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Company:
Centrify

HQ: Mountain View, CA

Founded: 2004

Management: Tom Kemp is CEO and president. He was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Mayfield, one of Centrify’s investors. Kemp was previously co-founder of NetIQ, a network management and security company, where he was senior vice president of corporate development and strategy. Adam Au is vice president of engineering. He was previously a divisional vice president of Computer Associates’ BrightStor division. Au’s entrepreneurial experience includes founding both Netreon, a storage management company acquired by Computer Associates, and Auco, an embedded networking company acquired by Peerless Systems Corp.

Investors: On August 9, the company raised $14 million in series B financing. Invesco Private Capital led the round, with participation by existing investors Mayfield and Accel Partners. Its total funding to date exceeds $20 million.

Business Model: Centrify’s core offering, DirectControl, allows customers to integrate a variety of computing platforms – Unix, Linux, Macintosh – into Microsoft’s Active Directory.  For those who don’t manage a corporate network, Active Directory is part of the Windows platform. It acts as a central switchboard to provide IT administrators with a way to manage identities, access, and security across a network. By enabling Active Directory to embrace other platforms, Centrify’s product increases the flexibility of a Microsoft network’s overall architecture, while also maintaining centralized control and security.

Competitors: Quest Software (with its acquisition of Vintela in May 2005)

Dirt: Given the dominance of Windows within corporate environments, a product that can help users easily plug into Microsoft’s architecture seems like a no-brainer. IT administrators love to consolidate control into one directory, especially when faced with a network that could include Unix, Linux, and everything in between. Clearly, this model saves time and money for companies running big networks with disparate computing standards. Such a unifying product also helps with security and the need to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which has caused many publicly traded companies to tighten control over their networks to avoid corporate malfeasance suits.

This promising market opportunity aside, we are impressed with Centrify’s seemingly sure-handed plan of execution. Founded in March 2004, the company delivered the first version of its product in February 2005, or less than a year after launch. The second version of DirectControl was released earlier this month, the same day the company announced its latest infusion of cash. Among its partners, Centrify lists Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell, and Apple.

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