The 10 Coolest Startups Of 2016

From The Ground Up

Enterprise IT is an evolving beast, one with plenty of room for the next startup to capitalize on the next big thing. But what separates a new company from the pack and makes them stand out as cool?

In the VC-infused Internet of Things space, it's a company like FogHorn Systems, whose software platform leverages machine learning to prevent catastrophic failures in industrial machines.

In the security market, it's a company like Bastille Networks, whose claim to fame is an enterprise-grade IoT security product that scans an organization's air space for threats.

Each year, CRN honors the coolest startup companies across a variety of technology areas, including cloud computing, security, storage, networking, big data and the Internet of Things. From those we've selected these 10 standouts as the coolest startups of 2016.

(For more of our 2016 retrospective, check out 'CRN's 2016 Tech Year In Review.')


CEO: David Drai

Israel-based Anodot exited stealth in November 2015 by unveiling its real-time anomaly detection and operational intelligence technology – software with patented machine-learning algorithms that automate business analytics and pinpoint performance issues and business opportunities. The goal is to find outliers within huge amounts of data and turn them into valuable business insight.

Bastille Networks

CEO: Chris Rouland

Bastille Networks touts itself as the first cybersecurity company to detect and mitigate threats from the Internet of Things, an area that is of growing importance to both customers and solution providers. The San Francisco-based company uses security sensors, software and airborne emission detection to create an enterprise-grade IoT security product that scans an organization's environment for threats. The product allows enterprises to detect, localize and assess security risks by safely and privately scanning a corporation's air space to give visibility into every emitting device on premise. Founded in 2014, Bastille's offering became generally available in October of this year.


CEO: Kumar Ramachandran

The SD-WAN startup's flagship Instant-On Networks (ION) family of products delivers an application-defined fabric that eliminates the need for hardware routers. In contrast to traditional hybrid-WAN alternatives, ION delivers the cloud without compromising remote offices or the need to rip and replace infrastructure.

CloudGenix CEO Kumar Ramachandran told CRN that the San Jose, Calif.-based company offers the only SD-WAN system that can run on an x86-based platform in the cloud or on premise. The company was founded in 2013 by former Cisco networking executives and emerged from stealth in 2014.

In August, CloudGenix launched its first-ever global partner program, attracting dozens of Cisco channel partners, master agents and cloud application-focused solution providers through its approach to providing proof-of-concept systems, online tools and solutions.


CEO: Jay Kreps

Working with live, streaming data is one of the big challenges in big data management and analytics. One technology that's addressing the problem is the open-source Apache Kafka message broker project that provides high-throughput, low-latency software for handling real-time data feeds.

Confluent, founded by Apache Kafka's original developers, has created a complete data platform around Kafka that acts as a real-time, fault-tolerant, highly scalable messaging system. The software can be used for collecting data from user activity logs, stock ticker systems, device instrumentation and a broad range of other use cases.

In May the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company announced the general availability of Confluent Platform 3.0, incorporating Kafka Streams for adding stream processing capabilities to applications, and the Confluent Control Center for operationalizing Kafka across an organization. In August Confluent stepped up its channel efforts, looking to recruit partners that could provide systems integration, application development and consulting services around its platform.

FogHorn Systems

CEO: David King

FogHorn Systems provides solutions for OEMs, systems integrators and customers in vertical markets – such as smart cities, health care, retail and manufacturing – through its "edge intelligence" software.

This software platform carries machine learning to the on-premise edge environment to prevent catastrophic failures in machines such as industrial pumps or wind turbines. The company also provides a scalable edge analytics platform to enable real-time, on-site stream processing of sensor data from industrial machines,

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company, which was founded in 2015, announced in July a $12 million in Series A funding, which CEO David King said it would use to develop IoT systems tailored for industrial and commercial partners.

Igneous Systems

CEO: Kiran Bhageshpur

Storage technology developer Igneous Systems in October came out of stealth with a plan to turn the management of on-premise storage into a low-cost cloud service. The Seattle-based company provides an on-premise storage array that sits behind the customer's firewall to protect the data. Monitoring, management and troubleshooting of the array and its data is handled over the cloud by Igneous Systems, freeing customers from those tasks.

The Igneous Data Service supports the Amazon S3 standard for cloud-based object storage. Pricing starts at $40,000 per year, which includes 212 TB of capacity, which is less than $200 per TB, or about 1.5 cents per GB, per month.


CEO: Oliver Friedrichs

Winner of this year's prestigious RSA Conference Innovation Sandbox competition, Phantom has a security orchestration and automation offering that aims to help enterprises close the gap between a rising tide of threats and a shortage of security staff. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company's platform allows companies to orchestrate prevention and response, as well as automate simpler security tasks. In addition to winning the Innovation Sandbox competition, Phantom landed $6.5 million in Series A funding in September and a strategic investment and technology development agreement from In-Q-Tel in April.

CEO: Rusty Cumpston is approaching the Internet of Things from an application development perspective. The company, which describes itself as "an IoT game-changer built by IoT veterans," offers a cloud-based real-time application development platform that it says developers, ISVs, and system builders can use to build – and deploy – real-time solutions such as IoT traffic and tracking services, mobile consumer apps and web privacy tools.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company, founded in 2015, enables applications to scale despite slow internet connections.'s platform manages the end-to-end ’chain of custody’ of IoT data flows, enabling strong data integrity and regulatory compliance for vertical requirements.


CEO: Issy Ben-Shaul

The promise of decoupling storage from compute attracted a good amount of attention to this startup founded by serial entrepreneurs in Israel. But Velostrata, now with headquarters in San Jose, Calif., enables a broader set of creative offerings to vexing hybrid and multicloud challenges.

The company's unique streaming technology makes it possible to leverage resources from cloud service providers to remotely process workloads without having to actually migrate any data to those providers.


CEO: Alexis Richardson

Weaveworks, founded by veterans of VMware, set out to solve networking challenges around Docker containers and simplify the process of connecting containerized-workloads. But the company, based in London and with offices in San Francisco, has evolved into a comprehensive platform for supporting cloud-native projects.

Weaveworks culls several open-source technologies to give DevOps teams an integrated cloud-based service for deploying and managing popular container technologies like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, Mesos and Amazon Web Service's ECS.