Blue unicorns: The U-M alums who founded Duo Security

By | May 14, 2019
illustration of owl riding a sklateboard with Duo logo
(Jeremy Wheeler)

Co-founded by U-M alums Dug Song and Jon Oberheide, Ann Arbor-based Duo Security sold late last year for $2.35 billion. As one of fewer than 150 privately held companies in the U.S. worth more than $1 billion (known as “unicorns”), Duo became incredibly successful in part by adhering to values besides the bottom line, such as inclusion and community

Duo specializes in making digital security effective and easy, offering convenient methods to securely log into networks on and through computers and mobile devices. Duo mediates half a billion logins per month for about 14,000 customers, including Facebook, Yelp, Paramount Pictures, Twitter, and U-M.

Duo now has more than 700 employees with hubs in San Francisco, Austin, Detroit, and London. Beyond Duo, they’re interested in modeling a pay-it-forward culture that can nurture other area startups and benefit the Ann Arbor community generally. “It’s like every few years, people say, ‘Oh, now there’s tech in Ann Arbor,’” Song says. “And I’m like, ‘There’s always been tech here!’”