Onegini and iWelcome become OneWelcome: largest European CIAM company

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Two Dutch companies active in Customer Identity & Access Management (CIAM) have decided to join forces. Onegini and iWelcome will from now be OneWelcome. The merger creates the largest European supplier of Identity & Access Management software.

In the field of IAM you have several flavors. One IAM company the general public undoubtedly knows is Okta. That company approaches IAM from a B2E angle. In that environment, it’s mainly about IAM of employees of companies. Onegini and iWelcome – or, as of today, OneWelcome – approach the IAM market from a different perspective. These two companies focus on B2C and B2B IAM, where the relationships are fundamentally different than in B2E.

B2C is all about the customer-facing side of an organization, that is, the portals where customers log in. B2B focuses on a similar relationship, but between two companies. In other words, this is about CIAM, not IAM. Okta has also been focusing more and more on CIAM lately, by the way. The acquisition of Auth0 is a clear sign of this.

We spoke briefly with Danny de Vreeze, the CEO of OneWelcome and founder of iWelcome in 2011, prior to announcing the merger.

Overlap and more synergy

Onegini and iWelcome were until recently regular competitors of each other. As De Vreeze puts it, “we were two companies doing 80 percent of the same thing.” The merger creates a significantly larger player, with much more clout in the European market, he points out. It’s not about consolidating, he emphasizes. That is, the developers that both companies free up in this way because of the overlap will not be laid off, but deployed to improve the company’s products and further innovate in new areas.

Of course, the 20 percent that did not overlap also added something. Onegini is particularly strong in mobile applications of IAM, for example, something that iWelcome was less focused on. As an example De Vreeze mentions insurers, who often have multiple brands under the same umbrella. That also means multiple apps that customers need to log into. Onegini can offer this from a single SDK, a single back-end.

If you look at the strengths of iWelcome, two things at least stand out, according to De Vreeze: consent and delegation. By consent we mean that a specific piece of data, for example, may only be used for a single purpose. Think of a cab company that can ask for your telephone number, but can only use it for a specific cab ride, for example. B2B delegation means that certain external business relations can log in to another business organization and use their credentials to access internal applications. That is, without requiring them to have a whole collection of login credentials to do so. In other words, those credentials are delegated.

European roots

One of OneWelcome’s main distinguishing features, however, has relatively little to do with technology, but with geography. The company explicitly presents itself as European, with a European focus as well. That is an advantage if they have to compete with large (American) competitors. “We know what the European market is about,” De Vreeze summarizes. According to him, this ensures that they better understand how everything works here, when it comes to things like eIDs, regulation and consent, to name a few topics.

OneWelcome further focuses its strategy on specific sectors. Onegini has traditionally been very strong in the insurance market, for example. iWelcome has a somewhat smaller footprint in that are. iWelcome, however, brings a lot of know-how about heavily regulated industries to the table. An example of this is the European Central Bank, a client of OneWelcome. There, OneWelcome’s technology facilitates logins from the various European banks. De Vreeze also told us that they just won ESA.

Danny de Vreeze (left), OneWelcome CEO

It is certainly not the case that OneWelcome is only interesting for (semi-)public institutions, though, De Vreeze stresses. Actually, OneWelcome is interesting for all environments in which regulation has a mission-critical impact. This may have to do with privacy, for example, but also with other things. As an example, De Vreeze cites shipbuilder Damen. That customer deploys OneWelcome for the B2B delegation discussed earlier.

Who isn’t the target audience for OneWelcome?

There are also markets that OneWelcome doesn’t really focus on, however, at least for now. For instance, the company is not going to focus on hospitals, which doesn’t scale very well, according to De Vreeze. Furthermore, the company does not really feel at home in consumer goods. The latter is mainly because this is often a global operation, OneWelcome really defines itself as European.

Another interesting thing to mention in relation to the target group OneWelcome has in mind is that the company does not have the ambition to focus on the B2E side of IAM. As already indicated, that is a fundamentally different world. Privacy, for example, is virtually not an issue within organizations, because it’s all already laid out in employment contracts and the like. With CIAM, there is almost always a strong focus on privacy. Mind you, OneWelcome does have a large B2E customer, namely PostNL. So the company is perfectly capable of delivering B2E IAM. However, the internal perspective of B2E is so different from the external customer perspective of B2C and B2B, that it just doesn’t make sense to really go full throttle in that area.

Also, when it comes to B2E, OneWelcome has to compete with big players like Okta. That’s also not a position you want to be in. As we mentioned above, Okta also has ambitions in the CIAM field, so OneWelcome might run into them anyway. Of course, OneWelcome’s main distinguishing factor, its European roots, remains valid.

Towards the future: double down on innovation

When we talk about the future, the first thing to note is OneWelcome’s larger scale, which brings with it new possibilities. OneWelcome now serves more than 100 customers. That may not sound like a lot, but when you consider that Onegini (like iWelcome founded in 2011, by the way) serves over 45 million endcustomers with 40 customers, that sounds a lot more impressive.

We should really see this merger as a first step, according to De Vreeze. As they have much more clout now, it should now be possible to grow faster organically. In addition, they are now big enough that they can start making acquisitions. This is partly possible because the competition in Europe is generally divided by country. Their competitors are generally quite small, while they are the biggest European IAM company now.

The focus remains clearly on Europe, though. There are no ambitions to conquer the whole world for the time being, De Vreeze points out. That’s not really necessary anyway, De Vreeze concludes our conversation. There is still plenty of growth potential here, he says. The first step towards more and faster growth has been taken, with the merger of Onegini and iWelcome into OneWelcome. Now it’s up to the new company to deliver.