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Former Constant Contact CEO joins Somerville startup Pepperlane as chief product officer

Gail Goodman will be chief product officer.
Gail Goodman will be chief product officer.

One of Greater Boston’s most prominent female CEOs has landed her first full-time gig since selling her previous startup for more than $1 billion three years ago.

Gail Goodman, a former Constant Contact chief executive, has joined Pepperlane, a Somerville startup that provides software for mothers who want to launch businesses but have the flexibility to run them on a part-time basis. Goodman’s titles at Pepperlane will be chief product officer and cofounder.

It will be the first full-time job for Goodman since she led the sale of Constant Contact, the Waltham-based e-mail marketing service, to Endurance International in early 2016 for more than $1 billion.


Goodman has since been busy on corporate boards for Lola.com and Shopify. She has also been fostering entrepreneurship through mentoring and her roles on the boards of MassChallenge and Entrepreneurship for All, a nonprofit that helps startups in Gateway Cities.

Among the beneficiaries of that mentoring: Pepperlane chief executive Sharon Kan. The two first started talking in the summer of 2017. By January of last year, Goodman had agreed to be a formal adviser to Pepperlane, meeting with Kan regularly.

Goodman said she helped Kan raise $4 million in her first major round of funding, led by the California VC firm True Ventures. Accomplice, a Cambridge venture firm, also invested.

“We certainly encountered some challenges in the fund-raising along the way, particularly when we were dealing with all-male firms,” Goodman said.

Some of that money will be invested in payroll: Goodman said she hopes to more than double Pepperlane’s workforce of eight people by the end of the year.

The company has held a number of networking events and has more than 100 people signed up for its subscription software, for $249 a year. The membership provides online tools, such as invoicing and customer management services, and a matchmaking marketplace to help members find potential clients.


“We are acknowledging that these woman want to create businesses that are right for them,” Goodman said. “Looking to work during the hours their children are in school, rather than seeing that as underachievement, we see that as exactly the right thing for them.”

Kan offered to relinquish her job as CEO to Goodman, to help persuade her to come on board full time. Goodman declined.

“Just because I’ve done it before doesn’t mean I should do it again,” Goodman said. “It was the right thing for her to be CEO. . . . It’s her passion that started this.”

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.