By Peter High. Published on Forbes
It has been quite a decade for Frederic Kerrest. In 2009, he co-founded Okta after a long and productive stint at Salesforce. Since then, the company has gone from two to 1,300 employees, and has gone public. With a focus on web single sign-on, identity, and lifecycle management, Kerrest and Okta have become one of the ubiquitous digital native companies, leveraged by many household name companies.
As a firm that serves CIOs and CISOs in many cases, Kerrest had each of those roles at different times at Okta. He has ceded each, and now has people playing each role who not only run those internal functions for the company, but provide deep insights regarding the company’s product offering. In this interview, Kerrest talks about his entrepreneurial journey, the path to success, and what’s on the horizon for the company.
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Peter High: Since you co-founded Okta in 2009, the company has seen an enormous amount of change and growth. Could you elaborate on the genesis of Okta, focusing on what aspects from your prior experiences led you and Todd McKinnon to start the company?
Frederic Kerrest: All companies are becoming technology companies as they build applications and unlock new routes to the market that are engaging with their customers. Okta is focused on helping companies in this transition, both by improving the way they manage their extended enterprise, employees, contractors, and partners, as well as helping them improve their customer experience. Since starting in early 2009, we have gone from two to roughly 1,300 employees, zero to approximately $350 million in revenue, while serving 4,700 customers along the way. We went from two shared offices in one of my friend’s offices to ten locations in five countries. What is exciting is that from our perspective, we are just getting started.