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The Auth0 Team

Auth0, a Seattle startup that simplifies authentication for app developers, today announced a $2.4 million round from Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Portland Seed Fund, K9Ventures, and NXTP Labs.

Auth0 allows developers and IT managers to implement secure identification and authorization in their apps without writing complex lines of code. Apps using Auth0 also don’t require users to create new passwords when registering.

Auth0 CEO Jon Gelsey
Auth0 CEO Jon Gelsey

The service already has a customer base of over 8,000 developers and IT managers in the software, media, finance, and consumer sectors. With the new funding, Auth0 plans to build on its subscriber base and develop more robust brand awareness.

As part of the company’s new brand development strategy, Auth0 recently hired Microsoft veteran Gianpaolo Carraro as vice president of sales and marketing.

“We built Auth0 because we were annoyed about how hard it was to integrate identity into apps,” said CEO Jon Gelsey. “As identity experts, we knew it didn’t have to be that hard.”

We caught up with Gelsey for this installment of Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We help developers build secure apps that, among other things, don’t require users to create any more passwords.”

Inspiration hit us when: “Inspiration struck us when seeing so many developers wrestling with integrating identity into their apps. We knew it didn’t have to be that hard.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Form of the money is mostly irrelevant — it’s the value add behind it. David Cowan and his team are legendary for a good reason, they are really insightful. We’ve been really happy with the contributions of all of our investors and advisors — each has delivered a uniquely valuable perspective and experiences.”

AUTH0Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Well, having a really strong service with a complete feature set is critical.  We have a philosophy that I think sets us apart in the identity space. We care about design, we care about simplicity and we care about customer service experience.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Focus on the developer. Software is eating the world and it is thanks to developers.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “We can be too picky in hiring. We might have passed up some potentially great hires because we weren’t all completely convinced there was a fit.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “We’d be ecstatic to have any of them in our corner.  We particularly admire (and emulate) both Jobs’ focus on user experience and Bezos’ focus on customer satisfaction.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “We really don’t have a world domination strategy. We are just going to deliver the very best possible identity-as-a-service solution for developers.”

Rivals should fear us because: “Rivals fearing us does not interest us; we are much more interested in having our customers loving us.”


Infographic via Auth0
Infographic via Auth0

We are truly unique because: “We are relentless in putting the developer experience at the center of what we do. We are a company founded by developers for developers. We want the experience for developer to be awesome.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Hiring, since we only hire the best of the best, and we are hiring in the identity space, which requires very specialized knowledge. It’s hard when you only hire ‘A’ players and we feel very fortunate to have a dream team.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: ​”Convince David Cowan, Sunil Nagaraj and Manu Kumar to invest in you. They are incredibly insightful and are great human beings.​”

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