August 3rd, 2011

The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding


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.

So while other OpenID companies came and went, Janrain kept moving and changing.

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.

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21 Responses to “The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding”

  1. Aaron says:

    Back in the day (years ago… like 2 or 3) I was a huge OpenID proponent. I still am. That said… OpenID has failed. While there are a few sites that prominently feature OpenID logins, the public hasn’t bought into the idea of owning one’s identity, and is happy to allow companies such as Facebook or Twitter represent their online identity information.

    Then again, this is the same public that thinks Facebook is awesome. Yay farmville.

  2. This is great for Janrain and for Portland, Oregon. What doesn’t compute for me is why they had to go to Silicon Valley to get the capital.

    Portland needs to establish itself as a center of financing for the new economy.

  3. Rick Turoczy says:

    @ Stanley Because as has been proven, time and again, Portland capital is reticent, if not completely resistant, to funding Web and mobile companies. It’s simply not an area with which Portland money has much experience. Capital in Seattle and the Bay, on the other hand, (even to some extent Boulder and NYC) do have experience investing in those companies. So the startups go where the money is.

    At least we’re starting to break the chain of “relocate to the Valley/Seattle before we fund you.”

    That said, I’d like to see the local attitude change, as well.

  4. [...] 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. Tweet [...]

  5. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (3) [...]

  6. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (4) [...]

  7. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (5) [...]

  8. faddah says:

    yeah. it’s alive. just like the dream of the 90s. sleep ’til eleven. surf the web in coffee shops all friggin’ day. oh, potlandia!

  9. faddah says:

    p.s. — i still love OpenID and use vidoop! so there!

  10. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (6) [...]

  11. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (6) [...]

  12. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (6) [...]

  13. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (12) [...]

  14. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (13) [...]

  15. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (6) [...]

  16. [...] The dream of OpenID is alive in Portland: Janrain lands $15.5 million in funding (17) [...]

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