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.
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.