Working from home: It’s the new normal for a slew of Triangle technology companies, including fast-growing Pendo.
Olson credits the firm’s monumental funder last year, of $100 million in venture capital dollars.
“People asked me last year, why do you raise $100 million when you have a bunch of cash in the bank,” he says. “I say look, conventional wisdom is when markets are really good, that’s a great opportunity to raise capital … four or five months later, we find ourselves in a downturn. We are prepared as a business.”
It hasn’t been easy, however.
Just like other companies in the region, Pendo has had to relearn its own daily processes.
“We as a company have never had a work from home culture,” Olson says.
So the firm has had to make investments in technology to allow business to continue. That means a lot of firsts, such as last week when Pendo onboarded its first new employee remotely. Olson says the very nature of working from home has created challenges.
“We are finding ourselves in unchartered territories while we have to balance parenting and working,” he says.
So the company has created slack channels for sharing tips and tricks on how to keep kids busy during the day – with everything from coloring sheets to craft ideas. Pendo, which has historically relied on events for much of its marketing, is shifting attention to other channels. And it’s adjusting its own forecast.
But even with the changes, Pendo is not anticipating layoffs. Olson goes so far as to say the plan is to continue to meet milestones for its 590-job expansion, announced in 2018.
“We’re still hiring, investing heavily in products and engineering,” he says. “Even if the market slows down, it’s a great time to innovate.”
Should certain areas of the business slow down, hires allocated for those segments will just be shifted to engineering, he says.
In the meantime, Olson says he and his team are prioritizing safety and maintaining focus amid a scary news cycle.
“We’ll get through this,” he says.
Olson says it’s also key to communicate with customers. Pendo develops software aimed at driving product adoption and customer loyalty.
“Using our software to help retain customers is more important in an economy like this,” Olson says.
But he notes the climate isn’t just disrupting software companies – but also their customers. So he advises firms to try to work with customers so they, too, will be there on the other side of the pandemic.
One customer had just signed a big renewal two weeks ago. In the ensuing days, business completely dried up. Olson says his company is working with the firm on a deferred payment schedule.
“Our goal is to do the right thing,” he says.