How Stackery found its new CEO: Puppet exec Tim Zonca ‘met the spec’ for serverless startup

Tim Zonca will start his new role as Stackery CEO on Sept. 23.

The board of Portland-based startup Stackery had a specific wish list in its search for a new CEO after the company’s co-founder stepped down from the role.

Based on their belief that Stackery is on the right track with its technology for developing serverless applications, they wanted a leader with a track record of taking products to market on a large scale.

They also wanted someone with experience in sales and marketing for DevOps, the popular practice that combines software development and IT operations inside large companies.

And while they conducted a broad search, including candidates in the cloud infrastructure hotbed of Seattle, they were hoping to find someone already immersed in Portland’s unique tech culture.

One person’s name came up repeatedly not only for meeting those requirements but for his strong reputation as a leader, and today he was announced as Stackery’s new chief executive officer. Tim Zonca, previously senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Portland-based DevOps technology company Puppet, will start his new role as Stackery CEO and board member starting Sept. 23.

It happened “the old-fashioned way,” said Diane Fraiman, a Voyager Capital partner and Stackery board member. “It was through people that we trusted that knew us, and with a candidate that literally met the spec that we were looking for.”

Stackery makes technology that helps software developers write serverless computing applications, in which code is handled directly by the cloud and triggered by predefined events, avoiding the need to spin up and pay for virtual machines. Founded in 2016, the company is a graduate of the TechStars Seattle program. Stackery, which has more than a dozen employees, has been searching for a new CEO since Nate Taggart, the original Stackery CEO and co-founder, stepped down from the role in June.

Zonca led a team of nearly 40 people at Puppet. He oversaw the expansion of the company’s DevOps products across key markets in Europe and Asia, in addition to Puppet’s DevOps research team. He also ran Puppet’s alliances with companies including Amazon, Microsoft and Google, the cloud giants that operate the major serverless platforms.

He said he wasn’t looking for a new job, but after he was approached by Fraiman, he saw the potential to apply his experience in a new way.

“When we looked at what Stackery was looking for, as well as my background, it seemed like just a fantastic fit.” he said.

In his new role, Zonca will work in collaboration with Stackery’s product and technology leaders, Chase Douglas, the company’s co-founder and CTO; and Sam Goldstein, vice president of product and engineering.

Douglas said Portland benefits from active communities and businesses in the developers tools space. “Being able to find someone with Tim’s background and experience in that space, and being able to fill this great role to lead our company forward, is very exciting,” Douglas said.

Stackery so far has focused largely on Amazon Web Services and its Lambda serverless platform, and while the company’s executives declined to discuss their product roadmap, expansion to additional platforms from Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud would seem to be natural next steps. Stackery in July released a new tool designed to make developing and debugging Lambda serverless functions faster and more efficient for a wider range of developers, in their programming language of choice.

The privately held company doesn’t disclose specific financial results but says it has seen 350 percent growth in weekly users so far this year. Stackery has raised $7.3 million from investors including Voyager Capital, Steve Kishi of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Pipeline Capital Partners, and Founders’ Co-op.

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