Tealium’s Incoming CEO Sets Goal to Be San Diego’s Next Big Deal

Jeff Lunsford says when he oversaw the IPO of WebSideStory back in 2004, the San Diego Web analytics company was only the third company to go public with a business model based on the idea of providing software as a service (SaaS).

“We were right behind Salesforce.com and RightNow Technologies,” Lunsford said, referring to the pioneers of cloud-hosted customer relationship management software.

Now, public SaaS-based companies seem almost too numerous to count—except perhaps in San Diego, where few public companies have grown as big as ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW), which has a market valuation of roughly $3.6 billion. (The market cap for the San Diego-based Active Network (NYSE: ACTV) is about $284 million and Mitek Systems (Nasdaq: MITK) is just $93 million.)

In a recent telephone interview, Lunsford said he wants to emulate ServiceNow’s extraordinary growth after he officially takes over in January as the CEO at Tealium, a San Diego startup founded in 2008. Tealium provides management of HTML tags for websites operated by big companies and agencies, and says its Web-based approach lifts the burden from a company’s IT personnel by making it easy for marketing teams to manage their own campaigns.

Jeff Lunsford

“Our goals, our aspirations are pretty lofty,” said Lunsford, who describes Tealium’s tag management technology as the next generation of enterprise analytics. Since July, when Tealium raised $10.5 million from Boston’s Battery Ventures and individual investors (including Lunsford), the company has grown from 30 to 80 employees. Tealium now counts 140 customers, and is “growing at a very rapid rate,” Lunsford says.

“We think we’re solving a big problem,” Lunsford added. While Tealium faces substantial competition from three principal rivals with similar technology (Chicago-based BrightTag, Cupertino, CA-based Ensighten, and TagMan, based in New York and London), “We think we can grow faster than the other guys,” Lunsford says.

Before joining Tealium, Lunsford served as … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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