The 10 Coolest Startups of 2014 (So Far)

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Startups in healthcare, big data, virtualization, security, cloud and more are vying for their slice of a market where there's an insatiable appetite for technology solutions. The startups that have cropped up so far this year are using their solutions to cure cancer, accelerate the shift to the cloud, protect from security attacks in new ways and help businesses take advantage of big data. Here's a look at the 10 coolest startups of the year so far.

Flatiron Health

Co-founders: Nat Turner, Zach Weinberg

After watching family members struggle with cancer, Flatiron Health's founders saw that the oncology departments hadn't realized the value and potential in data and analytics for finding a cancer cure. So Flatiron Health developed OncologyCloud and OncoAnalytics to help life sciences and providers integrate EMRs, provide business intelligence and build analytics to match patients for trials among other functions all of which are available in a HIPAA-compliant cloud environment. Investors have come out in droves for the platform, with Google Ventures, First Round Capital and Labcorp investing $130 million in the latest round of venture capital funding.

Cumulus Networks

CEO: JR Rivers

Former Cisco and VMware executives teamed up to build Cumulus Networks. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company creates Cumulus Linux, a full-feature Linux-based operating system for networking hardware. The differentiator with a Linux-based OS for networking, Cumulus Networks said, is it allows for a "cloud-like" infrastructure on any industry standard networking equipment to easily enable software defined networking. Just nine months after kicking off the program, Cumulus Networks announced in June that it was going global with its channel program to cover North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific.

Databricks Cloud

CEO: Ion Stoica

Big data managed-service company Databricks Cloud has built a platform to helps users "get started with big data in seconds." The platform is 100 percent open source, based on Apache Spark, which Databricks Cloud founders helped create. Through the platform, users have plenty of options to explore their data using SQL, Python, Java or Scala. From there, users can analyze, visualize and put data into production, in what the company calls a "one-stop shop" for big data. While the product was just launched on June 30, the company has been making moves in the market, signing a partnership with SAP and pulling in $33 million in Series B venture capital funding.


CEO: Rocky Bullock

Hyper-converged infrastructure developer Nimboxx released its first appliance combining storage, server, networking and virtualization technology. After exiting stealth mode in June with the announcement of $12 million in new funding, the Austin, Texas-based startup is targeting mid-market MSPs for its 1U appliance with both flash and disk storage that allows customers to deploy a single unit or scale out capacity and performance on multiple nodes. Based on its own Nimboxx Mesh Operating System, the stack includes server, storage, networking, security and virtualization hypervisor technology.

Affinity Cloud Connections

Founder: Maureen Lindsey

Calling itself the "technology matchmaker for the cloud," Affinity Cloud Connections (ACC) helps vendors and VARs smoothly move to the cloud and bring the right cloud solutions into their portfolios. To achieve that goal, the San Diego, Calif.-based startup uses a portfolio of tools that includes a development, technical and portfolio roadmaps, branded billing platforms, app and data migration, cloud strategies, major vendor expertise, disaster recovery solutions and more.

"We accelerate time-to-market and revenue-generation opportunities," Maureen Lindsey, ACC founding partner, said in a May interview with CRN. "Partners rely on ACC to formulate strategies, create the plan and move it forward by bringing together the right technology and solution portfolio partners to drive it forward -- fast and efficiently."


CEO: Bob Petrocelli

GreenBytes delivers desktop virtualization storage optimization solutions that are designed to help solution providers deliver less expensive virtual desktops. The Providence, R.I.-based company's technology works with open source file system ZFS, packaging it in an appliance called IO-Offload that it sells to telecom and MSPs as well as vIO, a virtual storage appliance running IO-Offload.

In May, GreenBytes was acquired by Oracle for an undisclosed amount. Partners said they believed the addition to the Oracle portfolio, which also acquired ZFS developer Sun Microsystems in 2010, would help improve the company's storage appliances.


CEO: Jacob 'Kobi' Margolin

With all of the data driven from EHR solutions and clinical data, Clinigence is working to help healthcare providers drive value and improve patient care using the data at their fingertips. Clinigence is a cloud-based software-as-a-service solution that integrates with third-party EHR and cloud systems and allows for easy collaboration across organizations. The idea is to help providers shift from a volume-based practice to one able to focus on value-based payment models. To achieve that aim, the Atlanta, Ga.-based company has teamed up with vendor and VAR partners to serve more than 300 practices, 1,000 providers and 3.5 million patient records.

Igneous Systems

CEO: Kiran Bhageshpur

Started by a team of executives and engineers from Amazon Web Services, NetApp, EMC and Microsoft Azure, Igneous Systems is working to change the way enterprises are building and scaling data centers using the cloud. The company is staying quiet about what that means, but best guesses say it's working to bring the data center management technologies used by AWS, Google and more down to the enterprise companies with their own data centers. The Seattle-based company raised $23.6 million in Series A venture capital funding to help accelerate its product development for enterprises in the cloud, the company said in May.


CEO: Stuart McClure

Founded by former McAfee executives, Cylance is working to remove the "human element" from security with its enterprise endpoint security platform that uses mathematical analysis to detect threats. The Irvine, Calif-.-based company said the problem with traditional security is it relies on people knowing what is good or bad, or trusting security vendors to know. But Cylance's Infinity solution relies on data mining, algorithms and machine learning to collect, classify and learn what is a threat and what isn't. In February, the company raised $20 million in Series B venture capital funding to accelerate product growth and its go-to-market strategy.


CEO: Josh Stella

Luminal is a startup looking to address security and control in the cloud through DevOps. Its Luminal Conductor helps address the deficiencies and vulnerabilities in the way computing is normally architected. Instead, Luminal is working to use the cloud, starting with Amazon Web Services, to their advantage to give control, cost efficiency and security to their clients. Earlier this year, the company won $3.8 million in Series A venture capital funding from Core Capital Partners, Maryland Venture Fund and New Enterprise Associates to continue to grow its engineering staff.