Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

ForgeRock, an Identity Manager, Lands $15 Million Series B

Don’t look now, but there’s another player in the identity-management business landing significant rounds of venture capital funding.

ForgeRock, a San Francisco startup led by a bunch of former Sun Microsystems execs, announced today that it has secured a $15 million Series B round of venture capital funding. Accel Partners, which led its $7 million Series A last year, also participated. Warren Weiss, a general partner at Foundation, will join the board of advisers.

I say “another player” because identity and access management is sort of a hot area these days. For one thing, companies are adding all sorts of cloud services to the mix of their IT operations, so there’s a significant need to make managing all the account credentials easier.

The one that comes most readily to mind is Okta, led by Todd McKinnon, a former executive. It, too, has been raising a lot of money. And even is making noise about getting into the identity game.

ForgeRock’s approach is based on open source software to provide a single sign-in across pretty much any kind of cloud environment, including public, private and hybrid. It also works with lots of software-as-a-service applications and mobile apps.

So far it has about 200 customers, including Thomson Reuters, Vodafone, McKesson and AOL.

The team is led by Mike Ellis, a former SAP exec who has also spent time at Oracle and Apple. CTO Lasse Andresen was also CTO for Sun’s European divisions. Jamie Nelson, VP of Engineer, was Sun’s director of engineering.

Several of the senior execs hail from Sun and worked on its identity products, including Sun Director EE and OpenSSO. After Oracle closed its acquisition of Sun in 2010, Sun’s identity products took a back seat to existing Oracle products. Several members of the ForgeRock team bolted Oracle to start their own identity outfit based on open source approaches.

As it turns out, Oracle is ending support for certain Sun identity products, so ForgeRock is going after their customers, specifically marketing a “Sun Replacement” — essentially an upgrade from Open SSO to its own OpenIDM. So now their old employer is a competitor.

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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google