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First-Time Entrepreneur at 37: Okta CEO Todd McKinnon (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 4th 2013

Sramana Mitra: Would you provide some information about your company’s product? What did you ultimately end up building?

Todd McKinnon: The product is an identity management system for applications on-premise or in the cloud. It is delivered in the cloud. It is a system of record for which users are allowed to log in to which applications from which devices. That means it does enhanced security such as two-factor authentication, it does single sign-on, and it also does integration of user profiles. It can copy permissions and user accounts from different applications and replicate them. When a user joins a company, he or she can receive all the correct accounts, and if that person changes roles, then their account status can be automatically updated.

It works across mobile devices, web browsers, and for applications that are behind your firewall, all delivered as a cloud service that is centrally maintained and packaged by us.

Sramana Mitra: Obviously the identity management space is a competitive space with a lot of players. How do you position the company?

Todd McKinnon: The main positioning is that we are a modern equivalent of a bunch of stuff that did not work. Our buyers are underwhelmed by the products that they have already had access to. They feel that other solutions are not as easy to deploy and do not work as promised.

Our positioning and messaging has been simple. We offer identity management that actually works. It works not only for the environment that companies already have, but for the environment that they will have in the future. As we have evolved and gotten into more complex IT environments we have developed a solution that is not just for cloud infrastructure, it is a solution that offers a comprehensive solution.

Sramana Mitra: If you look at what is happening in the marketplace, what old systems do you find yourself replacing most frequently?

Todd McKinnon: Computer Associates, IBM and Oracle all have big identity management suites. They have large products that were cobbled together through acquisitions. All the buyers know about those suites. There were also a line of players that addressed businesses a level below the enterprises. To companies in that space, identity management meant Active Directory.

They never had a legacy identity management system. Now with everything moving to the cloud and with the expanded use of mobile devices, have of their access comes from different places. They are now looking for something like Okta that can be the Active Directory of computing.

Sramana Mitra: How does your business split between the larger market that was dominated by CA, IBM and Oracle and the mid-major markets that relied on Active Directory?

Todd McKinnon: A lot of cloud companies have an SMB business. We don’t have much of that. Companies that are interested in Okta have more than 50 employees. A medium business for us means you have more than 50 and less than 1,000 employees. An enterprise is someone with thousands of employees. We have found that half of our business is above 1,000, and half of our business is below 1,000.

This segment is part 6 in the series : First-Time Entrepreneur at 37: Okta CEO Todd McKinnon
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