- Julie Larson-Green left Microsoft in November after a 25-year career there that spanned working on everything from Windows to Microsoft Office to Surface devices and has landed at Qualtrics.
- Larson-Green is taking on the role of Chief Experience Officer for Qualtrics, a startup valued at $US2.5 billion.
- There was a bit of serendipity to how she met Qualtrics’ CEO Ryan Smith.
Former Microsoft engineering star Julie Larson-Green just landed at cloud software startup Qualtrics.
Larson-Green had been with Microsoft for 25-years most recently in the role of Chief Experience Officer (CXO). She had worked at just about every major unit at Microsoft including Windows, Office and devices like the Surface. She left in November and the rumour was she wanted to join a startup. But Larson-Green was looking for a certain kind of startup.
“Qualtrics is a more established and profitable company,” she tells us. “It was exactly what I was looking for.”
Qualtrics is the profitable Provo, Utah, startup – with about $US250 million in revenues – that’s been a venture-capital darling. It’s raised $US400 million total, including a $US180 million third round of funding in April, and is valued at $US2.5 billion.
Qualtrics offers cloud survey software but with the new round of investment it is expanding into a new area its CEO Ryan Smith calls experience management. This takes the data from surveys across the company – employee satisfaction surveys, marketing surveys, customer support surveys, etc. – and allows companies to mine them looking for trends across the company. For instance, it may indicate that a product problem is due to low employee morale in a business unit. To this end, Qualtrics recently introduced a new product called XM (aka experience management).
There was some serendipity to Larson-Green’s arrival at Qualtrics. The first time she had heard of Qualtrics was through her husband. Some years ago, her husband, a university professor, met Smith at an airport after a ski trip to Utah. Academics is a primary target market for Qualtrics so Smith, ever the salesman, gave him a hat and T-shirt.
About a year after that, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella invited Smith to meet with senior leaders as part a day of meeting hot startups.
Smith also met with Larsen when she was chief experience officer. It’s his vision that every company will eventually have a CXO, and she was the ideal customer for his new XM product.
“I met with her so many times. I know a lot of people that know her. Just one of those things, everyone said, “you should meet Julie,” Smith told Business Insider.
She will be joining Qualtrics as CXO. Larson-Green is part of the new crew of seasoned leaders Smith is hiring to grow his company before its eventual IPO. David Faugno, former Cisco CFO and Barracuda CFO, joined as CFO last month.
Qualtrics has over 8,500 customers worldwide, and will have 3,000 employees soon, including a major development center in the Seattle area, where Larson-Green will be based, Smith said.