Clerk raises $4 million to build the next-gen authentication and user management platform for developers
Announcing our seed round
Today, we're thrilled to announce that Clerk has raised a $4 million seed round, led by S28 Capital with Andrew Miklas (cofounder, PagerDuty) joining our board. Additional participants include Fathom Capital, Calvin French-Owen and Ilya Volodarksy (cofounders, Segment), Darragh Buckley (first employee, Stripe), Max Stoiber (creator, styled-components).
The business case
Developers love Clerk because it's fast to set up and maximizes conversion through their Sign Up and Sign In forms. Development speed and conversion rates have become bigger challenges in recent years, as users are demanding more variety in the ways they authenticate.
While privacy-focused users are demanding to create accounts by email, convenience-focused users are demanding "single sign-on" through vendors like Google and Facebook. Subsets of both groups are also security-focused, and are demanding multi-factor authentication.
Creating a cohesive user experience that caters to every group is challenging, and developers often make mistakes that leave their users frustrated or unable to access their accounts. A few examples we commonly see are:
- Disallowing single sign-on for users who originally created their accounts by email
- Allowing single sign-on for users who originally created their accounts by email, but accidentally creating them a second account
- Accidentally reducing multi-factor authentication to single-factor authentication during a "forgot password" flow
Clerk's prebuilt Sign Up and Sign In forms eliminate these mistakes and more. They are built by a team of designers and engineers who focus on maximizing conversion without sacrificing security. If custom designs are preferred, Clerk's API can be used instead to speed up development while still mitigating these errors.
The path ahead
With this funding, we will focus our efforts on five product areas that are crucial to our customers' success:
- Security - Applications built on Clerk automatically receive critical security features like multi-factor authentication, password breach protection, and device management. We will continue to invest in new protections for our customers' applications, as well as begin applying for formal security certifications like SOC-2.
- Optimization - Most businesses simply do not have the resources to focus on optimizing the conversion of their Sign Up and Sign In forms. This is our core competency, and we will continue to analyze our prebuilt components to ensure they are as streamlined as possible.
- Customization - In the months since launch, we've heard a chorus of requests for more customization capabilities in our prebuilt components. More flexibility is on the way, as well as better documentation for creating completely custom user experiences with Clerk's API.
- Extensibility - Another frequent request is the ability to connect user data with other applications. We already deployed webhooks so developers can build connections in-house, and now we will focus on prebuilt connections for common vendors, starting with Hasura.
- Developer Experience - We launched Clerk with SDKs for React, Next.js, and Express - but beneath those SDKs are language-agnostic REST APIs. The coming months will bring official support for more languages and frameworks.
These five focus areas are driven by the requests of our early adopters, whose enthusiasm and steadfast support made this funding possible. We're excited to continue servicing their needs, and also to welcome the next wave of developers in need of better tools for authentication and user management.
Growing our team
Our team has grown from 2 to 15 in the past eight months, and we're excited to continue that growth across engineering, design, developer advocacy, and more. If you're interested in complex design and engineering problems, or the challenge of creating a ubiquitous developer tool, come join us.
With immense gratitude,
Colin and Braden Sidoti