December 7th, 2009
Rounding up the good news: JanRain secures $3.25 million in Series A funding
It’s always a good day when a Portland-area startup gets funding. And by that reasoning, today was a very good day. Portland-based JanRain—a company that started as an OpenID play and has since morphed into the way to simplify distributed Web logins across the board—announced that they had closed Series A financing to the tune $3.25 million. The round was led by DFJ Frontier. Especially considering this round has been rumored to be in the works since this summer.
So how did the market react? Well, there was quite a bit of coverage, so let’s take a look.
JanRain is really one of the only horses in this race, but the adoption of OpenID hasn’t exactly been stellar so far. Investors are now betting millions on the assumption that the Portland, Oregon company, founded in 2005, has what it takes to effectively mass market and sell authentication systems to website publishers based on OpenID and other online identity technologies.
Up ’til now, JanRain’s been sustained by some early angel investment and revenue from services it provided within the OpenID community. Now, it’s targeting a broader market.
First-round venture investments in software companies have been few and far between in the Northwest, especially in Portland. The money should help JanRain expand its efforts in online identity technologies, and will allow it to make new hires in sales, marketing, engineering, and customer support. The company, which has been supported by angel investors to date, currently has 12 employees.
One of the most vexing problems on the Internet remains the challenge of trying to remember passwords every time you visit a new Web site. JanRain is hoping it has the technological solution to help computer users overcome that challenge. And the Portland company — which has been developing online identity technologies for the past four years — has just scored $3.25 million in fresh capital to push the idea forward.
JanRain’s product is deployed by companies, including Sears, Tribune Interactive, FOX News, and EMI Music, so that visitors can sign in to those sites using the accounts they already have at other websites, such as Facebook, Yahoo, or MySpace. Users can also share their activities on multiple social networks.
Today, Portland-based JanRain (www.janrain.com) announced it has raised $3.25M in a Series A funding round from DFJ Frontier, RPM Ventures, and Anthem Venture Partners. We caught up with the firm’s CEO, Brian Kissel, to hear more about the firm and the funding.
No doubt—as you’ll discover from reading the posts above—one of the keys to JanRain lining up this capital was finding a new way to position the service they were offering. Moving away from being an “OpenID company” to become a company that had the capabilities to help with any sort of distributed identity system. And to allow anyone to easily implement that system.
That said, I’m still calling Portland the de facto hub of OpenID.
It’s great to see a Portland company getting attention from some of the bigs. And I can’t wait to see how they invest this new capital as they continue their pursuits with RPX.