Photo: Julie Bort/Business Insider
Cloud-security startup Okta just raised another a $25 million.That’s good news now that a bunch of big enterprise-software companies want to eat its lunch.
Okta offers a service that lets businesses manage employee logins to various Web-based services the company uses.
Employee logins have always been a hassle to track, but with the advent of the cloud, it gets even tougher. Rather than issue usernames and passwords itself, the company’s at the mercy of third-party software providers. Okta pulls all that information from different services and stores it in a central location.
As a result, Okta is in a sweet spot within the industry. In 2012, it signed on 140 new enterprise customers and now counts 300,000 of its customers’ employees as users of its service.
That should grow as businesses adopt more cloud services—including specialised ones designed for their particular industries.
And that’s why big players like Oracle and Salesforce.com recently announced plans to offer competitive identity-management services.
While the competition from the big guys is worrisome, seeing them validate his business idea is sweet, Okta CEO and cofounder Todd McKinnon told Business Insider.
McKinnon was a onetime protégé of Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. He worked as senior vice president of engineering for Salesforce during its early years.
When he thought of the idea for Okta, he made the terrifying decision to leave his cushy job. That choice was not helped when Benioff declined to back the new startup.
Benioff’s brushoff didn’t hurt McKinnon for long. Okta became the first cloud startup backed by then up-and-coming venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Andreessen Horowitz is now well-known for its cloud investments, and Ben Horowitz sits on Okta’s board.
Sequoia Capital, another aggressive cloud investor, led the round. Other Okta investors include Greylock Partners, Khosla Ventures, and Floodgate. This funding nearly doubles Okta’s total raised to $53 million.