Okta unveils $50M in-house venture capital fund

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Identification administration software program supplier Okta, which went public two years ago in what was one of many first pure-cloud subscription-based firm IPOs, needs to fund the following era of id, safety and privateness startups.

At its large buyer convention Oktane, the place the corporate has additionally introduced a new level of identity protection at the server level, chief working officer Frederic Kerrest (pictured above, proper, with chief govt officer Todd McKinnon) will unveil a $50 million funding fund meant to again early-stage startups leveraging synthetic intelligence, machine studying and blockchain expertise.

“We view this as a natural extension of what we are doing today,” Okta senior vp Monty Grey advised TechCrunch. Grey was employed final 12 months to supervise company growth, i.e. beef up Okta’s M&A strategy.

Grey and Kerrest inform TechCrunch that Okta Ventures will make investments capital in current Okta companions, in addition to different firms within the burgeoning id administration ecosystem. The group managing the fund will look to Okta’s former backers, Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock, for help within the deal sourcing course of.

Okta Ventures will write checks sized between $250,000 and $2 million to eight to 10 early-stage companies per 12 months.

“It’s just a way of making sure we are aligning all our work and support with the right companies who have the right vision and values because there’s a lot of noise around identity, ML and AI,” Kerrest stated. “It’s about formalizing the support strategy we’ve had for years and making sure people are clear of the fact we are helping these organizations build because it’s helpful to our customers.”

Okta Ventures’ first wager is Trusted Key, a blockchain-based digital id platform that beforehand raised $three million from Founders Co-Op. Okta’s funding within the startup, based by former Microsoft, Oracle and Symantec executives, represents its increasing curiosity within the blockchain.

“Blockchain as a backdrop for identity is cutting edge if not bleeding edge,” Grey stated.

Okta, based in 2009, had raised exactly $231 million from Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock, Khosla Ventures, Floodgate and others previous to its exit. The corporate’s inventory has fared nicely since its IPO, debuting at $17 per share in 2017 and climbing to greater than $85 apiece with a market cap of $9.6 billion as of Tuesday closing.


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