Authomize taps M12 Expert Network to bring automated authorization to the world
What does Authomize do?
Authomize delivers a unique automated identity and authorization management platform that helps companies address the universal problem of permissions management. Oftentimes, an enterprise will grant unnecessary permissions to systems and data because of a lack of visibility and controls, increasing security and compliance risks. Using an AI-based analytics engine, the Authomize admin time platform helps IT and security teams review current permissions and create an optimized authorization schema that can improve security, simplify compliance, and reduce administrative requirements. The cross-platform solution integrates with organizations’ SaaS, IaaS, and data, and it enables teams to go beyond simple role-based access control policies. Instead, they can use Authomize to implement granular authorization controls that follow the principle of least privilege, helping ensure that human and machine identities have only the access they need.
M12 invested in Authomize’s seed round in January 2020. “We ended up being oversubscribed, but I wanted to have M12 as an investor from the beginning,” explains Dotan Bar Noy, CEO of Authomize. “Even in the process of evaluating our company, M12 brought in experts on identity who provided insights and validation that I wanted to tap into going forward.”
Emerging from stealth with authority
Authomize was still in stealth mode when it joined the M12 portfolio, which gave the team time to develop its product use cases and messaging. During this period, the company relied on network contacts from its founders’ previous work experience to provide product feedback and guidance, but the team was looking for a more diverse set of advisers to provide input. Authomize realized that it would only get one chance at stealth emergence and wanted to make the most of the opportunity to develop a base of potential customers.
I wanted to have M12 as an investor from the beginning. M12 brought in experts on identity who provided insights and validation that I wanted to tap into going forward."
Dotan Bar Noy, Authomize CEO
Tapping the M12 Expert Network
One way that M12 adds value to its portfolio companies is by offering the opportunity to work closely with subject matter experts from Microsoft who can provide the specific guidance that a company needs. During the diligence and funding process, Authomize recognized the level of insight into identity that Microsoft could offer, and it chose to take advantage of the M12 Expert Network to review its go-to-market approach prior to stealth emergence. “We wanted to have our messaging crystal clear before we started going out and talking with customers to ensure that those conversations would be productive,” says Bar Noy. “We recognized that the M12 Expert Network was an opportunity to connect with an expert in identity solutions who could provide valuable feedback on our product development and go-to-market strategy.”
Ensuring that the pitch is on target
Ankur Patel, Principal Program Manager for Identity Growth at Microsoft, was selected as the expert for Authomize because of his deep experience with startups and identity-focused product development. To prepare Authomize for its stealth emergence, Patel immediately got to work with the team by talking through its business plan and pitch deck. “In the early days, we focused on storytelling, the audience, and differentiators. Later, we had more tactical discussions around product design and user experience,” explains Patel. “Authomize is unique in how it’s using AI and intelligence, but sometimes the team members focus too much on the technology. I try to help them zoom out and consider how the technology is delivering value to customers.”
Patel also helped Authomize refine the activities it had planned for the month of its stealth emergence, including launching its website, press releases, a webinar series, and calls with industry analysts. For Bar Noy, the direct feedback was invaluable: “I’m always learning on our calls. Instead of just hearing that everything looks great, we get advice from Ankur that makes our company and our product better.”
The relationship, which was supposed to be a six-month engagement, has continued to this day. “I’m happy to continue meeting with the Authomize team because it’s a two-way street,” says Patel. “They’re solving an important problem in our industry, and it’s great to be involved in that for as long as I can provide value.”
They’re solving an important problem in our industry, and it’s great to be involved in that for as long as I can provide value."
Ankur Patel, Microsoft Principal Program Manager for Identity Growth
Creating a worldwide brand
Using Patel’s input, Authomize updated its positioning, messaging, and demo environment to emphasize its unique value proposition. The team also used Patel’s guidance in preparing for analyst calls in which it made the case that Authomize is creating a new product category for automated user management.
When Authomize emerged from stealth in June 2020, its messaging was in order. By its initial product launch four months later, the company had developed a noteworthy reputation in the cybersecurity industry. Authomize had garnered positive analyst sentiment and several industry awards, and the company was named one of Cyber Defense Magazine’s Top 100 Cybersecurity Startups for 2020. “With the positive reception after our stealth emergence, we achieved our goal to increase customer engagement, and we’re now finding that 40 percent of our leads are inbound,” says Bar Noy. “Even though we’ve been very targeted with our marketing, we’re getting calls from companies around the world that want to learn more about our services.”
During its partnership with M12, Authomize has taken its product from the development stage to general availability and started building its customer base. “M12 has been a tremendous help for our development as a company,” concludes Bar Noy. “They helped us connect with industry experts inside and outside of Microsoft, find product experts within Microsoft, and it gave us exposure and credibility with our potential customers.”