Transition Time

I’ve written quite often on this blog about transitions – they are a natural part of life and any business ecosystem, and embracing change is part of making the most of new opportunities.  2013 marks a transition for SugarSync, and myself.  We have launched a search for a new CEO.

SugarSync has undergone a wonderful transition over the last several months.  SugarSync 2.0 launched successfully to great reviews including PCWorld and PCMagazine.  I couldn’t be more proud of this product.  Our team of designers and engineers took our highly-rated core sync foundation and rearchitected the user experience for simplicity while continuing to innovate around sharing.  The goal was to better serve an ever-expanding set of users, including businesses and larger enterprises who are rapidly moving to the cloud. Consumerization of IT is real and we are experiencing this phenomenon first hand at SugarSync.

Simultaneously, the mass-market consumer space is experiencing a competitive environment that poses challenges for any company who wants to invest in growth.  SugarSync is in a prime position to continue our growth trajectory serving business customers in addition to consumers. From a product perspective, our strategy remains strong. The vast majority of upcoming features will serve both audiences extremely well.

From a company prospective, SugarSync needs to evolve its strategy to better serve business customers. This means dramatically expanding SaaS channel opportunities and corporate sales functions, among other changes.

After quite a bit of thoughtful introspection, I came to the realization that SugarSync would be best led by a CEO with deep and recent expertise in this type of SaaS enterprise environment.  After further discussion with our board of directors, we agreed to begin the search for a new CEO for SugarSync.

It’s impossible to fully express my gratitude to and appreciation of the entire SugarSync team. What an amazing group of professionals and technologists. I will continue to serve as CEO and Board member during this transition and will do everything in my power to support the Board and new CEO.  After four years of building such an exciting business, I am committed to doing everything possible to make sure we realize SugarSync’s maximum potential.

Of course, this was an extremely difficult decision.   I have often said that while I did not give birth to SugarSync (for that I need to thank its visionary founders), I adopted it and have loved it as if I were here from the start.   I joined the company during one of the most challenging economic times in Silicon Valley’s history.  We were near bankruptcy, the broader economy had melted down and employees were fleeing – we were down to 13 people.   I’ve loved pouring my energies into rebuilding the team, launching a successful freemium model, signing and launching many major partnerships with global companies such as Samsung, Lenovo, and many others.  We’ve raised multiple rounds of financing at increasing (more than twenty fold) valuations, and so much more. SugarSync increased its user base five fold last year and experienced a dramatic increase in our revenue. We were proud of achieving 99th in the 2011 Inc500 with $11million of revenue and have continued to exceed a 100% growth rate. More importantly, the business is in an excellent financial position to continue strong growth.  I’ve been honored to be a part of this team.

So…what’s next for me?  SugarSync was a turnaround situation based on an idea and a dream from the original founders.  I have some startup ideas of my own and I’m excited to invest time vetting these possibilities to understand their true potential.   In addition, given my experience leading both direct-to-consumer and partner-oriented successes at SugarSync, I am being approached by several companies to advise or help lead the charge to solve similar go-to-market challenges.  I want to be able to give those opportunities due consideration and I’m really looking forward to helping make a difference in start-up successes.

And finally, as readers here know, I’m deeply passionate about supporting women in startups and technology. Silicon Valley is more welcoming to women entrepreneurs than ever before in my 20+ years here, and it’s an exciting time to support this new generation of leaders. I’m looking forward to having the time to take a more direct and active role in supporting their success.

As CEO of SugarSync I haven’t had the time to participate fully in the broader conversation of women in technology and, even more interestingly, envisioning new experiences on the internet – I look forward to doing that in the coming months.

I’d like to take one last opportunity to thank the amazing SugarSync team, our dedicated board of directors, and most importantly, all of our loyal customers. This has been an amazing and humbling experience, and I’m grateful for every second of it.

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17 thoughts on “Transition Time

  1. Laura, your leadership is inspiring and it’s been an absolute pleasure reporting to you. Keep up the great work encouraging other smart women to pursue careers in business and technology particularly at the executive level and providing your insights on how to have it all – or at least as much as you want. Thanks for all you’ve done for us at SugarSync.

    I’m excited to see what’s next for you!

  2. Laura

    Many thanks and congratulations for what you have accomplished. You have been an inspiration and someone whose thoughts and perspectives I’ve eagerly shared with my daughters and co-workers. I come from that fabled “old school” but recognize that executives like you are the real leaders that will direct future generations of women and men as to how to succeed in all phases of their lives. I look forward to continuing to hear your voice encouraging women to pursue executive careers in all areas of business.

  3. That’s one heck of a large hole you are leaving! The company will miss not only your drive and vision but your unique person management skills and humanity. I shall look forward to reading where your journey takes you. I would wish you good luck but you will not need it – I bet your phone’s on meltdown already.

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  9. I cannot speak to your leadership role nor to your day to day execution over the years at SugarSync, but the results clearly are outstanding in many ways. I am merely a user of the product that began using it after much research (my wife would say too much research) – and could not be more pleased and confident in my capability to recover from an unexpected loss of a device. When I chose the product I did not realize I was going to be able to read your thoughts on a regular basis. I am sure that SugarSync will continue to thrive and you will find your way in your next venture. But I will truly miss those emails that alerted me to your latest thinking, they were my way to stay up to date on SugarSync and appreciate the larger problem/opportunity space.

    • Luke – I am so glad to hear of your success with SugarSync and for the vote of confidence. I will certainly be continuing to blog on my latest thinking so I hope to keep in touch.

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