SaaS Identity Management Platform Vendor Okta Files for IPO
Identity-management startup Okta has filed for its anticipated IPO this week, planning to trade on NASDAQ under the stock ticker “OKTA.”
The Okta Identity Cloud platform helps approximately 2,900 business customers “securely connect people to technology, anywhere, anytime and from any device,” according to a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission on Monday.
According to the document, Okta is partnered with leading cloud vendors including Amazon Web Services, Box, Google, Microsoft, NetSuite, SAP, ServiceNow and Workday.
Okta says that risk factors include slowing demand for its software, increased competition, and failure to gain or retain channel partners.
The company earned $111.5 million in sales during a nine-month period that ended on Oct. 31, 2016, accounting for a 90 percent increase in sales from $58.8 million it reported in 2015 over the same period, according to Fortune. At the same time, the company, which was founded in 2009, reported a net loss of $65.3 million during that 2016 nine-month period.
After a slow year in 2016 for tech IPOs, the IPO of Snap has awakened investors in 2017. Okta was one of the technology companies expected to go public this year.
In a letter addressing investors, Okta co-founders said:
Thank you for considering an investment in Okta.
We started Okta because we saw a once-in-a-career technology shift taking place.
The word “Okta” is the unit of measure for cloud cover in meteorology. We thought that was a great name for a company focused on enabling its customers to adopt cloud computing.
When we started Okta, our first key insight was that the cloud would dramatically change the technology landscape. Every layer of the technology stack – from applications to infrastructure – would be reinvented as a cloud service.
The second key insight was one we learned from our customers (or prospective customers since we didn’t have any customers at the time). We met with them and asked them what pains they experienced when adopting cloud technologies. Over and over, issues around user identity and application access came up as a big challenge.
We listened to them and began to build an “Identity Cloud” that could securely connect all their users to all their applications from any location and any device. Enabling any company to embrace the cloud is at our core. We rallied around this cause and built a company to fulfill this mission.
Over the years, the Okta Identity Cloud has evolved to connect not just the cloud but on-premises applications, networking devices, mobile, external users and APIs. Our vision has evolved as well:
To enable any company to use any technology.
We are driven and inspired by this vision. The potential for today’s technology is great. The Okta Identity Cloud makes it possible to adopt this technology simply and securely at scale.
Our early experience listening to customers as we developed our product instilled Okta with a deeply held cultural value of customer success. This maniacal focus on listening to our customers and doing whatever it takes to make them successful is a powerful and infectious force.
We built the Okta Identity Cloud to be an end-to-end solution to solve a broad array of identity challenges. We didn’t want to hand off a toolkit or set of protocols to customers and “wish them luck.” We worked hard to pre-integrate the Okta Identity Cloud with thousands of applications – regardless of the APIs or protocols those applications supported. We built the user interface to be simple to use, with a clean and modern look. These product choices sound basic, but in our industry they were quite unique. Over the years, we have maintained our core values as we added new products and supported more use cases on the Okta Identity Cloud.
We have a saying internally: “Our people are our secret weapon.”
We’ve learned a lot building Okta, but the biggest lesson is that you have to have a great team. We’ve been very fortunate over the past eight years as we’ve gotten to work with a fantastic collection of folks, across many areas of expertise and around the world. The best part of our jobs is to see people grow and develop, from junior to senior roles, from individual contributors to managers, from up-and-comers to full-fledged leaders.
We’ve noticed a few common traits in all successful Okta employees. The first one is that they have a “builders and owners” mentality. They want to build something new and important, they want to drive the industry forward, they want to effect change every day. The second is that they share similar values: customer success of course, but also innovation, transparency and integrity. Okta employees operate with these values externally with our partners and customers, but also internally with each other.
The final common trait that we’ve seen in successful Okta employees is a strong desire to “do well by doing good,” to give back to the communities in which we live and work. Our Okta for Good social impact initiative was created as a vehicle to help employees give back by guiding Okta resources to nonprofits to enable them to achieve their missions faster.
We’re off to a great start. But this is just the beginning.
The opportunity for the Okta Identity Cloud, combining internal and external use cases across all of our products, is very large. And the wave is just starting to build. To reach our full potential we need to continue to assemble a team of owners and builders intensely focused on customer success.
We would like to leave you with our commitment. We’re committed to putting our customers first. We’re committed to finding the best people in the industry and unleashing the most they have to offer. We’re committed to always striving to do more today than we’ve done the day before. We’re committed to building a company that we can all be proud of.
We’re excited about what’s ahead. We thank you for considering an investment in Okta and welcome you to come along on our journey.
Todd and Frederic