Todd Olson of Pendo Photo

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For Todd Olson's third startup act, he's kept a low profile—quietly building a team at HQ Raleigh and designing a product to solve one of his biggest problems in his last role as vice president of products at Rally Software. 

The software platform called Pendo—which is defined 'to weigh or judge'—compiles and analyzes the data product managers need to make the right decisions about the development of software. It helps those product managers make sure customers actually use the features developers spend the time to create.

Today, the company announces its first $1 million in funding from Core Capital Partners of Washington D.C. (which also funded Olson's last company 6th Sense Analytics and is an investor in Raleigh-based KnowledgeTree ), Contour Venture Partners of New York, local IDEA Fund Partners and angel investors, including former executive vice president of Salesforce.com and president and COO of SmartRecruiters Brett Queener of San Francisco. 

It also goes public with the product for the first time. Olson is confident he and cofounder Erik Troan (formerly founder of rPath and VP of engineering at Red Hat) have built something great, and 35 early SaaS customers have affirmed it. The men are banking on the continued growth of the cloud—with SaaS companies projected to grow revenue 21.3 percent annually through 2016

Olson sat down with ExitEvent last week to talk about his new company, and share the lessons he's learned from his past businesses. He's felt success and failure, raising $17 million for a startup he launched out of college at Carnegie Mellon University, and then laying off most of the workforce and shutting it down after the dotcom bubble burst. He had better luck in the mid-2000s, when he raised money to build up 6th Sense Analytics and then sold it to Rally Software, which eventually filed an IPO. 

Watch the full interview below. And for details on Pendo's funding, here's the release.

Credit: Ryan Timms