$601.8 million. That's how much venture capital has been invested in the InformationWeek Startup 50, a group of up-and-coming technology vendors chosen through a three-step process of nomination, online voting, and editorial vetting.
The companies that made our list were assessed on the following criteria: innovation in technology or business model; value, delivered in lower costs, increased sales, higher productivity, or improved customer loyalty; and enterprise readiness, meaning a product that scales and is ready for deployment. What follows is the full Startup 50 list, along with profiles of five companies from the list that represent the innovative ways these startups solve critical IT problems, cut costs, and improve operations.
To be considered, the newbies could be no more than 5 years old. Our finalists address a range of business technology challenges, but the biggest concentration of entrepreneurial energy falls into three areas: virtualization, cloud computing, and software as a service.
The inevitable shakeout that will come to those red-hot markets points to two things. One, that startups can offer competitive advantage in the form of emerging technologies. And two, tech's leading edge entails risk, as some startups won't make it. This list narrows the field to help IT pros better assess that trade-off.
The heart of its product is the Paglo Crawler, software that an IT team can download and install on a network. Crawler discovers the network and connected assets, and reports that information to Paglo's data center. IT administrators can then access the information from a Web browser.
That sounds a lot like standard SaaS, but what makes Paglo stand out is its search capabilities. In addition to discovering information about a network, Paglo Crawler creates a searchable index. An IT pro can query the index to find answers to questions, such as whether Skype is installed on any PCs on the network or how much free disk space is available on a server. Many queries can use plain English, though complex ones might require the software's SQL-like language, called PQL. Searches can be saved and shared among users.
The platform's dashboards also can be used to monitor vital statistics such as system memory, CPU usage, and asset inventory. Because the crawler runs continuously, the dashboards are updated automatically with fresh information. E-mail or Twitter alerts can be set up for events such as low disk space or a new device joining the network.
Paglo recently upgraded its crawler to take in Cisco NetFlow data, providing a clearer picture of bandwidth use and interdevice communications on Cisco networks.
Paglo charges $1 per device per month. There's plenty of competition including Splunk, which offers its own IT search tool, and Zenoss and Kace, which also target the midmarket with low-cost IT management.
In addition to its competition, Paglo must get potential customers comfortable with storing sensitive network information in a startup's data center. CEO Brian de Haaff believes this won't be a high bar, pointing to the success of SaaS companies such as Salesforce.com, which store customer information that's every bit as sensitive as IT system data.