In October of 2021 I drove to Google’s Irvine office to turn in my employee badge and laptop. It was four years after Google acquired my last company and a new adventure beckoned. It would seem unnatural for anyone to walk away from such a great job working with brilliant people and the best corporate culture (and yes, the free cafeterias, gyms, and massages too), instead I found it to be a liberating and exciting end of a chapter of my life. Having been exposed to the world of startups - successful, unsuccessful, and everything in between - it was time for me to pursue my next passion.
Why I Left Google
I left Google to address an unsolved security challenge faced by every enterprise organization. Awareness of the scale of this challenge made me recognize that it could only be accomplished with the unhindered focus of a stand-alone company.
Today, Google’s massive advertising revenue and profit enable it to make “Other Bets,” many of which, if not part of Alphabet would be considered some of the most innovative companies in the world. (Google Cloud, Waymo…)
Google has their “Other Bets” - SGNL is my Bet and I’m all in.
The Day After
I’ve always believed that how you build a company and who you build it with is even more important than what the company is building. I’m not going to get into the details of SGNL in this blog. You can read about the company on the website.
What I will share is that after working in enterprise identity for over a decade, I feel that authentication solutions have become mature and commoditized while authorization is at an inflection point. As an industry we are now ready to solve problems that we were previously unable to contemplate let alone solve.
After validating this need with industry experts (and our future customers), the time had come to make the leap. But first, there were a few questions that my co-founder Erik and I had to think through: What corporate culture did we want to create? Would that culture attract amazing talent? Could we combine the best of FAANG product and engineering excellence and maintain the agility required of a startup?
The Journey So Far
We started the company and I am humbled by the team that we have already assembled, the amazing initial design partners that we are working with, and the vision for what SGNL can achieve.
Since starting SGNL I have talked to quite a few folks who I met during my time at Google. There seemed to be quite a bit of curiosity about the risk of leaving my job at Google to jump back into a startup. I don’t see it as a risk. While nothing is inevitable, being at SGNL at this early stage gives me and the team the ability to control our own destiny. Combine this with the outside capital that we have attracted and there is a feeling of excitement rather than apprehension.
We are a team that celebrates innovative achievements and solving real business problems for customers. While we don’t celebrate venture funding, we recognize that it is a key milestone and ingredient to unlocking our team’s ability to build industry-changing technology. We are fortunate to be backed by venture funds who offer value well beyond financing, share in our values, and think long term.