A major technology deal in Seattle could have big implications for entrepreneurship in Portland.
Identity authentication startup Auth0 sold Wednesday for $6.5 billion in stock to Okta, a larger rival that provides its own security technology. Founded in 2013, Auth0 received early funding from the Portland Seed Fund, which backs early stage companies in the Northwest.
Founded in 2010 – initially with grants from the city of Portland – the seed fund has provided an early boost to nearly 90 regional startups over the past decade. Its portfolio includes many of the region’s best-known startups from that period, among them Bright.md, Bumped, Cloudability, NurseGrid, Society Nine, The Dyrt and Wildfang.
Though Auth0 is a Seattle company, the Portland Seed Fund still holds its stake in the business and stands to reap a share of the transaction. It’s not clear just how much, though, at least not yet.
Seed investors typically have just a small share of startups that raise significant funding later, and Auth0 had raised more than $300 million altogether. Still, even a very small slice of $6.5 billion could be a significant sum for a modest fund.
Jim Huston, managing director with the Portland Seed Fund, said it will take some time to learn the details of the transaction, work out the implications and what the fund can disclose. He said that the seed fund was the only Oregon fund that invested in Auth0, and said Founders Co-op was the only Seattle fund that backed the company.
“For sure, this is a very big deal for the Pacific Northwest startup ecosystem,” Huston said in an email. “Major kudos to CEO Eugenio Pace for starting this company and guiding it to what is undoubtedly a great outcome for everyone involved.”