One of the many pressing questions that every new company must determine is, “When should we implement auth?” And, soon after, “Should I build auth myself or use a service provider?” When Trey Holterman was co-founding Elegant, a startup helping business teams build and send personalized insight reports to users, he asked himself these very same questions.
There’s not a definitive answer for the perfect time to set up auth but since features like logins and 2FA provide a critical layer of protection, it’s better to have it sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, this comes at the same time when early-stage startups are juggling multiple competing priorities, including building their MVP. As such, startups must decide whether to build auth themselves, taking time away from developing their core product, or to lighten their roadmap by using an external auth provider.
Deciding to go with an auth provider was a clear choice for Elegant, as Trey had previously built auth on his own once for a medical services company. It was an experience he didn’t want to repeat as the work ended up taking much longer than they anticipated given the significant knowledge a comprehensive auth system requires. “I didn’t want to spend the time it would have taken both on the backend and front-end,” he candidly related. This was especially true for Elegant as a B2B company, as they would need additional market-ready features such as RBAC and Organizations for their users.
At first, Trey considered using Auth0, as he had used it before, and appreciated its robust developer community. However, he knew he would still have to build numerous custom interfaces on top of Auth0 in order to meet Elegant’s needs for an extensive B2B feature set, such as a client console and team management. Firebase and Memberstack were also options but, like Auth0, both services were primarily developed for B2C use cases and would require additional modifications.
Because Trey was looking for an auth provider that would alleviate his team’s workload, not add to it, he decided against all three providers. Luckily, around this time, Trey received a LinkedIn message from PropelAuth’s Founder Andrew Israel, who reached out to share a new self-service auth product made specifically for B2B companies.
Trey was drawn to PropelAuth’s quick and easy setup, as well as the built-in team management. While he was initially hesitant to work with a newer startup, he was reassured by the “remarkably clear, easy, and robust” docs and personal support from Andrew. Additionally, as promised, PropelAuth met all of Elegant’s B2B non-negotiables, such as Next.js support and alternative sign-in options, like magic links and social logins.
“I followed each of the onboarding steps one by one, and in half an afternoon I had our auth up and running,” Trey shared. “This saved us a ton of time, and allowed us to launch with auth features that are a huge pain to build and now considered must-haves for any business clients.”
The value of time that PropelAuth provided Elegant was tangible. With their auth needs quickly taken care of, Elegant was able to devote all of its resources to building its data-led engagement platform. Recently, Elegant added PropelAuth’s newest feature SAML to their application, which will help Elegant sell to enterprise businesses. With both the easy setup and fast shipping, Trey is assured he made a great investment and regularly advocates PropelAuth to other B2B startups in the market for a provider.
“I love knowing that PropelAuth is just going to continue making the end-users experience with auth and roles better and better without me having to worry about it. The fact that they handle parts of the UI too is super helpful and I’m excited to see where that will go.”