While Everbridge recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, the last few years have been some of its busiest and most challenging.
Founded following the Sept. 11 attacks, Everbridge has grown from a company focused on emergency notification to a more comprehensive critical event management platform that includes mass notification, travel risk management, analytics and contact tracing -- elements that were key at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and are still important for businesses.
In the middle of the pandemic, Everbridge dealt internally with the abrupt resignation of its CEO, a sharp drop in stock price, and an activist investor that called for the company to explore a sale. Everbridge has also had layoffs, bringing its employee count down from about 2,000 last year to about 1,700. The vendor, based in Burlington, Mass., claims 6,500 customers.
David Wagner, who took over as Everbridge president and CEO in July 2022, recently apologized to one of those customers -- the state of Florida -- for a test alert that mistakenly went out to millions of residents' cellphones at 4:45 a.m. on April 20, caused by human error.
Wagner said in a post on Everbridge's website that the company has since added safeguards to the platform so clients only receive messages when necessary. In the week following the incident, Florida canceled its contract with Everbridge. It later rescinded the termination and instead modified the end date of the contract to Dec. 31, 2023, with an option for a six-month renewal to June 30, 2024 -- the original length of the contract -- according to an 8-K filing.
Everbridge declined to comment on the reversal. But in this interview with TechTarget Editorial, conducted before the incident occurred, Wagner touted its public warning system that serves customers as big as entire countries. He provides more detail on Everbridge's focus, how it's helping people in Ukraine and the state of the company.
Editor's note: The following has been edited for length and clarity.
How is Everbridge critical event management helping businesses continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic?
David Wagner: It used to be that resiliency around office locations was our primary focus. Now with work from home or work from anywhere, there's a large fragmentation of where people are. In some ways, that creates resiliency. But in most ways, if you extend your duty of care to employees who aren't in the office, that's creating a much larger risk surface. Our customers are finding increasing value in our platform because they're looking at thousands of working locations, not dozens and hundreds.
What is Everbridge doing to help businesses that have a presence in the Ukraine?
Wagner: I was with a major financial payments processor in Singapore -- this customer has customers all around the world. They were tracking, with amazing precision, the safety of every employee and their family in Ukraine. They have the map using our technology to correlate where they are so they have real-time updates, checking in every day. Those [few dozen] employees in Ukraine -- they're tracking them all every day, and they have evacuation plans for the employees and their insured dependents.
You have previously spoken about increasing the use of AI and machine learning. What's new for Everbridge critical event management in that area?
Wagner: That's a place I think we're strong and we're getting stronger. We make significant investments both in our AI/ML team and in the data feeds that we help our customers bring in from our partners. We've been improving our use of AI/ML and our data pipeline to make the data that already is in our platform even faster and even more accurate for the points of presence for our customers. We're investing in AI in our core data platform.
What is Everbridge's focus going forward?
David WagnerPresident and CEO, Everbridge
Wagner: We launched into pre-release a technology we're calling Everbridge Flow Designer. It's extending the incident management capability of our platform right into whatever workflow tools our customers use, but primarily Teams and Slack.
We've done some great technology around AIOps. In our XMatters platform, we use AI to help incident commanders think through or propose things that they should be thinking about. … It's using AI tools to help accelerate the time to resolution. By bringing Everbridge Flow Designer -- which is the XMatters workflow technology -- across the broader core platform, we'll be bringing the same kinds of AI tools to the physical security incident commanders.
Is the workforce restructuring settled?
Wagner: I disdain layoffs and restructuring. Obviously, I wouldn't have done it if I didn't feel it was necessary. We did that to drive this absolute confidence in the capital structure, the company and our strength going forward. So yes, we did a restructuring.
I'm pleased with where we landed the management team. I think that we're in a steady state now and ready for the next major leg up here at Everbridge from a team perspective.
Is Everbridge being acquired on the table at all?
Wagner: The absolute answer from a rumor perspective: No.
Am I open to shareholder value creation? Always yes. The board and I are focused on shareholder value creation. In my career, I've had opportunities to create shareholder value lots of different ways. Way No. 1 is keeping our head down and executing on profitable growth. We're focused on executing our organic growth path forward -- unless there's a disruption possibility through it, through somebody who has a disruptive shareholder value creation event. I'm always willing to entertain those, but I'm focused on driving organic shareholder value.
Paul Crocetti is an executive editor at TechTarget. Since 2015, he has worked on TechTarget's Storage, Backup and Disaster Recovery sites.