Twilio buys two-factor authentication shop to boost security

Twilio, the cloud-based communication service provider that lets developers craft messaging applications, is buying security startup Authy for an undisclosed price. As part of the deal, announced Tuesday, Authy’s entire twelve-person team will move over to Twilio.

Authy focusses on two-factor authentication, which adds a second step to the password verification process commonly used to log into online accounts. In addition to filling out a password to access a sensitive website or application, a user might receive a ping via his or her phone that contains an extra code that acts as a secondary password.

The Authy team developed an API that, in theory, makes it easier for developers to build two-factor authentication into their applications, explained Authy president and COO Marc Boroditsky in an interview. Using the API provided by Authy — which scored a $2.3 million seed funding round in September –a development team can basically embed its application with two-factor authentication technology.

Authy founder Daniel Palacio
Authy founder Daniel Palacio

“The Authy API gives an answer as to where the code is valid,” said Boroditsky in reference to how the API verifies the correct password sent to a user’s mobile device.

Now that Authy is part of the Twilio team, Twilio will be working on “incorporating the Authy APIs into the Twilio APIs,” and developers with Twilio accounts should now be able to use the Auhty API as well when they are building their messaging applications, said Twilio co founder and CEO Jeff Lawson.

Authy will keep its name for the two-factor identification product, and Authy users will now get access to Twilio’s platform, said Boroditsky.

For Authy, the small startup gets access to Twilio’s developer base, which Twilio said now has over 500,000 coders, while Twilio gets a security feature that companies are interested in due to data breaches that have plagued organizations in the past few years.

With Authy’s founder Daniel Palacio hailing from South America, Twillio also gets a new office in Bogota, Columbia. Columbia is a apparently a good place to scout for development talent at “reasonable prices,” said Boroditsky.