Cloud Startups Get Big Funding Infusions

Cloud startups turmoil on Wall Street

The largest of the loot-lucky lot is Okta, an on-demand and identity access management service, which raked in $16.5 million in Series B funding this week, funds the company said it will use to light a fire under enterprise cloud adoption. New Okta investors Greylock Partners and Khosla Ventures joined previous investors Andreessen Horowitz and Floodgate in the Okta ramp-up.

San Francisco-based Okta, which makes on-demand identity access and management services for enterprises to speed the secure adoption of their Web-based apps in the cloud and behind the firewall, will continue its aggressive growth strategy in a bid to make it easier for enterprises to adopt cloud applications.

"This new investment from Greylock and Khosla is a huge validation of our vision for a Cloud First IT enterprise," Todd McKinnon, Okta CEO, said in a statement. "We truly believe that leveraging the cloud is simply better for business -- it enhances productivity, cuts costs and opens up new opportunities. We're making cloud applications more accessible and easier for enterprises to manage -- something our customers are demanding … [W]e look forward to continuing our growth and helping organizations of all shapes and sizes reap the benefits of the cloud.”

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) player Apprenda also kicked off the week with a serious cash windfall, bringing in $10 million in Series B funding led by Ignition Partners with participation from previous investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and High Peaks Venture Partners (HPVP).

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Clifton Park, N.Y.-based Apprenda said it plans to use the new capital to accelerate the product roadmap and spin up marketing and sales initiatives around its private PaaS framework. Apprenda calls itself as the deploy-anywhere PaaS stack for .NET.

Apprenda fits snuggly into the growing cloud PaaS market, which by some estimates is expected to grow 113 percent by 2014, hitting almost $460 million. Over the past year, Apprenda has added 2,000 new installations and is looking to help organizations embrace the cloud.

Another cloud up-and-comer, BigTime Software, maker of cloud-based productivity tools for professional services firms, added $2 million to its coffers with Series A financing with LTC Partners, Geneva Venture Investment Management, Hickory Grove LLC and Howell Capital LLC participating.

Founded in 2002, Chicago-based BigTime makes time, bulling and practice management software that integrates with Intuit's QuickBooks financial platform for SMBs. BigTime said it will use the proceeds from the funding boost to build up its sales channel, expand marketing and product development and explore partnership opportunities beyond its existing OEM and reseller channel opportunities.

"Our flagship product is continuously being enhanced to meet the needs of our growing customer base and partner network," E. Jeffrey Lyons, BigTime Software president, said in a statement. "With this round of financing, we are poised to take our cloud-based, scalable solution to the next level of growth, both as an independent company and as a strategic partner with other industry leaders."

Lastly, it was also a big week for Minus, a file sharing startup that brought in $1 million in investment capital from IDG Capital Partners. New York-based Minus, which lets users leverage the cloud to share photos, documents, music, video and more, said it will continue build out its team and technology infrastructure and continue to beef up its file sharing platform.

Minus and others are among a recent crop of cloud computing companies to get massive monetary muscle.

Last month, Boston-based cloud PaaS startup CloudBees nabbed $10.5 million in Series A funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with Matrix Partners participating.