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7 Cloud Service Startups To Watch

From databases to mobile management, cloud service startups want to tackle classic enterprise problems. Check out these interesting options -- including a service to keep an eye on shadow IT.
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The cloud computing startup race shows no real sign of slowing. It seems that few weeks go by without news of a world-changing cloud or cloud service startup, and yet the world seems to roll along as before. In some cases, vendors are still trying to "cloudwash" older products and services by slapping a cloud or Something-as-a-Service label on them.

With all the news and noise, how do you know which cloud service startups are worth watching? You can start with these 7 companies.

It's important to note that "startup" can have a different meaning in the cloud world than it does in the land of bricks and mortar. Some of the companies listed here have been in existence for three or more years but have only begun to make their presence known in a big way in the last 18 months or so. Some have been around but have made a major shift that has increased their presence in the industry, and some are genuinely quite recently launched companies. Just as there are differences in the length of time the companies have been in existence, there are a wide variety of different services represented on our list.

Making a list like this is becoming a greater challenge -- not because the technologies and products aren't good, but because so many companies now include cloud architecture or service-oriented technology as a key piece of their offering. It's likely that lists of cloud computing companies will soon go the way of lists including companies that use networks in their products. It's hard to justify making a separate list when everyone's doing it. We're not quite there, however.

In looking at the companies that stood out, we found one that focuses on databases, two that concentrate on making it easier for customers to pay you, one that provides a bridge to mobile devices, one that is bringing education to new areas, and two that help you manage all the clouds that make up the modern enterprise. It's a diverse group of companies and services, but each one seems a likely candidate to be a much bigger presence in the cloud in coming years.

Still, it's likely we missed something in looking around the cloudy landscape. Which companies are you looking at? Which services do you think we should pay more attention to? Let us know -- we look forward to hearing about your candidates in the comments, below.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is executive editor for technical content at InformationWeek. In this role he oversees product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he acts as executive producer for InformationWeek Radio and Interop Radio where he works with ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 5:42:37 PM
Learning online can still be social
Thanks for giving us a heads up on these companies. I particularly like Classle. Some people learn so much better when they have the opportunity to meet and talk with classmates, hear their questions and realize they are not te only ones not getting it. I checked it out and the classes I saw were extremely well priced as well.
User Rank: Apprentice
7/24/2014 | 7:54:28 PM
Re: Learning online can still be social
Very interesting choices. I have no doubt that both the enterprise-focused services and money-processing services industries are going to be huge. But payment processing is very problematic. Stores must subscribe to different services and develop separate processing applications for each one. Each service has different terms of use and different credit, reporting, and privacy policies -- not to mention that some, such as PayPal, are hardly impartial transaction brokers and may use their control of customers' money for political purposes. They also use the data they gather from customers to limit and manipulate customers' choices. Without standards and regulation, online money-processing services will remain complicated to choose, to implement, to use -- and to trust.

Standards and regulation are required to bring stability and predictability to what is a fairly chaotic market. Developing implementation standards will be relatively easy when the industry's customers get frustrated enough. But international regulations will be much harder to negotiate and will require years to establish.

Because of those issues, the industry will remain unpredictable for new entrants, and I wouldn't bet a dime that any particular company, other than the established industry giants, will do well or poorly.
User Rank: Moderator
7/25/2014 | 4:47:58 AM
Re: Learning online can still be social
These startups will enable more data and services for the cloud. Cloud has really made our interactions with mobile different. The real-time aspects also make a different bridging a closer relationship with cloud, real-time processing and analytics.
Curt Franklin
Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2014 | 1:57:26 PM
Re: Learning online can still be social
@kstaron, the educational opportunities truly intrigue me, as well. While I don't believe that everyone must have a university degree in order to succeed I do believe that everyone needs to continue learning throughout their life. If a cloud-based system can help make that happen then it seems nothing but a good thing to me.
Jeff Jerome
Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Ninja
7/28/2014 | 11:44:53 PM
Re: Learning online can still be social
Maybe I am simple and the app I like and is not on this list is "our groceries"  may not be a big revenue generator but it offers some convenience.
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