Why The 63-Year-Old Chairman Of A $10 Billion Company Is Joining A Startup

Adaptive InsightsAdaptive Insights CEO Tom Bogan

The allure of running a startup and disrupting old industries never gets old.

It’s why Tom Bogan, the 63-year-old chairman of Citrix, decided to join the financial planning software company, Adaptive Insights, as its new CEO on Tuesday.

Bogan says it was the daily hustle and bustle of running a business that he misesed the most.

A former venture partner at Greylock, Bogan spent the last 10 years mostly in board member roles. But in the two decades prior to that, he had filled in a number of different C-suite roles at fast-growing tech companies, such as Rational Software (acquired by IBM for $US2.1 billion in 2003) and Pacific Data Products (acquired by Sorrento Networks in 1996).

He felt that entrepreneurial itch crawl up on him again in recent years.

“It’s different when you’re a board member or an investor than being part of the team (running the business),” Bogan told Business Insider. “Frankly, that’s something I missed.”

But Bogan didn’t want to pick just any company to run. It had to be a hyper-growth company with a high level of customer satisfaction. “It was really a question of finding the right company and the right opportunity,” he says.

That opportunity came last fall when a recruiter reached out with a potential job at Adaptive Insights. Bogan had heard many good reviews of its software from the companies he worked with. For example, Apptio, another business software company he serves as the Chairman, had told him about two years ago that Adaptive’s software was completely changing the way it ran its finances.

“I knew people who were using it, and they were very enthusiastic customers. Having great products and a lot of happy successful customers was really important,” Bogan says.

Adaptive Insights allows companies to build better sales forecasts by analysing all kinds of historical financial data. It looks at old sales and expense data and comes up with what the finance department should do in the future. For example, it can tell how many more people you hired than planned, whether those hires translated to a direct increase in sales, and how those hires will impact your business moving forward. Adaptive Insights’ founder Rob Hull says, in a sense, his software is replacing what Excel used to do and disrupting the space once dominated by companies like Oracle, IBM, and SAP.

The company hasn’t disclosed exact revenue figures, but it says it grew new annual recurring revenue 68%in 2014, and claims more than 2,500 companies, including Coca Cola, Toyota, and AAA use its software. It’s raised over $US84 million in funding from investors like Salesforce, Norwest Venture Partners, and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Bogan will remain as the chairman of Citrix, which had almost $US3 billion in sales in 2013 and is worth close to $US10 billion in market cap, while working full-time at Adaptive Insights.

But he believes he’s finally found the dream job he’s been looking for. “Running companies during hyper-growth phases, where it’s visible that you can see the impact you have on the customers and the way you change their businesses — that’s the best job in the world.”

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