10 Hot Cloud Startups to Watch

After evaluating more than 150 new cloud ventures, here are the top 10 cloud startups. These companies are shaping--or have the potential to shape--how the cloud computing market will evolve.

By Jeff Vance
Mon, March 04, 2013
Page 2

4. BrightTag

BrightTag, cloud startup

What they do: Develop cloud-based data integration tools.

Headquarters: Chicago, Ill.

CEO: Mike Sands. Prior to joining BrightTag, Sands was part of the original Orbitz management team and held the positions of CMO and COO.

Founded: 2009

Funding: They've raised $23 million to date from Baird Venture Partners, EPIC Ventures, I2A Fund, New World Ventures and TomorrowVentures.

Why they're on this list: Today, if a Website owner wants to work with multiple third-party services (e.g. Google Analytics, ad networks, social, etc.), they have to conform to an outdated construct of putting the vendor's code (or "tag") on every page of their Website that they want to track. In doing so, the site owner is not in control over the data collected, they introduce site performance issues with more code being pushed through their consumers' browsers, and they create silos of data across each vendor's service, not to mention creating privacy issues with regard to data collection practices.

BrightTag intends to simplify how Websites connect to their partners by providing a single point of integration for any data-driven service. The company's platform replaces traditional "tag-centric" methods of connecting sites to marketing services with real-time, direct integration through the cloud.

Clients include Yahoo! Japan, Gap, Macy's, Levi's, Bebe, Tommy Bahama, Crate & Barrel, JetBlue Airlines, Orbitz, Starwood, US Cellular, Transunion and Allstate.

Market landscape and competition: This market is new enough that there aren't good market estimates on it. Google, Adobe and IBM offer competing tag container solutions.

BrightTag argues that most competing solutions on the market are "tag containers." As browser-based tags continue to proliferate -- either fueled by the advent of tag management solutions or from continued industry growth -- both data collection and the site users' experience become slow and unstable.

BrightTag cloud-based service eliminates vendor tags altogether and connects data directly. There are no "tags" in a point-of-sale system or a mobile app or email. According to Web analytics firm BuiltWith 30 percent of the top internet retailers have employed a tag management system and of those 43 percent are using BrightTag.

5. Cedexis

Cedexis, cloud startup

What they do: Develop tools that provide visibility into cloud and CDN performance, and then help users act on that information.

Headquarters: Portland, Ore.

CEO: Marty Kagan, who previously served as vice president of engineering for Jive Software.

Founded: Q4 2009

Funding: They landed a $7 million Series A round in mid-2011 from Madrona Ventures Group and Advanced Technology Ventures (ATV).

Why they're on this list: Let's face it, the roadblock for many cutting-edge cloud services, especially those using rich media, is the poor performance and unpredictability of the public Internet. Cedexis' mission is to improve "the Web experience of billions of Website visitors each month by providing visibility into the performance of clouds and CDNs."

Cedexis Radar is a free community that crowd-sources visibility into cloud and CDN performance from the end user perspective. It has global reach and is updated over 1 billion times a day.

Cedexis Openmix is a paid Cloud SaaS offering that uses Radar, and other real-time data, to dynamically route Website and Web application traffic around outages and service degradations.

The newest product, Cedexis Fusion, is a Big Data tool that aggregates third-party data, including pre-built integrations for New Relic, AppDynamics, Akamai, Level3, Edgecast, ChinaCache, SoftLayer and many others, to further improve the availability and performance of customer Websites and Web applications.

Customers include Mozilla, Dior, Nissan, Volkswagon, LeMonde, France Television, Yves Roche, NBC News, Accor Hotels, EuroDisney, L'oreal, and Via Michelin.

Market landscape and competition: According to Gartner's 2012 Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring, the APM market should have hit $2.14 billion by the end of 2012 (a 9 percent increase over 2011). Meanwhile, Markets and Markets believes the CDN market will grow to from $2.1 billion in 2011 to $7.4 billion by 2017.

Competitors include CA (through its Nimsoft acquisition) and Zenoss.

6. dinCloud

dinCloud, cloud startup

What they do: Help small- to mid-sized businesses migrate and provision desktops, servers, storage, networking and applications to a Virtual Private Data Center.

Headquarters: Los Angeles, Calif.

CEO: Kevin Schatzle. Prior to joining dinCloud, he was President of Allied Digital Services' U.S. subsidiary.

Founded: January 2011

Funding: The company has secured an undisclosed amount of angel funding.

Why they're on this list: Most enterprises know they should virtualize their infrastructures, but they struggle with where and how to start. According to dinCloud, virtualization and cloud computing aren't just about hosting servers alone, or giving customers virtual machines in the cloud. They are about business provisioning and helping businesses transform their physical environments to virtual ones.

dinCloud's software enables the rapid migration/provisioning of desktops, servers, storage, networking and applications to a Virtual Private Data Center. Customers can control as much of this infrastructure as they want through an online cloud orchestration and management platform, dinManage.

High-profile partner Microsoft says that it worked with dinCloud to help save a financial services customer 50 percent on IT spending. In this case, dinCloud hosts 250 virtual desktops, 30 virtual servers, and provides second site back up in the cloud.

Named customers include King's Hawaiian and National Asset Direct. dinCloud also finished fourth in Startup50 voting with 8.5 percent of the vote total.

Market landscape and competition: Gartner predicts that the cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) spending will exceed $72 billion, (42 percent CAGR) by 2016. Competitors include AppZero, Eucalyptus, Nebula, RingCube and Rackspace.

7. HyTrust

HyTrust, cloud startup

What they do: Develop virtualization security tools.

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

CEO: John De Santis serves as CEO. Eric Chiu co-founded the company and is its president. De Santis was formerly chairman and CEO of TriCipher, a software security infrastructure company acquired by VMware in 2010. After the acquisition, he served as VP, Cloud Services for VMware. Chiu was previously VP of Sales and Business Development for Cemaphore Systems.

Founded: April, 2009

Funding: HyTrust has raised $16 million from Trident Capital, Granite Ventures and Epic Ventures, as well as strategic corporate investors such as Cisco and VMware.

Why they're on this list: Virtualized and cloud infrastructures create new security, control, management and compliance challenges for IT staffs. Organizations take big risks when they move to the cloud or rely on virtualization when critical applications and sensitive information are not properly secured.

The HyTrust Appliance delivers access control, enforcement of policy across virtual infrastructures, hypervisor hardening, and audit-quality logging among other features. By addressing these requirements, HyTrust is able to provide organizations with the control and visibility required for them to virtualize Tier 1 applications, meet corporate governance requirements, and avoid costly downtime or other possibly more serious business disruption.

Customers include AIG, U.S. Army, Northrop Grumman, Pepsi, McKesson, Home Shopping Network, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, UC Berkeley, State of New Mexico, and Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Market landscape and competition: The cloud security market is incredibly crowded, but HyTrust has carved out a solid niche by focusing on hypervisor vulnerabilities. Competitors include Altor Networks (now Juniper) and Catbird.

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