Company news

The rise of the chief product officer

Published Jul 27, 2021

Not long ago, companies began to take a hard look at the millions of dollars they were spending on advertising and ask themselves which investments actually drive growth? There’s an old joke, “I know half of my marketing works, just not which half.” Thousands of tech startups formed to help answer that question—a market now worth north of $125 billion—and the chief marketing officer became the hottest title in the C-suite. 

Fast-forward to today. Now all eyes are on product. Today, Pendo announced $150 million in new funding to support the new hottest title in tech: the chief product officer, or CPO.

As people conduct more of their lives and work inside apps, the stakes are higher for product management. That’s why chief product officer is one of the fastest growing titles on LinkedIn, jumping 41 percent over the last three years. And, why dozens of startups have launched over the last decade offering tools to serve the CPO and the product team. Venture capital funding to these companies quadrupled from 2016-2020 to $885 million, and has already exceeded $1 billion in 2021. Chief financial officers don’t measure themselves on how many invoices they paid, and neither should CPOs report on how many features they shipped. They need to build the products customers want to use—and they need the tools and insights to know exactly what to ship. 

The emergence of systems of record (like Pendo) tends to be followed closely by the rise of specialized operations teams—after all, someone needs to operate the new tech stack. On cue, we’re seeing dramatic growth in the percentage of companies with a dedicated product ops team. Growth has ballooned from 20% in 2020 to 53% in 2021, according to the latest State of Product Leadership Report

This all adds up to a growing stack of software for product teams, akin to the Martech 5000. We call it “The Product Stack.”

How Pendo will support CPOs (and beyond)

Pendo made an early bet on the rise of the CPO. Our four founders—all product leaders—set out to create the product team’s system of record back in 2013. Now with 2,000 customers—from Morgan Stanley and LabCorp to Okta and OpenTable—and new funding led by B Capital Group, Pendo is realizing that vision and redoubling its efforts to build the most complete platform for product teams and their counterparts in IT who drive software adoption. 

The new investment will fund more aggressive global expansion and innovation across Pendo’s solutions for product teams and a new set of digital adoption solutions that help IT and HR teams ensure employees effectively use the software required to perform their jobs. Read the full announcement here

To learn more about the growing tech stack for product teams and connect with other CPOs and product / IT professionals, be sure to attend this year’s Pendomonium conference. Registration is now open for the October 13-14 event, happening live in Raleigh, NC. To celebrate our funding, we’re offering $150 off a ticket purchased with the code SERIESF—available only from 7/27 through 8/1. Register here.