Denver Startup Week Q&A: Andre Durand, Ping Identity

Ping Identity made waves when it closed on a $44 million Series C round of VC in July. The largest IT security company in the country, Ping Identity is by no means a startup -- CEO Andre Durand founded the company in 2002 and it now employees over 300 employees worldwide, with about 100 of them at the Denver HQ, and there's likely an IPO on the horizon. But Durand has plenty of experience with startups, and he likes what he sees in Denver right now. He recently spoke with Confluence as part of a series of Q&As for Denver Startup Week.

What's the big news at Ping Identity?

Certainly the financing -- it was a pretty sizable amount. But if I take one step back, the market is kind of exploding -- and we're keeping up.

The whole year has been a blur -- it's hard to know where it went -- but we did get a lot accomplished. We have a new CFO and a new Chief People Officer, so I've made two big changes to my executive team.

What do you like about Denver's startup scene?

It's hard not to be in love with Denver. There's so much youthful excitement and optimism.

Denver is really pretty small. Silicon Valley will swallow you. Relative to technology, it's an order of magnitude denser and larger. But in Denver, with the work Erik Mitisek and Tami Door are doing with Denver Startup Week, I couldn't be more excited. The city has had a lot of entrepreneurial spirit and activity but you might not know it but for an event like this.

There are lots of ways to skin a cat -- you can go somewhere and make a difference or you can make a difference where you're at. I'm much more aligned with the latter approach. Denver Startup Week embodies that.

What are some of your favorite spots in Denver?

We have a few traditions here. We do these things called "budget reviews." It's code for going to a local watering hole. We often hit The Front Porch down on 15th. It's like Cheers for us -- we take the whole place over.

I also spend a lot of time down by Confluence Park. That's one of my favorite places in Denver.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Genesis Fitness. It's changed my life. It's a fitness boot camp. I've been going every morning for the last five and a half years. The people there are fantastic.

Any other hobbies?

I'm just a big kid. I've always liked big trucks and camping, so I got an Excursion. I drive a Mini Cooper, so the Excursion is definitely a hobby.

I also really like off-road motorcycling. I've done a few 500- to 1,0000-mile off-road motorcycle trips. Recently I went with a buddy of mine on a trip on the Continental Divide. There were places in New Mexico where the tracks just stopped for 25 miles. That was really the middle of nowhere.

I also just found an RV on eBay that looks just like the Urban Assault Vehicle from Stripes. I had to buy it. It's now called the Ping Defender. You'll see it all over town during Denver Startup Week.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Eric Peterson with tips and leads for future stories at eric@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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