Centrify’s Tom Kemp On Preparing Technology Companies For The Long Haul

On a first glance, it wouldn’t be apparent that Tom Kemp, a co-founder and the CEO of Centrify, runs one of the world’s best private enterprise technology companies. Turns out, he’s on his second startup, this one — Centrify — started back in 2004. For the past nine years, Kemp and his team have been hard at work building security and ID management products for the enterprise to better manage how their cloud, data, and app systems are accessed, as well as working under a unified IT infrastructure. After nine years of work, four rounds of financing totaling over $50M, and a workforce over 400, Centrify is now booking $50M in sales and growing, preparing for the public markets, and continuing to reinvent their core business despite all their successes.

In this video, I sit down with Kemp and have a discussion around a bunch of topics — ranging from how Centrify had to transition to a cloud architecture, how this impacted their corporate culture (including managing remote staff overseas), how enterprise IT systems are still a hybrid of cloud and on-prem solutions, and how Kemp is handling transitions at the board level to prepare the company for a potential offering down the road. For any founders working on large-scale enterprise systems, learning from a Kemp’s story is not a bad idea.

Editor’s Note: Michael Abbott is a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, previously Twitter’s VP of Engineering, and a founder himself. Mike also writes a blog called uncapitalized. You can follow him on Twitter @mabb0tt.