Olivia “Libby” Duane Adams was there at the beginning of Alteryx Inc. in 1997.
In the 23 years since the company’s founding—in a small office above a restaurant in downtown Orange—she’s watched the Irvine-based data analytics firm initially struggle to generate revenue and then explode in sales, which led to a successful offering on Wall Street. The company’s market cap hovered around $10 billion as of last Thursday. It’s Orange County’s second largest publicly-traded tech firm by market value.
Adams is one of the few female founders of a technology company that has successfully gone public.
Along the way, she insisted the software company (NYSE: AYX) make diversity and inclusion more than just talking points.
“As a progressive technology player with a female co-founder, Alteryx also has women at the C level, as well as women on our board of directors,” she told the Business Journal.
“We continue to work across all levels of our organization to ensure that D&I (diversity and inclusion) is not just a conversation but also put into practice.”
The company’s diversity efforts include the Women of Analytics initiative “to network, learn, motivate, unite to think and act to drive change.”
For her efforts, the Business Journal named Adams, the company’s chief customer officer, as a winner in the 26th Annual Women in Business Awards, which was held Oct. 28 in a virtual event (see other stories, pages 1, 4, 6 and 8).
“I strive to be a role model for anyone,” Adams said. “As a leader, I believe humility is a key trait because we are all in this effort together. Treating others as I want to be treated is how I live my life.”
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Adams, who earned a B.S. in business administration and marketing in 1984 from Vermont’s Castleton University, worked in the 1990s at companies like Strategic Mapping Inc. and Donnelley Marketing Information Services, a division of Dun & Bradstreet Inc.
Not coincidentally, Dean Stoecker also worked at those companies. In 1997, the pair, along with the now-retired Ned Harding, co-founded Alteryx. She began as executive vice president of marketing and then was named to her current role in 2011.
After going public in 2017 at a price of $14 a share, Alteryx has been growing by leaps and bounds, both in sales, which are expected to approach $500 million this year, and employee count, which is topping 1,500 at 19 offices worldwide.
It ranked No. 6 on this year’s Business Journal list of largest public companies by market cap. Shares traded around $125 as of mid-week.
Sticking with Alteryx was a smart move. According to the latest company’s proxy, Adams owns about 1.3 million shares, which were valued around $160 million as of Nov. 4.
The only individual with more shares is Stoecker, who owns 8.1 million worth nearly $1 billion. Stoecker stepped down as chief executive on Oct. 5, and took the executive chairman role. He was succeeded as CEO by Silicon Valley veteran Mark Anderson.
Alteryx has been one of the fastest growing and most closely watched OC tech companies in recent years. Alteryx counted 6,714 customers as of June 30, a 27% increase from 12 months earlier.
The company’s software allows data workers to turn huge amounts of information into actionable business decisions. New customers using the company’s product earlier this year included Levi Strauss, Banco Santander and Qatar Airways.
The data industry is a $10 trillion to $15 trillion opportunity, Adams told Sabrina Bautista, a district sales manager at Cox Business Security Solutions, when receiving the award.
Adams said the goal is to have business decisions based on data instead of “what my gut’s telling me, or what we’ve always done.”
Interest in Alteryx has often spread by word of mouth by data scientists.
“My biggest reward is when a customer, a user says to me ‘Libby, Alteryx has changed my life.’”
Every so often, she’ll write a blog post on Alteryx’ website, such as discussing COVID in March where she announced continued free trials for data workforces and free licenses to nonprofits, educators and students.
In May, Alteryx announced a program called Advancing Data & Analytics Potential Together (ADAPT) where new graduates and unemployed data workers are granted access to free data science and analytics learning courses. Five months after it began, the program helped more than 11,000 individuals in 135 countries, the company said in October.
The Alteryx company website says Adams “is obsessed with providing an amazing customer experience.”
“My privilege as chief customer officer is to get to really understand what our customers are experiencing from us, what it is that we can do better, what it is that we’re doing really well for them and how we can improve and continue that journey with them as they’re scaling their analytic prowess within their own organizations,” she said.
Adams finds herself paying close attention to employees at the company she co-founded.
She finds it rewarding “when a co-worker tells me how much they love their job, love working at Alteryx, love hearing success from our customers or that working at Alteryx has changed their life because they love what they get to do each day.”