Sigstr signs ex-Salesforce executive as CEO

A former executive is assuming the top job at Sigstr Inc., the Indianapolis-based email-marketing company announced Tuesday.

Bryan wade mugBryan Wade

Bryan Wade, who spent more than a decade at ExactTarget and Salesforce in Indianapolis, is set to become CEO of Sigstr on April 10. His last day at Salesforce was Feb. 28. Sigstr founder and CEO Dan Hanrahan will remain with the company as president, focusing his energy on partnerships and enterprise sales.

The passing of the reins comes as Sigstr, a High Alpha portfolio company that has 270 clients and 25 employees, nears its third year in business. Hanrahan said that after a bit of reflecting last November about his strengths and the potential for Sigstr, he began speaking with board members about landing a new chief executive with experience scaling companies.

"Before I even considered Bryan, it just dawned on me that 'Hey, man, I can do what I love and what I'm best at if I can find the right leader who's really product-driven and has been where we're going.'"

He later added: "There are only a few people in the world I'd trust with Sigstr. It means the world to me … and I trust Bryan to get us where we're all committed to going."

Sigstr's software allows companies to control marketing messages beneath email signature lines. The firm says its customers, including Angie’s List, United Way and the Indiana Pacers, use its clickable banners to promote key events, case studies, product updates, job opportunities and internal communications.

Wade, 40, graduated from Ball State University in 1998 and joined ExactTarget in 2005. He spent time in customer service, sales and product marketing, culminating with the role of chief product officer of Salesforce Marketing Cloud after Salesforce acquired ExactTarget in 2013.

Hanrahan said Wade has considerable clout and wide name recognition in the marketing-tech world. Wade said he chose Sigstr partly because its software can be used by just about every company. His goal, he said, is "to put Sigstr on the map.”

"Every business in the world runs a corporate email system and every business in the world could use Sigstr," Wade said. "Marketers are always looking for new channels and new ways to reach customers."

Hanrahan, a former ExactTarget employee, began working on Sigstr in summer 2014. About a year later, local venture studio High Alpha announced that it was adopting Sigstr as a portfolio company, a designation that came with a $500,000 investment and in-house expertise with everything from pricing to hiring.

Last June, Sigstr announced plans to add 111 new jobs to a baseline of 15 by the end of 2020 in exchange for $1 million in conditional state tax credits.

Today, Hanrahan said, the company has 25 employees, up from eight in early 2016. And it grew annual revenue 450 percent between 2015 and 2016, he said. Hanrahan wouldn't disclose the company's annual revenue, but acknowledged that it's in the seven-figure range.

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