Photo: Greylock Partners
Workday, on the cusp of a highly anticipated IPO, will be giving a big boost to another hot up-and-coming cloud startup: Okta.The two cloud companies announced on Wednesday that they are deepening their partnership.
Okta’s service—itself delivered through the cloud—lets enterprise companies manage the security of all of their cloud services.
Workday offers cloud-based human resources apps.
So the Okta-Workday deal lets Workday offer its customers enhanced security, while Okta gets access to Workday’s large customer base.
In the middle of it all is Aneel Bhusri.
Bhusri is an investor in Okta and sits on its board. He’s also cofounder of Workday.
Okta was founded by Todd McKinnon, who learned the ropes from Marc Benioff as an early employee at Salesforce.com. While Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff gave birth to the software-as-a-service phenom, Bhusri has quietly built an empire of some of the most successful next-gen SaaS companies around.
In addition to Workday and Okta, look at these others that Bhusri invested in:
ServiceNow: In a season of great enterprise IPOs, ServiceNow’s June stock-market debut stood out, earning the company a whopping $3.5 billion valuation. It was the first company to go public after Facebook.
Cloudera: Arguably the biggest of the Hadoop startups, founded by ex-Yahoo bigwigs. Cloudera was the one that snared Hadoop creator Doug Cutting away from Yahoo — though Yahoo later created its own Hadoop spin-out, Hortonworks.
Zuora: A hot cloud service that does invoicing and billing. It was founded by another early Salesforce.com alum, Tien Tzuo, with Benioff’s blessing (and some of his money).
Pure Storage: Pure Storage makes enterprise storage systems entirely out of flash memory. It’s lead by ex-Yahoo exec Scott Dietzen, a cofounder of Zimbra (bought by Yahoo for $350 million in cash in 2007). Dietzen is also a board member for Cloudera.
Tidemark: A younger cloud startup that only came out of stealth mode about a year ago, but with some power behind it. It was founded by ex-SAP exec Christian Gheorghe and last month landed Phil Wilmington as its COO. Wilmington had been co-president at PeopleSoft until it was acquired by Oracle. Gheorghe and Wilmington had run a previous startup together, OutlookSoft acquired by SAP in 2007.
Wilmington and Bhusri are former coworkers, too. In what has become tech industry legend, Bhusri started his tech career in the early 1990s at PeopleSoft, working his way up to vice chairman. He and PeopleSoft founder Dave Duffield unsuccessfully tried to save PeopleSoft from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s hostile takeover.
But now, Bhusri could be having the last laugh. Between his successful cloud startups, Oracle is threatened, as is SAP, another software giant PeopleSoft competed with.
Both are spending billions of dollars on cloud startups to catch up with the likes of Workday.
Some of that money may land in Bhusri’s pockets. So he’s set to win either way.
It’s good to be king of the cloud.
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