CEO Chase Franklin on Daptiv’s “Tremendous Potential”—and an Offer He Couldn’t Refuse

On Monday, Seattle-based Daptiv, a maker of project management software, announced Chase Franklin has joined the firm as its new chief executive. Franklin, the former co-founder and CEO of Qpass (now owned by Amdocs), succeeds Jeff Pancottine, who stepped down as Daptiv’s CEO this summer.

I reached Franklin by e-mail this week to hear his thoughts on his new job, as well as a little more context around the transition. After all, if there’s a “Qpass mafia” throwing its weight around at local tech companies (as we’ve been tracking over the past month), Franklin might well be considered the Don Corleone of the family.

“At the risk of overextending the ‘Mafia’ metaphor, Daptiv made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Franklin says.

“Seriously, the company has tremendous potential, and in spite of the fact that I wasn’t looking for a full-time gig, after numerous discussions with the board and key execs, this opportunity was just too good to pass up,” Franklin says. “It has some parallels to my experience at Qpass, but of course it’s also different in many ways. As I considered what type of company I wanted to be involved with, I knew it would center around serious software delivered through a [software as a service]/cloud metaphor. I also felt that my management experience would be helpful at Daptiv, which is working its way through an awkward moment in its development.”

Franklin couldn’t say anything more specific about the company’s priorities and challenges just yet. “I’m spending all my cycles getting up to speed on the business,” he says.

Venture capitalist Bill Bryant, a fellow Qpass co-founder, offered some more perspective. “Chase is at heart a keen product strategist who is going to drive a forward roadmap for Daptiv that corresponds to what customers want in a [project portfolio management] solution,” Bryant says. “He is equally an inspirational leader who is unflappable in crises, and will lead from the trenches with the kind of bold actions that Daptiv needs to reinvigorate itself. I have no doubt that Chase will attract talent to Daptiv; he knows how to get the very best of that talent.”

Asked for his thoughts on the company’s challenges, Bryant says, “Daptiv’s fundamental issue is common to first-to-market entrants: they were early, but now are facing a number of competitors like @Task, Clarizen, and Liquid Planner, who are offering an up-to-date product and business model. But it’s a large multibillion [dollar] market that I’m quite sure Chase will navigate with aplomb.”

Daptiv was founded in 1997 (as eProject), and has raised about $21 million in venture funding since 2007. Its investors include Bay Partners, Kennet Partners, King Street Partners, and Wolf Bay Holdings. The company went through layoffs earlier this year and had about 100 employees as of March.

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