workOSa platform that allows developers to add enterprise features such as single sign-on (SSO) and directory sync to applications, today announced it has raised $80 million in a Series B funding round led by Greenoaks, involving Lachy Groom, Lightspeed Ventures and Abstract Ventures. The round’s closing coincides with the first acquisition of WorkOS: Modulz, the company behind Radix’s user interface (UI) framework. In a Q&A email from TechCrunch, CEO Michael Grinich said that both the money and the purchase will support WorkOS’ hiring and product development initiatives.
Grinich founded WorkOS in 2019, about three years after leaving Nylas, the eponymous company behind open-source email client Nylas, after Nylas shut down the app and switched to sales infrastructure. He said he was inspired to launch WorkOS by building enterprise systems and software such as SSO, audit trails, access control, and more. One recent interview of enterprise development managers found that 85% have a backlog of one to 20 mobile applications, illustrating the time-consuming nature of business application development.
“The services used by IT are highly fragmented. In identity systems alone, you have Okta, Azure AD, ADFS, OneLogin, Ping, Shibboleth, and dozens of others,” Grinich said, pointing to a frank blog A post by Roberta Arcoverde, CTO of Stack Overflow, who acknowledged that it took a team of three Stack Overflow engineers three months to add SSO to the company’s enterprise and business platforms. “This fragmentation creates a headache for developers who want to integrate all systems. And this is where WorkOS comes in.”
WorkOS offers a set of building blocks for adding enterprise features to applications, such as OAuth (to enable login with third-party providers including Google and Microsoft), email “magic links” for passwordless authentication, and support for SAML-based providers. (which allow users to use the same set of credentials on different websites). The platform can also help keep the application in sync with corporate employee directory systems, Grinich says, through a dashboard that allows customers to manage connected identity providers and directories.
“WorkOS helps companies become ‘ready for work’. This allows companies to quickly grow in the market and generate revenue efficiently. This is a big deal for post-product startups suited to the market,” Grinich said.
Grinich says WorkOS has over 200 paying customers today, including Vercel, Stripe, Scale, and Airtable. Objecting when asked about revenue figures, he stated that the latest round of funding was “very competitive”, noting that this resulted in WorkOS’s total fundraising being around $100 million.
“Sometimes we hear developers compare us to Auth0, but they are solely focused on authentication while WorkOS aims to address the broader ‘enterprise ready’ problem,” Grinich said when asked about competitors and target market. “We have not seen a slowdown here, but we are also an infrastructure company. Our growth is the sum of the growth of all our customers.”
The acquisition of Modulz is a testament to the ambition of WorkOS. Founded in 2018 by Colm Tuite and Stephen Haney, Dublin-based Modulz, which has raised $5.4 million from investors including LocalGlobe and Frontline Ventures, has sold a tool for designing user interfaces for websites, apps and services. Modulz is perhaps best known for its open source projects, the aforementioned Radix and Stitches, which provide components for building various design systems.
After the buyout, the entire Modulz team has joined the 40-person WorkOS workforce, where they will continue to work on UI components and maintain open source work, Grinich said.
Credit: techcrunch.com /