With the explosive popularity of B2B services startups, it was only natural that a B2B startup would come along that's offering a service to help startups become enterprise services themselves.
WorkOS, which is launching out of stealth with seed funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and others, is building a toolkit to help startups meet the requirements for bringing on enterprise clients. The company aims to get startups set up with an API for single sign-on, directory sync, audit trails, role-based access controls and other key services.
As more startups look to approach enterprise from a bottom-up capacity and focus on creating individual use cases, quickly meeting IT administrators' expectations can become a shortcut to higher-margin customers. The inspiration for WorkOS came from its founder's previous email startup, which tried to make a play for enterprise adoption and clients but couldn't cross what he calls "the enterprise chasm."
"The feedback I got was, this is a great app but we can’t buy this as a company because you’re not enterprise-ready," CEO Michael Grinich told TechCrunch in an interview. "Even if you focus on the end user experience, there’s a different buyer at the end of that tunnel with a different set of needs."
Becoming enterprise-ready means meeting the same compliance requirements that IT administrators need to adhere to, something that can obviously be an issue for a small startup that's light on resources. On the security side, Grinich says that WorkOS is currently in its SOC-2 Type 2 observation period and should receive certification in Q2 of this year.
These are uncertain times to be a startup launching publicly, but Grinich's description of his company as a "highway onramp to get into [enterprise] ecosystems," seems apt for startups seeking to quickly build out new revenue streams. Right now, WorkOS operates across a few pricing structures, with a free tier that brings users single sign-on support, as well as a $99/mo developer tier and $499/mo corporate tier that scale up WorkOS's offered functionality substantially.
First Round, SV Angel, Abstract Ventures, Tuesday Capital and Work Life Ventures are also backers.