Founders in Focus: Alex Kazerani of Openpath

Welcome to our Founders in Focus series, where each month we highlight one of the founders of Okta Ventures’ portfolio companies. You’ll learn more about them and how they work with Okta. This month we’re speaking with Alex Kazerani, co-founder and CEO of Openpath.

What is Openpath and what is your mission?

Openpath was created by a team of serial entrepreneurs who were tired of keeping up with the multiple key cards required to get into their workplaces, and the lack of security traditional credentials carried. The ability to enter a workspace unauthorized (whether on-premises or virtually), became a growing threat to companies. At the same time, the security credentials designed to protect against vulnerabilities became a growing headache. 

The core of our business is to create innovative, mobile, and touchless access control solutions that accommodate the ever-evolving future of work. Our mission has always been to improve the quality and safety of the modern workplace, and through automation, reduce friction for the end-user. 

We've worked extremely hard to build a company that can offer a new, seamless style of security that takes advantage of new technologies, and makes people feel safe and secure at work. 

For the organization that doesn’t want to compromise ease for security, Openpath is an innovative, intelligent access control system that automates your security infrastructure, so you can focus on managing your business.

What were you doing prior to Openpath that led you to this moment?

Prior to creating Openpath, I co-founded EdgeCast Networks, a global content delivery network that sold to Verizon for $400M. Following the acquisition, I spent two years shaping the strategy of Verizon Digital Media Services. 

Before EdgeCast, I co-founded KnowledgeBase and HostPro (both acquired). In developing Openpath, I’m proud to say I’ve brought alongside me many of the same teams. Aside from my 20+ years creating and leading technology businesses, I am a father, a VC investor, and sit on boards of several companies and universities. 

What is Openpath’s solution? What challenge does it solve? 

Openpath offers mobile-first, cloud-based access control and an ecosystem of safety and security features for the “built world.” Since day one, our main goal has been to reduce friction in the workplace and provide a seamless end-user experience without compromising safety and security. 

Openpath's future-proofed platform ensures building owners and tenants provide employees and visitors secure access—without touching any physical surfaces. With our unique hands-free “wave to unlock” technology, users simply wave their hand in front of a reader to unlock a door. Openpath's patented Triple-Unlock technology works over WiFi, LTE and Bluetooth, and guarantees a fast and reliable connection (imperative for efficient and safe access) while maintaining security.

This solution is one of the many ways that Openpath is helping businesses with the challenge of reopening and operating their spaces during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Another challenge that Openpath helps solve is the vulnerability of IT systems to physical security breaches. Cybersecurity and IT teams need to focus more energy on mitigating physical security vulnerabilities, and Openpath's integrations with industry-leaders like Okta gives IT and security teams the tools they need to do so.

Openpath's enterprise-grade access control platform is deployed across a wide range of sectors including commercial real estate, manufacturing/industrial, offices, retail, schools, gyms and places of worship. Openpath unlocks more than five million doors per month and has been growing continuously since 2018. 

Frictionless and Secure

  • Equally fast and reliable touchless access 
  • Intuitive, open software platform with remote management, dynamic access permissions, and real-time reporting
  • Hands-free entry with any smartphone (IOS & Android) and Apple Watch. Send digital guest passes. Compatible with badges and fobs.

Cloud-based software

Scalable management of users, schedules and access permissions for all your locations, in one simple interface. This allows us to customize and serve customer locations ranging from a single door entry to an extensive campus or enterprise on a global scale.

Safety and Wellness features

Create healthier workplaces with built-in occupancy tracking, integrated wellness screening features, solutions for emergency Lockdown scenarios, on-premise security threats and more. 

End-to-end security

Designed with layers of security and encryption to outsmart a world of evolving threats and meet strict compliance standards.

Why did Openpath want to work with Okta?

As the separation between the physical and digital world continues to dissipate, working with Okta presented a naturally perfect partnership for us. As the leading provider of identity for the enterprise, Okta understands that enterprise customers must link their digital and physical security technologies together. Combining safety to security is a new and important dimension that rounds out this offering.

Having integrated Okta and Openpath’s platforms over a year ago, we’ve seen how our companies compliment each other, as well as the benefits of a safer and more secure enterprise for our shared customers. 

How is Openpath working with Okta? What support do you look for in a corporate partner?

With a shared focus on identity and access management, Okta and Openpath are helping further bridge the gap between physical and cyber security, providing a frictionless experience with fully secure, end-to-end encryption, data privacy and identity authentication.

At Openpath, we look for strategic partners who 

  • Are experts in their field of industry
  • Share a common value with Openpath
  • Want to support our vision of a dynamic workplace for our organization, our customers and the future of the enterprise marketplace.

With a shared value of providing a seamless user experience and secure identity access for the physical and digital world, this partnership elevates the enterprise security space with best-of-breed technology and innovation.

What trends do you expect to see in the Access Control Industry, and the Future of Work?

With real estate, public health and individual health/safety under unprecedented scrutiny, I believe that 2020 will be the year that rapidly accelerates proptech and pushes the access control category to new heights in innovation, adoption, and business value.

Mobile and cloud-based solutions were already a continuous trend, but many of the conveniences of newer technologies such as touchless entry and occupancy management have moved from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” as health and safety have become fundamental requirements  for resuming daily life, reopening businesses and returning to offices.

Now we see touchless solutions, health and wellness integrations, and remote management capabilities expanding the breadth of the access control category at large, and proliferating new solutions that safeguard the built world and the future of work.

While it remains to be seen what the ‘Office of the Future’ will look like beyond 2020, it’s clear to us that the adoption of frictionless access control will grow. Meanwhile, companies will adjust to an influx of more remote workers, shifting schedules and the implementation of more hybrid/satellite offices and hub-and-spoke strategies.

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