Traction Watch: Okta grows by embracing its frenemies

Traction Watch: Okta grows by embracing its frenemies

Identity management startup Okta is growing by leaps and bounds because of its willingness to embrace its biggest frenemy: Microsoft

Editor's note:  Traction Watch is a new column focused obsessively on growth, and is a companion to the DEMO Traction conference series, which brings together high-growth startups with high-potential customers. The next DEMO Traction will take place in Boston on September 16, 2015. Growth companies can apply to present, or those similarly obsessed can register here to attend.

Okta is a six-year-old identity management company that expects to make $100 million in revenue this year. The company has connected 3.4 million "identities" of users so far. It's a fast-growing startup and, as CEO and founder Todd McKinnon explains, one of the reasons for their growth has to do with "embracing their frenemies" -- a concept that seems counter-intuitive.

To bring this point home, McKinnon pointed out during a talk at DEMO Traction that one of Okta's main competitors is Microsoft, a company that is well-known for identity management. Okta has accepted the fact that Microsoft can help educate people and establish the market for cloud-based identity management. The tech giant can convince new customers of the need and value. Okta can then offer a solution that may not be a household name but provides complimentary services. Watch the video below to learn how Okta is making it pay to be frenemies.

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