Franklin Out, VMLogix and Citrix Exec In as SendGrid Replaces CEO

SendGrid, the Colorado-based e-mail delivery company, has a new CEO.

Sameer Dholakia will take the reins of the company, SendGrid announced Tuesday. Dholakia formerly was a vice president with Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS) and CEO of VMLogix.

Dholakia replaces Jim Franklin, who led the company since 2011. During his tenure, SendGrid has grown into one of Colorado’s top tech startups, reaching revenue of $28.9 million in 2013 on 1,900 percent revenue growth over the past three years, according to the company’s Inc. 5000 listing. SendGrid ranked 233rd among all companies and 16th among software companies.

SendGrid reportedly is approaching $50 million in annual revenue, and it claims 175,000 customers, including Airbnb and Uber. It says it sends 13 billion e-mails per month.

The growth has led many to believe SendGrid was plotting an IPO in the next few years, making it one of a very small number of Colorado tech companies able to make the leap to a public market.

A statement from SendGrid said that’s still in the plans, and that Dholakia’s experience will help the company fend off aggressive new competitors while meeting customer needs as its market evolves.

“To keep up with these changes, Sameer’s leadership is critical as SendGrid makes the rapid transition from its successful startup status to an IPO-bound company,” the statement said.

SendGrid’s recent success makes the switch at the top a surprise to outsiders. SendGrid did not make Dholakia available for interviews, and members of its board could not be reached this morning.

The company is backed by an impressive group of investors, including the Foundry Group, Bessemer Venture Partners, Bullet Time Ventures, and 500 Startups. It has raised $27.4 million, and Franklin had said the company was considering another round this year.

SendGrid was founded in 2009 and graduated from Techstars’ Boulder program that summer. It is headquartered in Boulder with major offices in Denver and Orange, CA. The company said Dholakia will be based in the San Francisco Bay area.

A statement from SendGrid did not say what’s next for Franklin or include a quote from him. It does not appear that he will retain a leadership role with the company, and he is no longer on its leadership web page.

Co-founder and president Isaac Saldana did note Franklin’s role in growing the company in a release.

“Jim Franklin has been instrumental in the growth and success of SendGrid over the last few years. Under his leadership, SendGrid has evolved from a startup with 20 employees and several thousand customers to where we are today — an industry leader in email delivery with over 250 employees and over 175,000 customers,” Saldana said.

Dholakia appears to have an impressive record of his own. According to his SendGrid bio, he was group vice president and general manager of the cloud platforms group at Citrix. He joined the company in 2010 after it acquired VMLogix for an undisclosed amount. Before that he worked at Trilogy for 12 years, as the company grew from a startup to a $300 million company.

Trending on Xconomy