I’m excited to be able to announce our investment in another great Seattle-area company today: Auth0 just raised $6.9 million, led by Sunil Nagaraj at Bessemer Venture Partners, with support from Manu Kumar at K9 Ventures. This was a later and larger round than we typically participate in as a fund, but CEO Jon Gelsey very graciously went to bat for Founders’ Co-op as a local firm with a long-standing commitment to the topic.
We’ve been on the lookout for investments on this theme since early 2012, even putting out a “request for startups” (an idea we borrowed from Y Combinator’s Paul Graham) for teams working on solutions to the “Tower of Babel” problems created by the disaggregation of enterprise software. That post led to our first investment on this topic, an excellent company called Meldium. To avoid internal competition and divided loyalties, we try hard to avoid strategic overlap among the companies in our portfolio, so once we made that bet we stopped taking meetings with founders working on related themes.
We first heard about Auth0 in early 2014 and were eager to learn more about their approach, but couldn’t engage until early September of that year when Meldium was acquired by LogMeIn, effectively removing our potential conflict. Unfortunately, less than a week later Auth0 announced their seed raise, making it clear that we’d missed the boat (at least for the moment). Nevertheless, I got connected to Jon Gelsey through one of our LPs and started a conversation that led to our minority participation in the current round.
Once we were able to dive deeper on Auth0’s business it became clear that their solution sat at the intersection of two themes about which we have deep conviction as investors. First, they’ve created an elegant solution to one of the hardest problems created by the disaggregation of enterprise software (auth / identity / security); second, their solution is delivered as a callable service that is consumed directly by developers, allowing makers to solve hard technical problems more effectively, with less upfront effort and better long-term maintainability.
We couldn’t be more excited about where Auth0 is headed, or about the team of investors they’ve assembled to help them get there. Thanks to Jon + team for letting us participate in your journey!