Smartsheet has come a long way since it started out of a small yellow house in Kirkland, Wash. 11 years ago.
The Bellevue project and work management powerhouse this week is holding its first ever major event, Engage. It is a “coming out party,” for Smartsheet, CEO Mark Mader said, as the company seeks to shake up the competitive project and work management market.
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At the event, Smartsheet executives detailed new automation tools, a redesigned mobile app, a new notification system, all of which were announced earlier this morning, and plans to further integrate with collaboration apps like Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and Slack.
The company has gone from a small startup working out of the Silicon Valley-esque house to a rapidly-growing company boasting more than 70,000 companies using its software, including some of the world’s biggest tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and Cisco. It has raised more than $120 million at a valuation of approximately $852 million.
This year, it is increasing its workforce from about 430 people to about 825. Right now, the company has close to 600 people in its headquarters in Bellevue and another 80 in a new office in Boston.
Though it has grown a lot, Mader said Smartsheet is just getting started in its mission of transforming how people work.
“It’s been a long journey, but I also know that this is our jumping off point,” Mader said. “And it’s really neat to be able to share this moment, this coming out party with you. Because while we are really excited about what we just told you about, this is an ongoing thing. We didn’t reach the destination.”
Andy Lientz, senior vice president of engineering for Smartsheet, said in the last year users have put more data into Smartsheet than they had in the company’s prior 10 years of existence. As a result, the company is working to make sure that data is more secure and functional. Smartsheet added two new data centers in the last year, and quadrupled the number of servers it stores information on.
The opening of the event showed off Smartsheet’s ascendance as a company, but it was also a showcase for its customers. One notable customer, that some might think of as a possible competitor, is Microsoft.
Kurt DelBene, Microsoft’s chief digital officer, said Smartsheet was one of the earliest integrations within Microsoft Teams. The collaboration app includes a tab for Smartsheet where people can work on documents without having to jump back and forth between programs.
DelBene told Smartsheet executives and the crowd “you complete us.” Microsoft and Smartsheet share 20,000 common customers, Mader said.
Smartsheet made a statement when it swiped Gene Farrell from Amazon Web Service to be senior vice president. The move ruffled the feathers of Amazon, causing the company to sue to stop Farrell from working at Smartsheet. But the suit was eventually dropped and Farrell was the one presenting the new products focused around automation.
Farrell, now three months into the job, presented Smartsheet’s new products. All of the tools are meant to cut out repetitive, mundane work and free people up to spend their time on more creative pursuits. Farrell, who in addition to his time at Amazon, also spent several years at Coca Cola, said Smartsheet’s goal with its new products is to help companies better execute on their strategies.
Farrell, who says he loves customers and learning about their businesses, pointed to execution as the key trait that separates companies that succeed and those that struggle.
“One of the things I would tell you that differentiates great leaders, even though they all have very different leadership styles is execution,” Farrell said. “Execution is at the heart of what differentiates great companies from also rans.”