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Octiv Inc. cofounder Sapp steps down as CEO

January 25, 2017
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CEO Dustin Sapp (pictured) co-founded Tinderbox, now Octiv, in 2010. (IBJ file photo)

Dustin Sapp, the longtime CEO of sales-productivity company Octiv Inc., resigned Monday and will be taking a sabbatical, the company announced Wednesday.

Sapp, 38, co-founded the company formerly known as TinderBox Inc. in 2010 and, until Monday, had been its only CEO. David Kerr, 50, the firm's chief operating officer for almost three years, has been named chief executive.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Sapp said it was an opportune time for him to take a breather.

"We started this business over seven years ago, and I've been working 70-, 80-hour weeks for seven years straight," he said.

"And a big part of 2016 for us was really building our executive team. ... And now that we've been able to [do that], frankly, it was just a good time for me to be able to step back and know that the company was in good hands and recharge my batteries for a bit."

Octiv software helps enterprise companies improve the creation, distribution and tracking of sales documents. Its 350-plus client roster includes GE Industrial Solutions, Siemens, Angie’s List, and DoubleDutch.

The firm has about 70 employees and announced plans to add 272 employees by 2021 as part of a tax incentive deal with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. It has also raised nearly $17 million in venture capital since inception, including $4.75 million in September.

"Dustin has has done a phenomenal job growing this company from its initial concept to over 350 customers," Kerr said in an interview Tuesday. "So he's taking some time to rejuvenate and spend time with family."

Sapp said he does not have "anything up my sleeve" in terms of starting another venture soon, and that he still plans on being involved in Octiv. Not only will he hold a non-voting seat on Octiv's board, but he'll continue to communicate with Kerr about the business.

Sapp said his decision was his own idea and it started taking shape only in the past few weeks. He first informed Octiv employees about it Monday, the same day of his resignation.

When asked why he didn't give more notice, he said, "Part of that is, I'm staying involved in the business. Normally, you see that happening when someone is retiring.

"And David and I have worked together since 2000. So we have always worked hand in hand and, in many ways, co-led the business. So it's not a big transition for our team to have to go through versus bringing in a new CEO or taking somebody from down in the ranks. This is a scenario where it's an easy transition for us, based on how we had it structured all along."

Kerr is a Princeton University graduate with about 20 years of senior leadership experience, including as president of health care software company GHX Europe, general manager of e-commerce at Angie's List and vice president at Groupon.

He said the company plans on continued growth, partly by targeting corporate legal teams for its software.

"Dustin's hired most of the people here. He's a very hands-on leader and very engaged with the team, so I think there's always going to be disappointment when someone like that goes on a sabbatical," Kerr said. "But I also think the employees are excited about the next chapter."

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