The 10 Hottest Tech Startups Of 2020 (So Far)

From cloud to big data to security, here are CRN's picks for the top tech startups that solution providers should know about right now.

Startups To Watch

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a massive toll on the economy in 2020, but it hasn't been able to halt the innovation and growth at up-and-coming tech startups in Silicon Valley and beyond. At CRN, we've been following the major developments at game-changing startups in segments from cloud to big data to security during the first half of the year. Some of these tech companies have raised venture capital funding rounds in the first months of 2020, while others have made a splash with big moves around product and market expansion. Crucially, all of the startup companies on our list are working closely with channel partners to bring their innovations to customers.

In the following slides, CRN rounds up 10 of the hottest tech startups that solution providers should know about in 2020.

For more of the biggest startups, products and news stories of 2020, click here.


CEO: Amir Khan

Multi-cloud networking startup Alkira emerged from stealth mode in April, bringing to the market a consumption-based cloud connection offering that can be up and running in minutes. Alkira, based in San Jose, Calif., was founded in 2018 by CEO Amir Khan and his brother and best friend, Atif Khan, Alkira's CTO. The two previously created and co-founded SD-WAN provider Viptela, which was bought by Cisco in 2017 for $610 million.

Alkira burst onto the scene with Cloud Services Exchange (CSX), a unified, on-demand offering that lets cloud architects and network engineers build and deploy a multi-cloud network in minutes. Alkira CSX offers cloud networking in an as-a-service format with the flexibility to turn services on and off as the business requires, with no up-front Capex purchase necessary.

Alkira CSX can give enterprises resilient network connectivity from their premises-based environments to the public cloud, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, as well as cloud-to-cloud connectivity. The platform also combines global multi-cloud network services, such as security, load balancing and IP address management on one dashboard. Alkira CSX can simplify billing of multi-cloud networking and services for enterprise customers and channel partners, the company said.

The startup said it is going to market primarily through channel partners, including global systems integrators, solution providers, and master agent and agent partners.


CEO: David Drai

Anodot offers big-data analytics software that leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence to monitor business and operational data in real time. Key capabilities include detecting anomalies for a range of applications such as customer experience management, financial management, and IT system and application performance monitoring.

In April, the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup announced raising $35 million in financing to accelerate development of its software and expand its go-to-market activities. The round was led by Intel Capital with participation from new investors SoftBank Ventures Asia, Samsung Next and La Maison.

Over the past year, Anodot disclosed that it has doubled its revenue and lists United Parcel Service, T-Mobile and Nordstrom among its customers. The company’s system currently tracks more than 400 million metrics daily.

The additional capital is being used to support Anodot's go-to-market activities, including expanding into new verticals such as banking and financial services, developing use-case-specific application packages, and increasing hiring across the company’s operations.

Awake Security

CEO: Rahul Kashyap

Awake Security offers network traffic analysis technology that hunts for attacker behaviors and provides forensics across networks to enable autonomous response. In April, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup closed a $36 million Series C round to expand its coverage model by developing a go-to-market program for solution providers. The company disclosed that it’s looking to evolve from working with channel partners tactically on a deal-by-deal basis to developing tight relationships with the top networking and security solution providers in North America and Europe.

Awake Security is seeking to go from driving less than 20 percent of its business through the channel to having as much as 90 percent of its business come from the channel. With the additional funding, the company has been planning to quadruple its sales engagement resources for the channel and to boost channel marketing dollars while rolling out a detailed partner program.

The recent funding round was led by Evolution Equity Partners with participation from Liberty Global Ventures. Awake Security has more than three dozen registered channel partners, and said it aims to be working with more than 100 solution providers by the fourth quarter of the year.


CEO: Geeta Schmidt

With log analysis a growing sector of the infrastructure management landscape, Humio is standing out with a unique platform for rapidly ingesting and analyzing log data. In March, the London-based startup--which has U.S. offices in San Francisco and Seattle--raised a $20 million Series B round led by Dell Technologies Capital and featuring participation from Accel.

Expanding the collection and analysis of both machine and business data has traditionally been an expensive affair—often challenging CIOs and business leaders to justify the costs. Humio, founded in 2016, looks to drive down those costs with a platform that increases efficiency across four crucial parameters: compute power, storage, operations and licensing.

The Humio platform, either installed on-premises or delivered as Software-as-a-Service, achieves gains in efficiency that reduce the need for servers, storage capacity, and operational complexity, according to the company. The startup also recently released an Unlimited Ingest for the Cloud plan that caps rates after customers surpass a certain threshold of usage.

Part of the reason Humio can deliver cost-effective, all-encompassing log management is an underlying architecture that doesn’t index logs--but allows them to be consumed as unstructured data, the company has said. That architecture rapidly speeds ingestion and compression, according to Humio.

Huntress Labs

CEO: Kyle Hanslovan

Huntress Labs offers SaaS-based managed detection and response for MSPs and VARs. The Ellicott City, Md.-based company gained notoriety in February when the startup worked with Datto and ConnectWise to save an MSP's access credentials from being sold on the dark web. A team of security professionals from Huntress Labs and the other companies were able to catfish the hacking suspect, warn the MSP and work with the FBI, which later arrested the suspect.

Also in February, Huntress Labs announced it had raised an $18 million Series A round led by ForgePoint Capital. The startup said it would use the money to accelerate its product development efforts while expanding its reach into new market segments and geographic areas.


CEO: Varma Kunaparaju

OpsRamp provides an AIOps platform for hybrid enterprise IT operations, enabling discovery, monitoring and automation of hybrid and multi-cloud environments. In January, the San Jose, Calif.-based startup announced closing a $37.5 million funding round that was joined by new investor Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Part of the funding haul has gone toward enabling the startup's diverse channel and boosting the profitability of systems integrators, resellers and MSPs. Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital led the Series C round, which added a second investment from Sapphire Ventures in addition to HPE's stake.

OpsRamp says it has been putting the funding toward hiring more staff to engage its growing channel. The startup has also been investing in further scaling the distribution of the company’s cloud-based platform for enterprises and MSPs.

The SaaS model for delivering hybrid-cloud management is popular with both SMBs and enterprises managing complex environments, making it a good fit for solution providers focused on multi-cloud and hybrid cloud, according to OpsRamp.

Orca Security

CEO: Avi Shua

Orca Security provides a cloud security solution that aims to quickly analyze all cloud assets and find risks, without per asset integrations or agents. In May, the Los Angeles-based startup raised a $20 million Series A funding round. The investment was led by GGV Capital with participation from YL Ventures and Silicon Valley CISO Investments.

The company was founded in 2019 by former Check Point executives Avi Shua and Gil Geron to deliver full-stack IaaS and PaaS cloud security visibility. Orca says its SideScanning technology can be deployed instantaneously without the impact and complexity of per asset agents.

Orca's technology automatically assesses the security state of every discovered asset throughout the entire technology stack, including the cloud control plane, operating system, applications and business data -- ultimately delivering complete visibility into issues such as vulnerabilities, malware, misconfigurations and password issues, according to the company.


CEO: Greg Murphy

IoT security startup Ordr in May launched a global partner program that aims to give solution providers multiple ways to make money in securing and controlling connected devices on corporate IT networks. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company--whose top executives came from Aruba Networks--announced the global expansion of the partner program for its artificial intelligence-based Systems Control Engine after coming out of stealth mode last year with former Aruba Networks CEO Dominic Orr joining as chairman.

What makes Ordr's Systems Control Engine different from other IoT security solutions on the market is the company's "closed-loop process" for identifying and securing connected devices, according to the startup. This means the software uses telemetry to identify devices and machine learning to establish normal behavior patterns, which are then used to automatically create segmentation policies.

For Ordr's partner program, the company says it is designed to support maximum flexibility for different partner business models--which includes referral, assessment, authorized reselling and managed services. Other aspects of the program include ongoing technical and sales training, joint solution development and selling, multi-vendor infrastructure integrations and field marketing support.


CEO: Amiram Shachar

Spotinst was born with a solution to better enable consumption of the spot instances offered by large cloud providers--but an expanding CloudOps portfolio in recent years motivated the startup to rebrand. In March, the Israeli-American company changed its name to Spot. The moniker reflects a shift from the original, dedicated product--which helps companies take advantage of the discounts public clouds offer when they have unused capacity--to a comprehensive platform for optimizing cloud environments and adopting CI/CD and infrastructure-as-code DevOps processes.

Highlighting the motivation to rebrand has been a recently launched product called Cloud Analyzer that delivers holistic visibility into cloud environments and recommendations for provisioning resources to ramp performance and availability while reducing costs. Customers of major cloud providers can plug in to Cloud Analyzer, which auto-discovers infrastructure, workloads, anomalies, usage, spending trends, and other assets in their cloud environments, then prepares a plan for how to deploy their cloud footprint in the most efficient way. That includes which instances can be optimized by spot, or reserve, pricing plans. With one click, those options can become part of the customer’s cloud-provisioning pipeline, according to Spot.


CEO: David Friend

Wasabi, a provider of hot cloud storage for businesses, in May unveiled a new $30 million round of funding. The deal from investors including Forestay Capital brought total funding to $110 million for the Boston-based startup.

Wasabi says that its technology stands out by enabling cloud storage that is one-fifth the price of Amazon S3, while also having no fees for egress or API requests.

In April, Wasabi disclosed the arrival of interoperability for its technology with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 v4. Wasabi provides cloud storage in concert with more than 200 tech partners, which provide capabilities such as data protection. Along with Veeam, those partners include Rubrik, Actifio, Commvault and Komprise.

Meanwhile, Wasabi's Reserved Capacity Storage pricing model, introduced in February, lets customers purchase a reserved amount of cloud storage for a fixed price for one, three or five years. The pricing model lets customers more easily compare cloud storage costs to those of on-premises storage hardware, while allowing channel partners to sell cloud storage capacity as a SKU in the same way that they would sell a new on-prem storage appliance, the company has said.