Lasse Andresen is co-founder and CTO at ForgeRock, the global identity and access management company born in Oslo. He’ll be travelling back to Norway to attend Startup Extreme this summer, to share his lessons learned from 20+ years of experience in the software industry, which includes leadership roles at both Sun Microsystems and Texas Instruments, in addition to what he’s learned from the ForgeRock adventure.
When Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010, Andresen and others spotted a gap in the market for identity solutions and decided to forge their own path. Just four years later, Forgerock took on USD $30 million in venture capital funding in the United States. It's another one of Norway's success stories, used daily by many Norwegians but hidden in plain sight.
One of their bigger markets is supporting the digitalisation of public services. ForgeRock makes it easy to streamline applications, registrations, and transactions for citizens, while reducing government costs and expenditures.
In Norway, the ForgeRock solution was to implement a flexible, hub and spoke access management architecture using OpenAM, to enable easy and secure ‘single sign on’ access to more than 300 government services. Nearly 100% of the adult population and over 500,000 businesses now access Norwegian government services online, thanks to ForgeRock technology.
The company is now truly international, with offices in Norway, France, Singapore and the UK supporting their San Francisco headquarters. Their customers include large corporations such as Reuters and GEICO, while in Norway MinID, NSB, Sparebank1 group and the National Pension Fund rely on ForgeRock solutions.
“We saw a huge market opportunity related to identity and security solutions based on the development of mobile and cloud services. Based on an open source model and a large portion confidence, we took on the competition with the IT giant Oracle. It was very tough at first. Our money didn’t last long, so we were living on a shoestring budget, our kids piggy banks and recycling bottles. Norwegian investors were not interested,” says Andresen.
The memory of this experience is the primary reason that Andresen is coming to Startup Extreme.
“It’s still a struggle in Norway to gain any investment beyond the smallest of startup grants. There’s no way that kind of money can lead to long-term success, so to take a startup all the way they have to look outside of Norway. Right now, it’s extremely difficult to build a sustainable startup within Norway, and that has to change.”
“I’m basically coming to Startup Extreme to try to get Norway out of the oil and salmon attitude. We are sleepwalking along and people need to wake up and see that we need more innovation. There is some fantastic talent in Norway but they need support and help to get out into the spotlight. I want to do my bit to bring attention to them, and share my lessons learned including my failures so the next generation of entrepreneurs they can avoid them.”
Andresen thinks Startup Extreme is a long-overdue initiative for Norway and sees it growing beyond just a one-off event:
“I absolutely love the idea. Just the concept is creating a lot of attention and driving a lot of eyeballs onto Norway. The fact it’s in of the most beautiful parts of the world rather than a city hotel adds an entirely new dimension to it.”
There’s one kind of person Andresen is looking forward to meeting in the mountains of Voss:
“Young entrepreneurs with a deep passion and a can-do attitude, the guys and girls who can’t sleep because they’re so excited about their idea.”
This post is adapted from the original published by our friends at Startup Extreme.
Photo by: Jiyoon Lee