introduced a secure messaging application which enables healthcare organizations to replace patient home visits with telemedicine check-ins and to rapidly organize teams to respond to code alerts in hospitals. Safety Connection, our newest solution, enables organizations to determine if traveling or mobile employees are safe in the event of a man-made incident or natural disaster, to get them instructions, and to ensure that buildings have been fully evacuated when required. Safety Connection is the first Internet of Things (IoT)-related application we have introduced. With sensor data and connected devices becoming ubiquitous, we see a growing need for companies to organize employees to respond to whole new classes of alerts and believe IoT applications and use cases represent a significant new market opportunity for us.
How does it feel to be awarded CEO of the Month?
I am honored to receive this award. I’m especially pleased for our team. We put a strong emphasis on our management team working together— we win or lose as a team. This is a nice win for our team.
What are the main challenges you face in your role, at the helm of the business?
People are by far our most important asset. In the hot tech space, competing against giants like Google and Amazon for talent is difficult. We focus a great deal of effort on attracting, hiring and retaining great people. We have also worked hard to develop our culture. This has been aided by our mission, which is to not only build great technology solutions but to deliver solutions that help people. We hear stories from customers using our solutions to help find a missing child, or to successfully evacuate an area after a dangerous chemical spill, and these results makes all of us at Everbridge proud of what we do!
On the execution side, we have an enormous opportunity to expand our business internationally. Our current sales are driven 85% from North America and 15% internationally. The international space is ultimately much larger than the U.S.—these markets are more mobile oriented, they have a wider diversity of communications requirements, and are just as prone to emergencies and critical events, both man-made and natural. A key question for us is where to build organically overseas and where to buy or partner. The wrong decisions can cost us years of missed opportunity. International growth is an accelerator for Everbridge— we’ve got to get this right.
When hiring staff, what kind of people are you looking for that will help you drive your business?
We are strong operators and I look for senior people who are intelligent, curious, and have a track record of doing what they say they will do and being accountable. We also hire a fairly large number of people as their first or second job after college. Here, I want people with good intellects and a real hunger to learn. Just as important as people’s skills is their fit with our culture. Our teams and leaders are highly collaborative so we involve a lot of people in the interviewing process to make sure we and the candidates are excited about the opportunity to work together.
Can you tell us about your career background prior to becoming a CEO?
I have actually been a CEO for most of my professional career. My second real job as a 21 year old involved my founding of a software company. Since then I have held multiple public and private company Chairman and CEO positions. Some examples include serving as CEO of Gomez, Inc., a private company and leader in the internet performance management space, of S1 Corporation, a public company and the first to provide on-line banking in North America, and of Interleaf, a public company that provided software tools for e-content management. The common thread among the companies I have led was that they were all profitable, high-growth tech companies. Following on from this, how did you attain the position of CEO? I became CEO when Everbridge acquired a company I had founded, CloudFloor, Inc. Everbridge was looking to rebuild the core technology underpinning its platform based on a cloud infrastructure. The Cloud- Floor solution, and the management team behind it, were a great fit.
How do you think your company has performed while you have been CEO?
I set stretch goals and am a tough grader so I tend to not often be fully satisfied with how we perform. That said, we have made dramatic progress over the past 5 years on pretty much all fronts — our people, our products and the underlying platform, customer wins and follow-on purchases, and our vision for the future have led to top-of-class growth overall for Everbridge. From 2012 to 2015 we have achieved average annual revenue growth of 35-40% versus approximately 10% growth in total sales in 2010. And we have been able to achieve this growth without any new capital infusion. I am very excited about where we are and where we are going.
As CEO, what do you see as the main challenges for your company in the future?
The key challenge is to continue add and retain great people while scaling the business. As one measure, we have gone from sending under 50 million notifications in 2010 to over 1 billion in 2015, and from fewer than 20 million people connected to our solutions to over 100 million people connected today. We’ve put in place a scalable architecture on the platform side but we are going to need to hire great sales and marketing, operations, and technical staff, to continue to mature some of our operational processes, and to increase the sophistication of some of our management processes. It’s very important for us to stay ahead of the curve in these areas.
Do you have any plans for 2016 and beyond that you would like to share with our readers? We have been adding new solutions which open up new addressable markets. We have gone from two products on our critical communications platform in 2010 to seven products today. The new products leverage the power and scalability of our underlying platform. In 2016, we have announced Safety Connection, which adds a new location dimension to notifying traveling and mobile employees to keep them safe. We’ll continue to ensure that our customers have effective ways to communicate with people no matter where they are through our resilient platform and innovative applications.
Name: Jaime Ellertson, Chairman & CEO
Web Address: www.everbridge.com
Address: North America Headquarters – East Coast, 25 Corporate Drive,
Burlington, MA 01803 USA
Telephone: 1 818 230 9700