Smartsheet IPO filing reveals it's paying an exec it poached from Amazon more than its own CEO

Key Points
  • Smartsheet executive Gene Farrell was in the news last year, after he joined the startup from Amazon. Amazon filed a non-compete suit against him over the move.
  • Smartsheet competes with Google and Microsoft, among other companies.
Smartsheet senior vice president of product Gene Farrell, formerly a vice president at Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Source: Smartsheet

Project management software company Smartsheet revealed in its IPO filing on Monday that Gene Farrell, an executive who joined from public cloud provider Amazon Web Services last year, is receiving more compensation than Smartsheet's own CEO, Mark Mader.

The pay details suggest that for a smaller company, experience at Amazon's market-leading cloud business is highly valued.

According to Smartsheet's form S-1, kicking off the process for the company to go public, Farrell was paid $2,689,869 in total compensation in the year that ended on Jan. 31. In the same period Mader received $1,898,123.

Farrell, Smartsheet's senior vice president of product, was in the news last year, after AWS filed a non-compete suit against him.

Farrell, 51, spent five years at Amazon. He had been general manager of EC2 Windows, the computing resources which run the Windows operating system on AWS, and Amazon Workspaces, which lets people run cloud-based virtual desktop software. More recently he was vice president and general manager of enterprise applications at AWS.

He joined Smartsheet in June.

Amazon sought a temporary restraining order to block him from starting to work at Smartsheet. But Amazon quickly dropped the lawsuit.

Farrell cited compensation as one reason to leave Amazon in an email he sent to AWS CEO Andy Jassy.

"Without getting into all the details, the expected ROI over the next four years from joining the startup is 3x to 6x the total compensation I expect at Amazon," he wrote.

IPO details

The 13-year-old company is aiming to raise $100 million in its IPO, on which the lead banker is Morgan Stanley. It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol "SMAR."

Its filing revealed fast-growing revenue but ballooning losses. In the fiscal year ended January 31, 2018, revenue grew 66 percent from the previous year, from $67 million to $111 million, as net losses from the business more than tripled, from $15 million to $49 million.