Developer Love: The Signal for BVP’s investment in Auth0

September 17, 2014
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Auth0

Identity management as a service for SaaS applications and enterprises

Investment Date: 
2014
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Developer love.  Auth0 has it in spades. That’s because Auth0 has tackled a huge pain point for developers. 

With just a few lines of code, SaaS vendors and enterprise developers can use Auth0’s Identity-as-a-Service functionality to connect their apps to a variety of identity sources (social, enterprise, or custom) making it easier—and more secure—for end users to sign in.  Developers love that!  That’s because identity and access management (IAM) must be perfectly executed, requiring robust and stable code.  Furthermore, the landscape of identity providers is constantly evolving, be it Facebook changing their API, Microsoft patching an Active Directory vulnerability by changing its interface, or a new enterprise identity source coming online.  The work of IAM starts to feel redundant (which goes against the developer mantra of DRY:  Don’t Repeat Yourself).  Mistakes can be incredibly costly.  It’s such a hassle that developers, and even business managers, prefer to outsource IAM to the experts.  (And, it’s not easy to find a developer who does IAM well.) Enter Auth0, a team with years of experience working on just this problem at market leaders such as Microsoft.  With Auth0 providing Identity-as-a-Service, developers can get back to their real work: apps.

Beyond authentication, Auth0 provides several features that developers love, including audit logs, analytics, and extensible rules. This last feature means that developers can use rules to extend the authentication pipeline to perform arbitrary operations: log activity to an external system; add extra validations on user access based on context such as date, time, device, network, application; etc. This gives the developer full control to execute additional authentication steps such as two-factor authentication—an increasingly common security measure.

The service is so valuable that Auth0 customers have taken to Twitter to express their love.  In fact, a quick Twitter search on Auth0 reveals mountains of praise, even complimenting the breadth, clarity and simplicity of Auth0’s technical documentation at http://docs.auth0.com.

To an investor looking to find the next great company serving developers, I say “developer love” is a clear signal for investment.

At BVP, when we see a company we love, we try to move fast.  In the case of Auth0, we had an agreement to invest less than 7 days after meeting the team.  Part of what enabled us to make that quick decision was Bessemer’s roadmap investing.  BVP roadmaps provide a deep dive into sectors or industries to provide a framework for understanding what the future of that particular space might look like.  These roadmaps enable us to recognize a future player before it becomes obvious. Auth0 was particularly exciting because it sits at the intersection of two roadmaps:  our developer platforms roadmap and our cyber security roadmap.

Our active roadmap around developer platforms includes our investments in Twilio (which was seeded by BVP), Sendgrid, Nitrous.IO (which was incubated at BVP), Intercom, and others.  This roadmap is focused on removing complexity from developers’ plates through cloud-based developer services.   For developers, Auth0 minimizes the complexity of connecting individuals to identity providers like Facebook and Google, as well as corporate Active Directory servers. Auth0 appeals to developers first and foremost with superior ease of use, technical documentation, and metered pricing.

Our cyber security roadmap has guided us through 20 years of steady investing in innovative startups that protect enterprises, governments, and consumers.  Auth0, with its focus on identity and access management, is a natural fit for our cyber security portfolio, joining recent BVP investments including Lifelock, Docusign, Endgame and Defense.net.