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Posted on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Ann Arbor startup Duo Security lands $5 million from investment group including Google

By Nathan Bomey

Ann Arbor-based information technology startup Duo Security has secured $5 million in venture capital, including an influx in cash from the investment vehicle of Google.


Dug Song, CEO of Duo Security, was a key backer of a successful local push to secure financing for the construction of a new skate park in Ann Arbor.

Courtesy of Dug Song

Google Ventures, Silicon Valley-based True Ventures and Ann Arbor-based Resonant Venture Partners invested in Duo, officials announced today. True Ventures and Resonant were previous backers of Duo, which raised $1 million in 2010.

The investment gives the company additional capital to grow and represents a significant vote of confidence in its "two-factor authentication" technology, which requires users to authorize important online decisions separately through a web page and a mobile device.

Dug Song, CEO of Duo Security, said the company's relatively simple but secure solution provides a practical answer to corporate technologists and small businesses that are concerned about web attacks.

"These days anything of any value that's sitting behind a log-in can and will be attacked," Song said in an interview. "We see ways to try to solve that problem at scale both for our small customers as well as our large customers."

He added: "You've got teenagers turning major corporations inside out and violating consumers' privacy on a scale that's never been seen before. And the market needs a solution that can address it."

Duo's customers include the University of Michigan, Toyota and social media site Tumblr.

"We have customers that have hundreds of millions of users," said Song, who added that attracting interest from Google is "fantastic for the company."

Karim Faris, a Google Ventures partner, said in a statement that Duo "is committed to democratizing strong authentication and bringing this previously ‘enterprise-only’ level of security to every Internet user."

“Proper identity assurance and mobile security are critical for the growth of meaningful online services,” said Faris, whose organization can invest about $200 million annually.

Song said Duo has "outgrown" its presence at the Tech Brewery on Jones Drive, a vibrant startup business incubator where entrepreneurs can rent space by the desk. He said the company is weighing its options on how to handle its growth and whether that means moving to a new office. He declined to say how many employees the company has.

"We're growing methodically," Song said. "The capital is going toward the growth, making sure people handle that and support that adequately."

Song and Duo's chief technology officer, Jon Oberheide, who recently completed his PhD in computer science from U-M, co-founded Duo Security.

Song, a former chief security architect at Ann Arbor-based U-M success story Arbor Networks, is an active proponent of Ann Arbor's technology community and a community activist who helped successfully push for a new skate park to be constructed at the city's Veterans Memorial Park.

Song said the company's investment shows that local software companies can secure outside investment.

"Clearly there is an opportunity for more software startups to come out of Ann Arbor, and that's one of things that we are going to, in a very hands-on way, support," he said.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


Wolf's Bane

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Congrats Dug and the Duo team! A simply idea, yet constantly overlooked. Bravo!

Lisa Dengiz

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Great news for Dug and DuO and awesome news for Ann Arbor as Dug and his wife, Linh are also deeply committed to serving the community with their time, talents and resources.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

Congrats to Dug and crew. This is a great win for the Ann Arbor tech community. (I'm not sure what I said so that my first comment was whacked...thought I stuck to saying good job, great for A2)


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

So since the world is trending to use mobile devices for pretty much everything we'll all have to hunt around, visit a library, etc to get to a desktop/laptop to authenticate the apps/services we (business app users) want to use? How does this work better than auth tokens? But hey, grats on the VC anyway. Also skate parks are litigation/injury traps and in Michigan maybe you'll get 6 or 7 months a year use out of them. Awesome dude.


Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

Haters gonna hate. I'll give this one 2/10 on the troll scale.

Peter Baker

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

"Also skate parks are litigation/injury traps and in Michigan maybe you'll get 6 or 7 months a year use out of them. Awesome dude." Golf courses, marinas, campgrounds, the Upper Peninsula. I suppose those are pointless too.

Kara H

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

The Duo guys are way ahead of you Sooth. Funny how the people who invest their lives and money in endeavors tend to think to these issues before and more deeply than do the nayslayers. Congrats Dug and team Duo!

Kai Petainen

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Dug... congrats! Awesome stuff.

Steven Everson

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

Congrats to Dug and the rest of the Duo team. We are so fortunate to have this guy in our community. Not only does he work tirelessly for Duo, but also is the one of the chief architechs of our growing tech culture here in a2. The guy is a beast! Thanks for all you do Dug!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

Congrats to the Duo team! Dug leads by example and has done more to successfully lead the area's tech entrepreneurial community than anyone I have seen over the last 20 years. Plus, he is always approachable, knowledgeable and willing to connect people. Despite building a tech company, he invests time and energy helping build the community.

Audion Man

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:27 a.m.

Well, he certainly gets the full promotional effort of Ann backing his efforts...

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

This is great news. They deserve this and I'm sure they'll use that influx of funding to do some amazing work.

Jen Baird

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

Awesome! This is great news for an Ann Arbor-based start-up! And it is exciting to think about the potential for this technology to make our more and more connected world safer. Congratulations!