by Scott McNealy
This past week of Father’s Day one of my four most important start-ups went public. I had a blast caddying for my oldest son, Maverick, at the U.S. Open. Super proud of what he achieved and couldn’t have had a better gift to a father.
In addition to caddying for my son, I’ve also been “caddying” as an advisor for ForgeRock, an amazing company with a foundation built from Sun’s open source identity initiatives. Rising stars in the tech world, the gang at ForgeRock reached another great milestone this week, securing Series C funding. Series C is led by Meritech Capital Partners. Paul Madera, co-founder and Managing Director at Meritech, will join the ForgeRock board and has an MVP background identifying exceptional investments in late stage companies like Facebook and salesforce.com.
Over the past 4 years I’ve watched ForgeRock build something incredible. They figured out how to transform identity from an internal, employee-centric technology focused on lowering support costs and compliance to an external, customer-centric platform focused on building relationships with any population, large or small. ForgeRock has figured out how to use identity to drive the convergence of cloud, mobile, social, and IoT to create the next major paradigm shift – the identity relationship management era.
Sounds cliché, but think about it. Identity touches absolutely everything online. Whether it is web applications, customer portals, SaaS applications, mobile applications, automobiles, set-top boxes, or wearable devices, the common thread across all of these offerings is identity.
Want to automatically allow your customers to save their driver seat preferences in the cloud so it can be used with any car you sell them? Identity required. Want to securely share online medical data to provide better results from your health monitoring wearable? Identity please. Want to replace traditional home door locks with intelligent door locks that use biometric data to authenticate family members? You guessed it … identity to the rescue.
Every new cloud, mobile and IoT start-up sprouting up to change the world requires identity. Traditional IAM vendors are whiffing by still having one-dimensional conversations, focusing on yesterday’s challenge, the employee. That’s a competition in a race to the bottom. You still need to protect employees but the more exciting part is using identity to have smart customer conversations with prospects and customers that separate you from your competitors. ForgeRock is paving a new path to do that and I expect to see a lot of big things from them over the coming years.
And as I said long ago and still believe, knowing “Who’s who, what’s what and who gets access to what” is the holy grail of online activity.
I love watching my Sun employees kick butt and take names. Keep it up ForgeRock!