WorkOS nabs $80M to speed up enterprise software development

WorkOS Inc., a startup that helps enterprise software companies build key application features faster, has raised $80 million in funding to grow its market presence.

WorkOS announced the funding round this morning. Greenoaks was the lead investor while Lightspeed Ventures, Abstract Ventures and more than a half dozen angel investors participated as well. WorkOS disclosed in conjunction that it has acquired venture-backed interface development startup Modulz.

When an enterprise deploys a new business application, it has to provide a convenient way for its workers to log into the application. To address this requirement, enterprise software makers ship their applications with pre-packaged features for processing employee login requests.

Building user sign-in features can often take months of work for software makers, according to WorkOS. The startup offers a platform that it says makes it possible to complete the task in just a few days.

One of the main challenges involved in building an enterprise application’s login features is the need to provide support for SSO, or single sign-on. SSO is a feature that enables workers to log into multiple applications using a single set of login credentials. Many enterprises require the feature because it streamlines the user experience for employees and can help improve cybersecurity.

Enterprises use identity platforms such as Okta to provide SSO capabilities for their workers. To support SSO, the maker software must integrate its application with the identity platform used by its enterprise customers. Building the necessary integrations is a complicated process that takes months in some cases.

WorkOS’ platform provides an application programming interface that abstracts the complex technical details involved in building SSO features. According to the startup, the API reduces the amount of custom code that developers have to write. It provides support for more than a dozen of the identity platforms that companies most commonly use to provide SSO features.

SSO support is not the only capability that enterprises require to ensure a streamlined application login experience for workers. Often, enterprise software makers must also provide directory integration.

A directory is a program that companies use to manage which employee can access what application and how. WorkOS offers a tool that enables software makers to more easily integrate their applications with their enterprise customers’ directory deployments. According to the startup, its platform enables an application to adjust user access permissions as requirements change.

SSO support and directory integrations represent “core requirements for large organizations when they evaluate and purchase software,” WorkOS Chief Executive Officer Michael Grinich explained in a blog post today. “Without these features, apps are not considered Enterprise Ready and likewise cannot be adopted by the biggest customers, regardless of how many employees like or need a product.”

Even if a software product offers pre-packaged SSO support and directory integrations, setting up the employee login workflow can be complicated for a software maker’s customers. WorkOS offers a console that promises to reduce complexity by centralizing the workflow in a single interface.

WorkOS has built up a customer base of more than 200 companies since launching in early 2020. Its customers reportedly include financial technology giant Stripe Inc. and Airtable Inc., a productivity startup that received at $11 billion valuation last year.

“By using WorkOS, these companies immediately accelerate their ability to sell to enterprise customers, resulting in faster sales and access to new markets,” Grinich stated.

The acquisition of Modulz, which WorkOS detailed in conjunction with today’s funding announcement, could help the startup expand its value proposition for software makers. Modulz offers a cloud service that eases the task of designing application interfaces. WorkOS could potentially use the service to help companies more easily build login menus for their applications.

Modulz has also developed a number of popular open-source design tools. The startup’s open-source portfolio includes the Radix interface development framework, which is downloaded more than 4 million times a month.

Besides providing advanced login features, software companies are also increasingly expected by enterprise customers to make their products available in the public cloud. A startup called Tackle.io Inc. raised $100 million in December to simplify this task. Tackle’s platform speeds up the process of making a software product available through the major public cloud platforms’ built-in solution marketplaces.

Image: WorkOS

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