You might not have heard of AppDynamics, but there’s a good chance you’re among the millions of beneficiaries of this software company’s technology if you’re using the apps of businesses including Carhartt, eHarmony, DIRECTV, Nasdaq, United, Vodafone, and many others. “We sell software to the world’s leading companies that helps them avoid performance issues so their apps run perfectly,” explains Dan Wright ’09, COO of the company. “If an app crashes, customers are likely to delete the app or find a different vendor, and that directly impacts the bottom line.”
Wright found his way to AppDynamics through Goodwin Procter, where he spent three years helping the firm launch its technology practice. AppDynamics, a client, was a relatively small start-up with about 150 employees and minimal revenue when Wright came on board in 2013 as director of legal and assistant secretary. “When I got here, we were a true start-up with minimal infrastructure, especially within the corporate [and general and administrative] functions,” he recalls.
The AppDynamics software was so successful that the company planned to go public in 2017—but technology giant Cisco Systems stepped in the day before the IPO and bought it for $3.7 billion. By the time of the acquisition, Wright had moved up to the position of senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary. Under Cisco, he was appointed COO of AppDynamics.
“Tech is a unique industry, where you can have a career path like mine—from law firm to first lawyer in a true start-up to almost going public to being acquired,” says Wright. “That kind of growth at the company level presents opportunities for growth on a personal level, especially for lawyers, since a legal background is uniquely suited to a leadership position in these companies.”—By Maura King Scully