August 3rd, 2011
The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding
If you don’t know the story of Janrain, you should. It’s a story of perseverance, constant tweaking, and now a chunk of cash to help it grow and expand. You see, Janrain has just secured $15.5 million, making it one of the biggest startup wins in Portland in quite a while.
What does Janrain do exactly? Well, they allow users to use identities they already own to log in to a variety of sites and services, instead of creating a new identity for every single site they want to use. They let identities be distributed. So, for example, you could use your Facebook identity to log in to an MTV site.
“Social profiles are enabling brands to build deeper, more profitable customer relationships. To take advantage of this opportunity, companies need proven identity management solutions that can handle the complexity of social data,” said Brian Jacobs, General Partner, Emergence Capital, which led the round. “Janrain is the leader in social identity management with the only SaaS platform that can meet the needs of any online business.”
But where Janrain has been is almost as interesting as where it’s going.
Janrain was one of the first companies I started covering here on Silicon Florist. Back then, they were one of the leading contributors to the OpenID project, a open system designed to facilitate the use of distributed identities. OpenID was early to the game and Janrain was right there with them.
But the market wasn’t quite there yet. Even though some of the early adopters were.
When they realized that remaining focused on OpenID wasn’t solving the market need, they expanded their offering. When Facebook Connect came around, they jumped on board. And as brands began to embrace the idea of distributed identity, Janrain was ready to welcome them with open arms. Err. Technology. Whatever.
“We are excited by the speed with which our solutions are being adopted by major brands, and this momentum has attracted Emergence Capital, the firm that has helped fund and build today’s leading SaaS companies,” said Larry Drebes, CEO, Janrain. “Social identity is experiencing explosive growth. As the pioneer of this market, we will leverage this investment capital to continue to drive the market forward and accelerate product innovation.”
And now all that shucking, jiving, and tweaking is paying off. With an investment that speaks to the value of the solutions they’ve built.
It will be interesting to see where they go from here.
For more information on the funding, read the press release or the coverage in The Oregonian, VentureBeat, Xconomy, GigaOm, All Things D, or ReadWriteWeb. Or you can always visit Janrain or follow them on Twitter as @janrain.