The global pandemic may have put a damper on many sectors of the economy, but it doesn’t seem to have hindered the cloud computing market. According to the latest forecast from Gartner, the public cloud market will likely grow 6.4% in 2020 to reach $242.7 billion. Software as a service (SaaS) is particularly strong, accounting for $104.7 billion of that total.
In a 2020 InformationWeek/Interop survey, IT leaders estimated that 42% of their cloud-related budgets are going to SaaS initiatives.
The 2020 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera found that nearly all enterprises and small businesses are using some form of cloud computing. Of those surveyed, 96% were using public cloud services and 76% had a private cloud.
As cloud computing has become the norm, the trend has given birth to a huge number of startups that rely on the cloud. These “cloud-native” companies have challenged older, more established firms by finding new ways to do things more efficiently and cost effectively than ever before. And these exciting new business models have attracted a lot of investment, in many cases in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
InformationWeek has put together a list of 10 of these cloud startups that are particularly significant. In order to be considered for this list, a startup had to be founded in 2015 or later, and it had to offer a cloud-related product or service that seemed particularly noteworthy. The pool of candidates came from those cloud computing startups that had raised the most funding, as reported by Crunchbase, and the startups are listed in the order of the amount of funding they have received.
Several of these firms combine other hot trends with cloud computing. For example, some have products and services related to the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, and robotics. Others are putting a cloud twist on familiar aspects of IT, such as backup, networking, security, and databases. But they all share a focus on the cloud, and all seem to have a bright future ahead of them.
This slideshow offers a view into how some young companies are innovating with help from the cloud.
Founders: John Bicket, Sanjit Biswas
Funding: $930 million
Claiming to be “the leader in industrial IoT,” Samsara offers telematics, connected driver, safety, SCADA, monitoring, and other products and services related to the industrial Internet of Things. It serves more than 15,000 customers in the food and beverage, government, oil and gas, passenger transit, field services, transportation and logistics, construction, school transportation, retail, and utilities sectors. In addition to its offices in San Francisco, it has facilities in San Jose, Atlanta and London.
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Founders: Jason Gulledge, Lance Crosby, Ryan Carter
Funding: $396 million
StackPath offers a platform for secure edge computing. Its products include computing infrastructure, like virtual machines, containers, serverless computing, and object storage, as well as edge services like a content delivery network, web application firewall, managed domain name service, and service monitoring. Its customers include well-known names like Valve Steam, Sectigo, PBS, the JS Foundation, Bootstrap, BuySellAds, and others. Throughout its history it has acquired several other edge-computing startups, including Highwinds, MaxCDN, Server Density, Fireblade, and Encrypt.me.
3. eStruxture Data Centers
Headquarters: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Founders: Jonathan Wener, Todd Coleman
Funding: $350 million
While many of the startups on this list offer cloud-based services, eStruxture actually sells infrastructure. It’s a cloud-neutral colocation provider with data centers in Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary. It serves more than 900 businesses, including carriers, cloud providers, media content, financial services, and enterprise customers. Key features of its data center sites include high-density computing, 100% renewable power (at some locations), advanced security, and customer amenities.
Headquarters: Beijing, China, and Santa Clara, California
Founders: Bill Huang
Funding: $316 million
Calling itself the “first cloud robots services company,” CloudMinds predicts that “helpful humanoid robots will be affordable for homes by 2025.” Its products include the XR-1 service robot, Cloud Patrol security robot, Cloud Pepper humanoid robot, Cloud Vending Machine, and a line of cloud infrared temperature measurement systems. These temperature measurement systems have been gaining a lot of attention as a way to deal with COVID risk and identify people who might be infected. The company also makes a robotic cloud brain, nerve network, and robot control unit.
Headquarters: Milpitas, California
Founders: John Chambers, Luca Cafiero, Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Soni Jiandani
Funding: $278 million
Pensando describes its product as “next-gen cloud architecture.” It sells a Distributed Services Platform (DSP) that includes the custom Capri processor, the Distributed Services Card for software-defined services and network visibility, and the Policy and Services Manager for telemetry and monitoring. Its customers include both enterprises and cloud providers, and it has a partnership with HPE that makes the DSP available as a factory-supported option for HPE servers or through HPE GreenLake. The company has offices in India as well as the US.
6. Cato Networks
Headquarters: Tel Aviv, Israel
Founders: Gur Shatz, Shlomo Kramer
Funding: $202 million
Focused on security, Cato Networks offers a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) platform that combines software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and network security-as-a-service capabilities. The company has more than 400 enterprise customers worldwide, including Guardian Credit Union, ASL Aviation, Standard Insurance, Paysafe, Stratoscale, W&W-AFCO Steel, Worldwide IT, EduTech, Brake Masters, and others. It promises 99.999% uptime, and it has round-the-clock global network operations center (NOC) and security operations center (SOC) support.
7. Cockroach Labs
Headquarters: New York, New York
Founders: Benjamin Darnell, Peter Mattis, Spencer Kimball
Funding: $195.1 million
Cockroach Labs is the company behind CockroachDB, an elastic, scalable, distributed relational database designed for cloud-native applications. The database is available as an open source download, and the company also sells a commercially licensed enterprise version and a fully managed cloud version that runs on AWS or Google Cloud. Its customers include Comcast, WeWork, Lush, Bose, Kindred, Rubrik, Shipt, SpaceX, and others.
Headquarters: San Jose, California
Founders: Kaustubh Patil, Poojan Kumar, Woon Ho Jung
Funding: $186 million
Clumio is a backup as a service offering for protecting cloud data. It backs up AWS, Microsoft 365, VMware, and other types of workloads, and it promises easy management, predictable costs, scalability, global compliance, and advanced security. It has also won several awards, including VMworld 2019 Best of Show and being named the best place to work in the Bay Area for 2020 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
9. Plume Design
Headquarters: Palo Alto, California
Founders: Adam Hotchkiss, Aman Singla, Fahri Diner, Sri Nathan
Funding: $151 million
Plume describes its product as a “customer experience management platform” or CEM. Sold to service providers, like cable and Internet providers, its Smart Home Platform bundles together the Haystack back-end management software, HomePass personalized home command center for end users, and Harvest analytics and automation software. It also sells HomePass memberships directly to consumers. Its platform is based on the OpenSync open source software.
Headquarters: San Mateo, California
Founders: Benjamin Bercovitz, Filip Kaliszan, James Ren
Funding: $138.9 million
Verkada offers a cloud-based access control system for controlling physical access to office buildings and other sites. Its platform includes integrated video, and it offers a variety of cloud-connected video cameras with built-in solid-state drives. It also offers a simple cloud-based door controller that connects to its Command platform. It has more than 3,000 enterprise customers including The Salvation Army, Sunkist, World Oil, the YMCA, AmeriGas, Bank of Oklahoma, Cloudflare, Florida State University, and many others.
Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years. View Full Bio