Okta CEO explains why his company has a leg up on big-name tech giants like Microsoft

  • CNBC's Jim Cramer hears from Okta co-founder, Chairman and CEO Todd McKinnon about his newly public cybersecurity company's prospects.
  • Okta came public in April to huge fanfare, surging 38 percent in its first day of trading.

Even a sprawling technology player like Microsoft might have trouble going after cybersecurity company Okta's business, CEO Todd McKinnon told CNBC on Thursday.

Okta, which came public in April 2017 to huge fanfare, saw its shares surge 38 percent on its first day of trading.

Shares of the company, which builds software to make logging into cloud networks more secure, climbed higher still after a successful first-quarter earnings report.

"I think the big advantage that our approach has against someone like Microsoft is that we don't have a horse in the race in terms of which applications or which operating systems or which type of computer our customers use," McKinnon, also Okta's co-founder and chairman, told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.

With over 4,000 customers including the likes of JetBlue and Adobe, Okta's technology, which includes a multi-factor authentication platform, focuses on protecting identities.

And, most importantly, it's unbiased about its clients and partners, McKinnon said in the exclusive interview.

"We connect everything," the CEO said. "Microsoft is going to be inherently biased towards the Microsoft stack – Azure, in the server, on the cloud, [the] Windows server, Windows on the device, Office 365, in the app – and anytime you go out of that, the choice is limited. And we're all about choice and neutrality and letting customers choose the best technology for their company. And I think Microsoft has a little bit of a different bias."

This neutral approach has also allowed Okta to partner with companies that seem to draw close to its niche space like Palo Alto Networks to build hybrid cybersecurity solutions.

The company, whose market capitalization currently stands at $5.7 billion, has also landed partnerships with Facebook's Workplace platform and cloud play VMware.

Shares of Okta settled at $53.22 on Thursday, down 0.88 percent.

Watch Todd McKinnon's full interview here:

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Microsoft and Facebook.

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