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ForgeRock takes in $30 million, promptly trash-talks Oracle

Above: ForgeRock's chief executive Mike Ellis

Image Credit: Courtesy ForgeRock

Mike Ellis’ ForgeRock enterprise identification management and access (IAM) software outfit took in $30 million in venture cash this week.

IAM is crucial for big enterprise systems to function smoothly. IT managers use it to figure out who you are when you log in. It safely manages passwords, fingerprint readers, and access cards. Typically, this is the software that powers the interfaces that greet you when you forgot your password, prompting you for details like your mother’s maiden name.

The acute, enthusiastic Ellis wasted little time trumpeting the considerable capital investment that brings the company’s total capital raised to $52 million. Ellis launched the company in 2010, and now leads a 200 member team. Late stage specialists Meritech Capital Partners led the round, ForgeRock’s third. ForgeRock was originally born in Olso, Norway, but its headquarters is now in San Francisco.

The genesis of ForgeRock has its roots with Oracle’s purchase of Sun in 2010 for $5.6 billion. As the story goes, Oracle tossed out Sun’s identity management technology and went with its own internal, proprietary software, according to ForgeRock. Sun Microsystem’s co-founder Scott McNealy is now an advisor to ForgeRock.

With his $30 million funding in hand, Ellis wasted little time in launching a broadside against Oracle, whom he lambasted as unfit to hold the gold medal mantle of end-to-end enterprise systems.

Ellis acknowledged Oracle as a “core legacy player,” but said ForgeRock’s IAM solutions are more comprehensive when it comes to scaling with big enterprise. (Oracle is one of the most successful software makers globally.)

“When they (Oracle) try to succeed in a very large scale environment, they have trouble succeeding.”

While that bromide doesn’t jibe with Oracle’s actual success in “large scale environments,” the ambition and scale of ForgeRock is clear. Ellis asserts the company grew by 300 percent last year. It boasts 400 customers — Deloitte, McKesson, Toyota, Vodafone to name a few — in both the private and government sectors. All of them pay subscription fees for the honor of using it.

Oracle is indeed a sore spot for Ellis, who expended some effort in laying out why ForgeRock will beat the database giant.

Throwing salt into a still very difficult subject, Ellis laid much of the blame on the initial implosion of Obama’s once tottering Healthcare.gov initiative onto Oracle, which, he said, provided the feds with the initial IM software underpinning the system. Healthcare.gov survived, but barely.

Vitriol aside, ForgeRock is out for Oracle’s scalp, and other formidable competitors in the IRM/IAM space (Identity Relationship/Access Management) too, like CA Technologies, Ping Identity and IBM.

ForgeRock trumpets their mission thus:

“ForgeRock builds secure relationships across the modern Web including cloud, social, mobile, and enterprise environments. ForgeRock can extend identities to any “thing” connected to the Internet. We support mission-critical operations with a fully open source platform.”

Check out the ForgeRock for more details.

It remains to be seen whether Ellis and company will blaze the enterprise path they so heartedly desire. With no shortage of verve and an army of developers comfortable working open source, they stand a chance.

“The market is ready,” Ellis said, “to be transformed.”

More information:

Oracle is the gold standard for database technology and applications in enterprises throughout the world?the company is the world's leading supplier of information management software and the world's second largest independent software... read more »

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