ForgeRock CEO Rosch On IPO: ‘This Is A Really Exciting Market’

‘When you go public, it demonstrates that you‘re playing with the big boys and you’ve got a certain level of credibility. And I think we’ll be able to attract even better talent,’ ForgeRock CEO Fran Rosch tells CRN.


ForgeRock plans to use proceeds from Thursday’s IPO to hire more engineers, invest in AI and double down on systems integrators, CEO Fran Rosch said.

The San Francisco-based digital identity vendor said it’s looking to bring on more data science engineers to unlock AI capabilities that make algorithms more intelligent and can be turned into actionable steps that enhance security for customers, Rosch said. ForgeRock raised $275 million on a valuation of nearly $2 billion through a New York Stock Exchange public offering Thursday morning. ForgeRock’s IPO plans first came to light in May.

“When you go public, it demonstrates that you‘re playing with the big boys and you’ve got a certain level of credibility,” Rosch told CRN. “And I think we’ll be able to attract even better talent.”

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[Related: ForgeRock IPO Filing Reveals Surging Sales, Growing Channel]

ForgeRock employed 758 people as of June 30 and is looking to increase its headcount by another 10 to 15 percent over the next year to support the company’s revenue growth, Rosch said. The investments in AI and data science should boost ForgeRock’s ability to collect user and device behavior signals during the entire journey, improving the company’s ability to spot legitimate users and block malicious ones.

Although identity and access management rivals Okta, SailPoint and Ping Identity have all gone public in the past half-decade, Rosch said ForgeRock stands apart from the pack by offering workforce, consumer and IoT identity from a single platform. The company’s ability to handle hybrid environments and offer identity governance and multi-factor authentication are also competitive differentiators, Rosch said.

“This is a really exciting market,” Rosch said. “We believe we can create a world where we really never log in again. That’s truly a job well done.”

ForgeRock boosted its share of new annual recurring revenue (ARR) sourced through leads originating from channel partners from just 15 percent in 2018 to 31 percent in 2019 and 44 percent in 2020. The company has capitalized on the engagement SIs like Accenture, Deloitte and PwC have with large enterprises early in the procurement process as part of their digital transformation projects, he said.

The company plans to spend some of the proceeds from its IPO to drive more market awareness via podcasts, customer references and white papers, all of which allow customers to be more educated when starting conversations with their SI. ForgeRock’s global SI partners are invited to the company’s sales kickoff and have access to all of the company’s training content, according to Rosch.

“They look at the technology out there in the market and they believe ours is best, so they’re bringing us into these accounts,” Rosch said.

Outside of the global SIs, Rosch said ForgeRock also works with some regional solution providers as well as deployment specialists who can assist customers later in the rollout process. As ForgeRock’s cloud platform matures and the company pushes down-market beyond the large enterprise space, Rosch anticipates the company will establish relationships with more traditional VARs and resellers.

More than half of ForgeRock’s ARR in the first half of 2021 was sourced through leads originating from channel partners, and Rosch anticipates a balanced approach to channel-generated and vendor-generated business going forward. ForgeRock primarily meets the identity needs of large enterprises, and its customers include BBC, BMW, Geico, Philips and Toyota, according to Rosch.

From a metrics standpoint, Rosch said ForgeRock is most focused on revenue growth, ARR growth, net revenue retention, and its performance with customers doing more than $100,000 of business with the company each year. More than 350 of ForgeRock’s 1,300-plus customers recorded ARR of more than $100,000 with the company in the most recent year, according to regulatory filings.

“We‘re working together to create technology that allows our customers to make it easy to onboard new employees and give them access to everything they need to do to their jobs while still having security,” Rosch said.