Todd and Freddy

“Pardon but I gotta question of life now
Look at the n!*g& next to you right now
Is he real, fake or scared?”
–Nas, Smokin’

When I first met Todd and Freddy, they were two guys with an idea. When Todd and Freddy first met Marc and me, we were two guys with an idea plus a couple of folding tables. We did not have a projector and they did not have a pitch deck, but I loved the idea  — that they would reinvent directories and, by extension, corporate identities in the cloud and by doing so would be in the center of the modern corporate application architecture. Todd’s experience building a large scale, highly reliable SaaS application at Salesforce.com was exactly what was needed on the technical side and Freddy’s go to market experience was the perfect compliment. I felt like I really understood them and they really understood me  —  we saw the world in the same way and might be able to work together.

I was excited to take my first board seat and I described my rationale here: http://a16z.com/2010/07/13/how-we-picked-our-first-cloud-investment/.

I was excited, but the first couple of years were tough times. So tough that they’d make most people want to quit. Sales were slow, and money was running low. Faced with the prospect of running out of cash and no way to raise, it would have been easy to hide from the problems, make excuses or give up. Todd and Freddy felt the pressure, but they did not succumb to it. They reworked the strategy, improved the team, and found the way out.

From there, they built an amazing team and an impressive business.

To make a very long story super short, 7 years after that initial investment, Okta issued a successful initial public offering (IPO). More importantly, they have become the Cloud Identity company. Through relentless hard work, determination and ingenuity, they defeated their startup competitors and fulfilled their original vision.

It’s also been nearly 8 years since we started Andreessen Horowitz and I’ve learned a great deal in that time. Perhaps the most important lesson is this: always ask yourself: “Are these the kinds of people who I want to be in business with?” I can think of no entrepreneurs who I’d rather be in business with than Todd McKinnon and Frederic Kerrest. Congratulations to the Okta team. You deserve it.

 

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

 

 

 

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.