The 10 Coolest Startups Of 2012

A Year Of Change

In 2012, startups attacked the technology world, offering new ways to work more efficiently, cheaply and quickly in a world undergoing massive change due to the onset of cloud computing, big data, virtualization and analytics.

The coolest startups of 2012 responded to these changes with innovations that promise to change our lives.

Continue on and discover these groundbreaking startups for yourself.

10. Metamarkets

CEO: Michael Driscoll

Metamarkets won both critical acclaim and major funding for its real-time, cloud-based analytics platform to view data, support decisions and enhance operational awareness.

The San Francisco-based startup was named Best Cloud Application at the 2012 Cloud Computing World Series Awards presented in June in London. Metamarkets also won $23 million in venture funding from a variety of investors, including Khosla Ventures.

The Metamarkets analytics platform provides processing, querying and visualization of high-volume, high-frequency data.

9. Qumulo

CEO: Peter Godman

Qumulo caught everybody's attention when the enterprise data storage startup said in November that it garnered $24.5 million in a funding, led by Highland Capital Partners, with participation from Madrona Venture Group and Valhalla Partners.

The company is addressing issues created by the demands of big data to help enterprises scale and manage massive amounts of data.

"The next five years will bring a variety of new approaches to deal with the massive explosion of data and its manageability, and Qumulo will be at the forefront of that revolution," Charles Curran, general partner at Valhalla Partners, said in a statement when the funding was announced.

8. Astute Networks

CEO: Steve Topper

Astute Networks is making waves with its Networked Performance Flash and related technologies, which speed up cloud computing, server and desktop virtualization deployments and deliver optimized data stores using flash memory.

The San Diego, Calif.-based company in June won $12 million in venture funding, led by Samsung Venture Investment Corp., the investment arm of Samsung Group, a provider of NAND Flash memory.

Also participating in the funding round were Tallwood Venture Capital and Narra Venture Capital, as well as Ayala Capital, ICCP Venture Partners and TIFF.

7. SimpliVity

CEO: Doron Kempel

SimpliVity came out of stealth mode in August and released OmniCube, an appliance that integrates virtualization, networking, server and storage management.

The OmniCube platform simplifies deployment and management of virtual infrastructure to allow IT administrators to manage virtual machines.

One month later, Westborough, Mass.-based SimpliVity announced $25 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with existing investors Accel Partners and Charles River Ventures also participating in the funding round, bringing total funding to $43 million.

6. Gridstore

CEO: Kelly Murphy

Gridstore, a cloud-based storage startup, offers grid-based, scale-out storage with its flagship product, The Grid, featuring its own Virtual Controller Technology.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company won $12.5 million in venture funding in October, led by GGV Capital and Onset Ventures, bringing total investment in the company to $15 million.

Gridstore sells its products exclusively through a network of resellers serving small and large customers.

5. Pure Storage

CEO: Scott Dietzen

Pure Storage, a developer of storage arrays based on Flash memory technology instead of hard drives, in May introduced general availability of its Pure Storage FlashArray 2.0, a full-fledged primary storage array.

The Pure Storage FlashArray 2.0 features both in-line and global data deduplication in combination with a non-volatile RAM (NV-RAM) cache that runs continuously, the company said.

One month later, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced venture funding of $55 million, including a stake held by Samsung, one of the world's largest providers of Flash memory chips.

4. Bromium

CEO: Gaurav Banga

Bromium exited stealth mode in June to unveil its Microvisor, which can identify vulnerable tasks and isolate them within a micro-virtual machine, a container that monitors access to all operating system services and resources.

Bromium also said it has raised $26.5 million in funding from Highland Capital Partners, the lead investor; Intel Capital, a new investor; and Andreessen Horowitz and Ignition Ventures, existing investors.

3. CipherCloud

CEO: Praveen Kothari

Cloud security is on everyone's minds, and that's good news for CipherCloud, a provider of cloud encryption gateways for private and public clouds.

In December, the San Jose, Calif., company received $30 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures and T-Systems, the venture arm of Deutsche Telekom.

CipherCloud's gateway acts as a platform to secure user data for applications, including, Gmail, Chatter and Amazon Web Services. The gateway incorporates security controls, including tokenization, activity monitoring and malware detection.

2. Appthority

CEO: Anthony Bettini

Appthority's software analyzes mobile apps for risky behavior to prevent malware infection and loss of sensitive corporate data or intellectual property.

The San Francisco-based company won the 2012 Innovation Sandbox competition at the RSA Conference and in May said it raised $6.25 million in a financing round led by Venrock and US Venture Partners.

Appthority integrates with third-party mobile device management vendors, such as BoxTone, as well as products from mobile application management vendors, such as Apperian. It also partners with app developers who are migrating line-of-business apps to the mobile environment.

1. ProfitBricks

U.S. CEO: Robert Rizika

ProfitBricks entered the cloud infrastructure market with a bang in September when it released data center architecture that allows cloud customers to access cheaper and more flexible cloud services with a pay-per-minute plan and the ability to change workloads on the fly.

ProfitBricks, based in Boston, Mass., and Berlin, Germany, takes a different approach than other IaaS providers, which use a horizontal architecture that requires customers to pre-select in weekly, monthly or yearly packagers, server size with CPU, RAM and storage included, with servers added as needed.

ProfitBricks infrastructure, conversely, is built on a vertical scale so users can select server instances with varying numbers of CPU cores and gigabytes of RAM.