An Interview with Entrepreneur Pamela Pecs Cytron

Pamela (Pam) Pecs Cytron has more than 30 years of financial services technology industry experience including successfully growing companies from start-up to operationally efficiency while consistently driving revenue increases.

Pam launched her current company, Pendo Systems, Inc., a New Jersey-based financial technology company in 2008. Pendo provides technology for the global capital markets industry and currently serves 25 percent of the US G-SIFIs and is specifically focused on extracting insights from unstructured data. In 2015, Pam pivoted Pendo Systems to create a machine learning platform that helps make financial institutions AI-ready by turning unstructured data in structured, AI-ready data sets at a machine scale.

Pam actively tracks industry trends and future opportunities. As a result, Pendo has received many accolades for their innovative products, for their team, and for Pam’s leadership herself. These accolades include, Pam named “Game Changer of the Year” and her nomination to participate in Fortune’s Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs. Pendo Systems was named one of the 20 Most Promising Companies in Capital Markets Technology and is a two-time winner of SWIFT’s Innotribe and Top Innovator Award.

In 2018, Pam was selected as a female leader globally to participate in the Vital Voices Women Global Ambassador Program. Her clear passion and energy for restoring trust in capital markets make her a frequent speaker for both importance of data transparency and innovation.
Pam has held senior management roles at SunGard (FIS), DST (SS&C), BlackRock, Netik, and Princeton Financial (State Street).

Pam’s leadership also extends beyond Pendo to serving the community at the local, state, and national level. She is the Board Chair of the National Youth Recovery Foundation (NYRF), a non-profit organization that supports young people in recovery from substance abuse. NYRF funds and promotes programs and public policy initiatives that increase access to treatment and aftercare, education, and career and social networks, and that remove barriers to sustained recovery. She is a breast cancer survivor and actively supports the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. She is married for 27 years and a mother of two (Samantha 19; Max 15) and also plays an active role in the public school system in Montclair, NJ.

Are you an entrepreneur looking for your MVP built? Get in touch with us at hello@devathon.com

Devathon has built software for companies backed by the world's leading investors like Betaworks, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, KPCB, Lightspeed and many more.

In the following interview, Pam talks about her entrepreneurial journey & what it takes to be a successful female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry of financial services

When did you first discover your entrepreneurial spirit and How is your entrepreneurial career developing so far?

I started selling software at age 17, so you could say I’ve had the entrepreneurial spirit since then. Being in sales has certainly helped me in my entrepreneurial career as it required me to develop a number of the skillsets you need to be successful as an entrepreneur; fearlessness; tenacity; and resilience to name just a few. As far as how my entrepreneurial career is developing I’ve managed to keep Pendo moving forward since 2007 with just one pivot that’s brought Pendo to where it is today; poised for success in the incredibly competitive ecosystem known as Fintech. As for how we will ultimately be judged, that I leave to others to evaluate.

Tell us about Pendo Systems. How did you get the idea for this project?

I spent my sales career, prior to starting Pendo, developing and selling back-office software so I know only too well the issues with back office/legacy systems and how difficult it is for them to connect and ‘talk’ to each other. That was when I first saw the scale of the issue not just around structured data, but the unstructured data that was, back then, clogging up billions of file cabinets. I knew then that this would be an issue that someone would have to solve. That was the insight upon which Pendo was built.

What has been the biggest success and biggest failure stories you went through?

I think one of my biggest successes and second only to assembling an incredibly talented and dedicated team of professionals is succeeding as a female-led company (we are a WBENC certified company) in the incredibly male-dominated world of financial services. And that’s not even talking about the start-up investment world which is even more male-dominated, but best not get me started on that topic. In terms of failure, as Pendo 1.0 we developed an incredible back-office software tool that we launched in 2008 – turns out, timing really is everything.

Looking back, what did you learn and what would you have done differently?

Oh boy, there’s not enough room to here to list all the things I’ve learned, or what I’d have done differently. But the most important thing I’ve learned is people are your most important product and choose who you bring into your start-up extremely carefully. Even the most experienced, brilliant, headline-grabbing hires you can make might not work out if you’ve not fully vetted them for cultural fit along with a proper skills assessment. In fact, it’s often the intangibles that matter most when hiring. What I’d have done differently: realized I needed to properly vet everyone I hired into Pendo sooner! The second lesson, diversify client base early if you are in the enterprise business.

In your opinion, what are the hurdles that keep people away from starting an entrepreneurial career? What advice would you give to the new entrepreneurs?

In the beginning, it’s all too easy to see the hurdles that seem to be in the way of you starting a new business. You have to realize they are only hurdles that can be jumped, not barriers blocking your way. Once you’ve leaped over one, say by getting started you learn quickly you just have to keep going. The best advice I can offer anyone starting a new business is to look long and hard at yourself in a mirror and only when you know, way deep inside your heart of hearts that you can take being continuously punched, continuously knocked down, and be able to get back up time and again, only then should you take the leap.

Could you recommend our readers one or two books that helped you during your entrepreneurial endeavors?

I think I’ve given most everyone who’s started at Pendo Tom Peters book, Re-Imagine. While he focusses on re-imagining existing businesses by finding new and unique strategies for overcoming outdated values that to me is what start-ups are doing, just in a much bigger way, and with more at stake. Re-Imagine is also a battle cry that all entrepreneurs instinctively embrace so I can think of no better book as it’s filled with lessons everyone can learn from.

Are you an entrepreneur looking for your MVP built? Get in touch with us at hello@devathon.com

Devathon has built software for companies backed by the world's leading investors like Betaworks, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, KPCB, Lightspeed and many more.