Managing passwords and log-in details has become draining with all the personal and work accounts you need to access regularly and all the different password requirements. Beyond Identity simply wants to eliminate passwords all together through its encrypted, certificate authorization platform that provides a more secure and pleasant login experience. Beyond Identity’s API based-service integrates seamlessly with customer-facing apps and can help businesses such as online retail and banking, which are responsible for protecting millions of customer passwords and user IDs. In addition to helping businesses protect the integrity of consumer data, Beyond Identity offers solutions for workforces with single sign-on technology.
AlleyWatch caught up with CMO Patrick McBride to learn more about Beyond Identity’s solution and why the exceptional founding team, consisting of serial entrepreneurs James Clark and Tom Jermoluk, is on a mission to eliminate passwords. Clark has built numerous companies including Netscape (acquired by AOL for $4.2B in the ‘90s), Healtheon (merged with WebMD), and Silicon Graphics (made visual effects for films like The Terminator). Jermoluk was the CEO of At Home Network from 1986-1996, a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins, and served as President and COO at Silicon Graphics.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Beyond Identity has raised $30M in Series A funding from co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, LLC (KDT), and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
Tell us about the product or service that Beyond Identity offers.
The company is delivering, for the first time, a fundamentally secure solution (based on industry-standard certificate chains) for passwordless identity management that requires no changes to security infrastructures, completely removes login friction for end-users, and provides consumers with a more secure alternative to password managers.
The Beyond Identity solution, a highly scalable, cloud-native platform comprises the Beyond Identity app (iOS, iPadOS, macOS, Windows, Android), and the Beyond Identity cloud services. Beyond Identity for Workforces integrates with single sign-on (SSO) solutions as a delegate identity provider, while Beyond Identity for Customers provides API-based services or an SDK for integration with customer-facing apps.
Leveraging proven TLS and X.509-based asymmetric-key cryptography at its foundation, the Beyond Identity app is effectively a personal certificate authority (CA) on each device, protected by the secure enclave. Private keys are stored within the secure enclave and never leave the device, while the app handles authentication challenges – which come from the cloud services either directly or delegated through SSO integration. The app also executes certificate signing functions and provides user self-service-based migrations and recovery.
What inspired the start of Beyond Identity?
The successful and innovative history and continued collaboration in the present day between Silicon Valley icons Jim Clark and Tom “TJ” Jermoluk laid the groundwork that would later become Beyond Identity. Their relationship brought them to revisit inherent identity weaknesses that existed from the early days of the Web and drove them to go back to the core foundation to “reboot” primary authentication. Now, through Beyond Identity, Jim and TJ are promoting a better way to authenticate by eliminating passwords once and for all.
How is Beyond Identity different?
The Beyond Identity Cloud increases both usability and security simultaneously by replacing passwords with a secure Chain of TrustTM. In addition to passwordless logins, the solution creates an immutable record of the security posture of the device that is being used to log in – providing customers with a policy-driven way to make adaptive, risk-based authorization decisions. This makes Beyond Identity is the first and only company to provide passwordless identity management.
What market does Beyond Identity target and how big is it?
Beyond Identity targets the identity and access management (IAM) market, which multiple analyst firms estimate to be worth over $20B and growing rapidly.
The initial targets are businesses with an acute need to dramatically improve workforce and customer authentication and eliminate the risk of central password databases.
Beyond Identity will also target individual consumers who hate passwords, struggle with password vault usability and security, and don’t trust the “login with” solutions offered by companies who monetize user data.
What’s your business model?
We deliver a cloud-based service that provides passwordless identity management. The service is sold as an annual subscription SaaS based on per user/per month pricing.
The company has a direct sales organization and will leverage channel partners as an important piece of its go-to-market strategy. We are actively recruiting security-minded solution providers with strong customer relationships who advise these customers on innovative security solutions. Partners, who possess an understanding of identity management and work with access management vendors, such as Ping Identity, Okta, and ForgeRock are an especially strong fit. Beyond Identity enables these partners to extend the value of their customers’ access management implementations with a tightly integrated solution that eliminates passwords and provides an effortless login experience for users while protecting their customer’s enterprise investment in identity and access management (IAM) systems, and drastically improves security for all.
Who do you consider to be your main competitors?
The main competitors in the IAM market include Auth0, HYPR, Secret Double Octopus.
What was the funding process like?
Cofounders Jim Clark and Tom “TJ” Jermoluk have been working with NEA for the better part of 35 years. NEA was the initial investor into Silicon Graphics and they have partnered on other transactions over the years. Jim and TJ have also invested with the KDT team in the past, with companies such as Ibotta.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
There were no real challenges.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Both major investors, KDT and NEA, were early customers of ours. They saw first-hand how Beyond Identity delivers a fundamentally secure solution for passwordless identity management that requires no changes to security infrastructures and completely removes login friction for their end-users.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Once the initial enterprise customer base is established near the end of 6 months, Beyond Identity aims to expand its product offerings to the consumer market as a secure alternative to password managers.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Focus on perfecting your product or service, secure early customers, and gather as many influencer references as possible to entice potential investors down the line.
Focus on perfecting your product or service…gather as many influencer references as possible to entice potential investors down the line.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Rapidly grow initial customer base through technology partnerships with access management vendors. Integrations with partners’ single sign-on solutions such as Ping, Okta, and ForgeRock will provide the means to reach enterprise customers quickly. From there, Beyond Identity will set its sights on the consumer market.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Eataly is a fun, unique, food court-style restaurant with fresh and delicious Italian favorites.
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