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.

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Startup Voting, Criteria and Weighting

Why does startup A earn a spot on the list and Startup B not earn a place. While it's a largely subjective process, we've put some criteria in place to add as much objectivity as possible. With early stage startups that barely have product out the door, even following a decision tree won't make this subjective process objective. But it's a start. Here are the criteria usee when evaluating startups, and the approximate weight given to each:

1. How serious is the pain point the startup addresses, and is it something people (or orgs) are really willing to pay for?

2. If the startup is releasing a social media tool, mobile app or free cloud app--or anything free--is there a roadmap in place to monetize it? How realistic is it?

3. How unique is the offering?

4. How high is the barrier to entry for other competitors? These top four, all about products and positioning, are weighted at about 25 percent.

5. Whats the pedigree/track records of the management team/founders? (15 percent)

6. Have they raised funding? If so, how much and from whom? (15 percent)

7. Do they have any early customers in place? Extra points for on-the-record customers. (10 percent)

8. How well did they do in the voting? Being able to mobilize a voting base helps prove that they know how to get their message out and take marketing and PR seriously. (25 percent)

9. What does their future product/service roadmap look like? (5 percent)

10. Where are they located? (Startups based in Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, NY, etc. earn more points than startups in the hinterlands for a number of reasons, including access to capital and talent.) (5 percent)

Jeff Vance is a freelance writer based in Santa Monica, Calif. Connect with him on Twitter @JWVance or by email at jeff@sandstormmedia.net.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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