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Auth0, a cybersecurity software company started by a Microsoft veteran, scooped up $103 million and says its valuation doubled to over $1 billion in just 12 months

Business Insider | May 20, 2019, 06.30PM IST

Eugenio Pace

Auth0

Auth0 cofounder and CEO Eugenio Pace

  • On Monday, cybersecurity company Auth0 announced it raised $103 million in Series E financing led by Sapphire Ventures. The round valued the company above $1 billion, double its $500 million valuation just one year ago.
  • The company's software allows users to safely and securely log into a wide range of online services, from e-commerce sites to smart home devices to social platforms.
  • Cofounder and CEO Eugenio Pace told Business Insider that, as companies accelerate the adoption of complex technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, the tools needed to safely and securely authenticate user information will have to be just as complex.
  • Auth0 also allows users to log into platforms using their social media accounts like Google and Facebook, and so has to act as intermediary if those platforms enforce stricter privacy and data sharing rules.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

With a new security breach seeming to make headlines every week, keeping user data secure has become quite a growth business.

Enter Auth0, a cybersecurity software company that manages user authentication and secures the login pages for some of the largest consumer and enterprise businesses. On Monday, Auth0 announced it doubled its valuation to more than $1 billion in just one year with its $103 million Series E funding round.

Existing investor Sapphire Ventures led the round after leading the company's 2018 $55 million Series D that valued the company above $500 million, disclosed for the first time to Business Insider. Other existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, K9 Ventures, Trinity Ventures, Meritech Capital, Telstra Ventures, and World Innovation Lab also participated in Monday's round.

"It's a problem space that is very, very complicated," Auth0 cofounder and CEO Eugenio Pace told Business Insider. "Making mistakes have dire consequences, it opens the door to get access to your information and your customer data. No one wants to be on the cover of newspapers with another breach and have all that information out in the open. There is an appreciation of the complexity of the problem and so, many companies know it is better left to the experts in the domain, which is us."

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Pace, who previously led Microsoft's developer program for 13 years, said that Auth0's approach is unique because it empowers developers.

In the past, Pace explained, corporations that purchased security tools didn't see themselves as software companies, and so user authentication and security was an afterthought left to the IT department. With the ubiquity of smartphones, smart home devices, and complex authentication tools like biometrics, Pace said every business needs to be able to adapt to changing user expectations and complex technology without sacrificing the user experience.

"How it's been, the more secure you want to be, the worse user experience it is," Pace said. "Your typical consumer has the thermostat, the phone, a smart TV, and an Echo device, and all these devices and the system need to be interconnected to know who you are, so the complexity will only increase. We are resolving this tension between user experience and security that has traditionally been at odds."

Solving a problem that 'is not new'

Part of Auth0's appeal, Pace explained, is that it acts as an intermediary between its customers and social media sites like Facebook and Google that allow users one-step login using social media accounts. According to Pace, Auth0 is fully responsible for maintaining the software and is able to manage changes required by changes to privacy or security policies those platforms enact.

"Because we are the intermediaries, we can do things no one else can do. For example, we can observe behaviors of users that are suspicious, like the location of a login that is an anomaly, and alert the application."

Auth0 currently has 7,000 global customers with plans to expand with its boost in funding, Pace said, but its service will remain the same as they were when Pace started the company in January 2013.

"The problem in itself is not new. Since computers were built, we've had to identify who was a legitimate user and who is not and what those users can do," Pace said. "But the way we are solving it and approaching it is quite unique and different from how it was solved in the past."

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