Celebrating The Innovation Drivers: Stellar Startups You Need To Know In 2023

In our annual Stellar Startups special report, CRN shines a spotlight on some of the most exciting channel-focused startup vendors with leading-edge technologies that are creating new opportunities for solution providers.


Startups are a core driver of innovation in the IT industry, and maintaining a focus on the startup front and the new technologies and products they provide is key to a thriving channel.

That’s because solution providers looking for a competitive edge should be aware of startups with breakthrough technology they can use to develop leading-edge solutions for their customers.

Some of the companies on this year’s Stellar Startups list (formerly known as the Emerging Vendors list) already have a significant presence in their respective markets including Wasabi Technologies in cloud storage, Orca Security in cloud security, ThreatLocker in endpoint security, Starburst in big data analytics, and Tecton in AI and machine learning.

Sponsored post

Meanwhile, some startups are continuing to attract eye-popping investments. In August Network-as-a-Service provider Nile raised $175 million in a Series C funding round, while DevSecOps platform company Endor Labs raised $70 million in Series A funding. In September data analytics startup MotherDuck collected $52.5 million in Series B funding while cybersecurity tech startup Lumu Technologies snagged $30 million, also in a Series B round.

[Related: Stellar Startups You Need To Know In 2023: The Complete List]

Startups can also be attractive acquisitions for established vendors looking to expand their product portfolios with the technologies developed by startups.

In June, for example, HashiCorp, a provider of DevOps infrastructure provisioning and management products, acquired BluBracket, a startup developer of software code security and secrets detection tools. In October Palo Alto Networks struck a deal (reportedly valued at $400 million) to acquire cloud data startup Dig Security. And just last week Palo Alto Networks said it would acquire secure web browser provider Talon Cyber Security for a reported $625 million.

Startups are increasingly recognizing that solution providers can play an important role in introducing next-generation products to customers by building solutions around them and offering services to smooth new product adoption.

NaaS startup Nile, for example, said it intended to use some of its $175 million funding to expand its channel efforts, despite having just exited stealth mode in 2022.

“One of our primary goals with this [funding round] is to open more channels through large system integrators and service providers to expand our reach into large global customers,” Vivek Khemani, Nile channels vice president, told CRN. “Our partner program is designed to make it easy for partners to get started and quickly achieve profitability, and by using this funding to focus on our core strengths, we will further our partners’ ability to pioneer network transformation for their customers.”

The CRN 2023 Stellar Startups list includes more than 100 startups founded in 2017 or later with annual revenue of $1 billion or less and are working with channel partners in North America. A complete list of the 2023 Stellar Startups list can be found here.

Throughout this week CRN is also running slide shows with the Stellar Startups in key technology categories including:

*AI and Machine Learning

*Big Data

*Business Applications


*Network and Unified Communications



Gina Narcisi contributed to this story.