Authzed scores $3.9M seed to build permissions API service

Ron Miller
·2-min read

Authzed, an early-stage startup that wants to make it easier for developers to build permissions in their applications, announced a $3.9 million seed round today. The investment was led by Work-Bench with participation from Y Combinator and Amplify Partners.

CEO and co-founder Jake Moshenko says the service is an API that is designed to help developers quickly add permissions to an application. "Authzed is a platform to store, compute and validate application permissions. So based on our experience at Google and Red Hat and Amazon, we think that this is the proper way that companies should be doing application permissions," Moshenko told me.

The way the service works is by helping to define groups of users, and based on the membership of a given group, defining what data they can see and what functions they have permissions to access. While it may rely on Active Directory or LDAP as the basis of permissions groups, he says that it simplifies the actual permissions implementation.

"So, by itself Active Directory doesn't actually fully solve the problem. You still have to bind that group membership to a set of permissions that it implies. With our system, you can actually unify the way that you talk about both the permissions and group members," Moshenko said.

The company has built out the framework for the service, but Moshenko says the links to Active Directory and other directory services are on the road map. For now, they have been working with design partners to get the basics of the product down, and today the company is opening the service for any developer who wants to use it.

For starters, it will be free, but over time he expects they will have pricing tiers. He likens his service to other API companies like Twilio for communications or Stripe for payments and expects the cost will be low when an application is just starting out and then go up over time as it gets more popular and needs to check the permissions more regularly.

It's early days for the company; other than the three co-founders, they have just one employee. The plan is to hire additional engineers using the money from this round, while trying to build traction in the developer community for the product. He says that the number of new employees they add this year will really depend on how well the product is doing in the market.

The founders previously founded Quay, a private registry for Docker containers, which they sold to CoreOS in 2014. Red Hat bought CoreOs in January 2018 for $250 million. IBM then bought Red Hat for $34 billion later in the year.