CRN 30th Anniversary: Three Decades Of Tech Startups

30 Years Of Tech Startups

What do Dell, Cisco Systems and Symantec have in common with Continuum, Actifio and CloudBees? They were all startups at some point over the last 30 years. Continuing our celebration of CRN's 30th anniversary this year, here's a year-by-year look back at some technology startups through the last three decades. Can those latter three companies have the same success as the first three? Check back in 30 years to find out.



As CRN was born, so was Symantec, which has grown into a leading security developer for VARs all over the world. And, Symantec wasn't alone. Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Autodesk were also founded in 1982.


Intuit's QuickBooks

Intuit's QuickBooks has become the de facto accounting solution for many small businesses. Twenty-nine years later, the company is still going strong, most recently striking an alliance with Other tech companies founded in 1983 include Planar Systems and Acom Solutions.


Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems was founded by the husband and wife team of Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner, who developed the multi-protocol router because they couldn't email each other from different buildings. Cisco grew to become the most prominent networking vendor in the industry. Other startups that year included Lenovo, Dell and RSA, making the Class of 1984 an especially strong one.



Adtran was founded in 1985 and has since become one of the largest providers of telecommunications and networking products from its Huntsville, Ala.-based headquarters. In addition to Adtran, Gateway, Sophos and Raritan also started business in 1985.



D-Link was founded in Taiwan as Datex Systems as a network adapter manufacturer and has expanded into one of the largest SMB networking vendors in the world, serving more than 100 companies. Asigra, a Toronto-based cloud backup and recovery software company, was also started in 1986.



McAfee spent more than 20 years building one of the largest security companies in the world before it was purchased by Intel in 2010. Quest Software, based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., was also founded in 1987.


Trend Micro

Trend Micro was started in Los Angeles but moved to Asia soon after. From there it launched its first antivirus product for LANs and developed into a global player on the security front. Just this week, the company rolled out an improved DLP security platform. In addition, Huawei and Business Objects were also founded in 1988.


Citrix Systems

Citrix, now based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was founded in Texas in 1989 but spent several years struggling before its first remote access application was developed in 1993. Now the company's Xen virtualization solutions are used by thousands of VARs. In 1989, Hitachi Data Systems and Veritas Software were also founded.



Polycom founders Brian Hinman and Jeffrey Rodman kicked off the '90s by launching Polycom. The company started making audio conferencing equipment and soon added video, where they have become a major player. Panda Security, founded in Spain, was also launched that year.



Lexmark was launched in 1991, when IBM sought to divest itself from its printer and supplies business. Headquartered in Lexington, Ky., Lexmark has made its name as one of the top print vendors to the channel. Joining Lexmark in the Class of '91 are SonicWall and Broadcom.



While it was a tough week on Wall Street for NetApp, the company founded as Network Appliance has survived 20 years selling storage and data management solutions. Also founded in 1992 was Palm and GFI Software.


Red Hat

Red Hat, based in Raleigh, N.C., was launched in 1993 and started its meteoric rise as Linux-based solutions gained popularity. Other tech startups from '93 are Check Point Software Technologies and SuperMicro.



San Diego-based Websense launched its Web-filtering application business in 1994 and went public in 2000. Other tech companies founded that year include QLogic, Wasp Barcode Technologies, oh, and a little company called Amazon.



Brocade, founded in San Jose, Calif., by some former Sun Microsystems executives, spent two years under wraps before it launched its first fiber channel switch in 1997 and was incorporated in 1999. Networking router maker Linksys, later purchased by Cisco, was also founded in 1995.


Juniper Networks

Juniper, founded in Sunnyvale, Calif., was founded in 1996 and soon launched a big campaign to compete against rival Cisco Systems on the networking front. It was a strong year for innovation in technology, as Netgear, CommVault, Blue Coat Systms, Autonomy, F5 Networks, WatchGuard Technologies, Extreme Networks and ShoreTel were all founded in 1996.


Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab was founded in 1997 in Moscow to develop secure content and threat management solutions. Since then, Kaspersky has grown into a global security giant and recently hired a new channel chief for North America.



If VMware, based in Palo Alto, Calif., didn't invent the concept of virtualization, it certainly has become synonymous with the technology. And yet, VMware's market capitalization is only a fraction of another company founded in 1998: Google. Rackspace and NetSuite were also founded that year.


San Francisco-based revolutionized the software industry and helped pioneer the software-as-a-service model with its hosted CRM application. Other new companies in 1999 include 3Par, Level Platforms, Digium and Crossbeam Systems.



Avaya was created in 2000 as a spinoff of Lucent Technologies. Since then, the company has become a unified communications giant and made a big splash by acquiring one of its chief competitors, Nortel, in 2009. Other companies founded in the Y2K era include Kaseya, Fortinet, N-able Technologies and FalconStor.



Autotask was founded in 2001 but spent its infant and toddler years learning to walk. Initially marketing IT business management software to end users, Autotask, based in East Greenbush, N.Y., found its niche selling its professional services automation platform to solution providers and never looked back. Security vendor Bitdefender was also founded that year.


Aruba Networks

Aruba Networks was founded in Sunnyvale, Calif., as a VC-backed company to offer enterprise wireless LAN and other products. It was a busy year in 2002 for tech startups, as Compellent Technologies, Riverbed Technology, ExaGrid Systems and eFolder are among the companies that opened their doors that year.


Barracuda Networks

Barracuda introduced its spam and virus firewall in 2003. Now headquartered in Campbell, Calif., the company has expanded to more security, networking and storage solutions. ScienceLogic, a monitoring and management company, was also founded that year.


Ruckus Wireless

Headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Ruckus has made its mark selling advanced wireless systems. The company is reportedly lining up bankers for an IPO. Also founded in 2004 are NetEnrich and A10 Networks.


Palo Alto Networks

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palo Alto Networks, founded just seven years ago, has quickly become a player in the next-generation firewall market. Joining Palo Alto in the Class of 2005 were startups gloStream and Corelytics.



As cloud computing and business continuity solutions have increased in demand, so has Axcient's presence in the market since being founded in 2006. The company rolled out a new channel program earlier this year after doubling its number of partners in 2011. In addition, CentraStage, BlueLock and CloudScaling all were founded in 2006.



Named as one of CRN's Emerging Managed Services Vendors You Need to Know last fall, Bellevue, Wash.-based Doyenz, founded in 2007, offers cloud-based business continuity solutions. Meanwhile, other tech companies including Datto and eGestalt were also founded that year.



Dropbox, based in San Francisco, has made its name with a platform that allows users to share documents, photos and other files through a cloud-based model. Founded in 2008, it was picked as one of CRN's 20 Coolest Cloud Storage & Data Center Vendors earlier this year.



Actifio was selected as one of our Coolest Emerging Vendors for 2011 thanks to its Actifio VDP (Virtual Data Pipeline) for data protection, disaster recovery and business continuity. Other companies founded in 2009 include Eucalyptus Systems and OS33.



CloudBees was founded in 2010 and made some buzz a year later when it got $10.5 million in Series B financing for its cloud platform-as-a-service.



Continuum began life last year as Zenith RMM, a spinoff of Zenith Infotech, but that name lasted just three months as it sought to distance itself from its former owner.


Cloud Practice

Cloud is certainly the operative word for 2012. This year alone, at least seven companies have been founded with the word "Cloud" in the name, including Cloud Practice, which has launched an SaaS-based EMR software for doctors in Canada. Other tech companies founded this year include, Theme Cloud,, Cloud9express, RipCloud, CloudGizmos and CloudMed.

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Where Are They Now?
30 Years Of Headlines
30 In Their 30s
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