The 10 Coolest Cloud Startups Of 2013 (So Far)

Forging A New Path In The Cloud

From mobile application development to teleconferencing, cloud computing is revolutionizing the way various technology sectors operate. And cloud startups are at the forefront of this movement. Here, CRN takes a look at some of the more innovative startups that are actively engaged in building markets of the future or transforming existing ones.

From a company that is facilitating OpenStack environments for big data to a company that develops apps stores, CRN looks at 10 cloud startups making waves in the first half of 2013.


CEO: JR Rivers

Cumulus Networks has been shaking up networking with a Linux-based network operating system unveiled in June. The technology brings the flexibility and low-cost benefits of open source to data center networks that Cisco and other vendors have dominated. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company wants to break their dominance and is testing Cumulux Linux for use in corporate data centers and by cloud service providers.


CEO: Chris Kemp

Nebula has developed a new Open Stack hardware appliance for the deployment and management of private clouds, and to better accommodate the rigors of big data, web and mobile applications, using an open source architecture geared toward preventing vendor lock-in. The company places an emphasis on simplifying the management of infrastructure in order to enable more time to be invested in the development and optimization of applications. The system can be scaled to multirack deployments, if needed.

At this year's OpenStack Summit, Nebula unveiled a partnership with LSI, in which the two would accelerate the sharing and storage of data in OpenStack environments for big data, web and mobile applications.

Codename One

CEO: Shai Almog

Codename One is targeting the mobile device application development market with an eye toward establishing technology versatile enough to accommodate the full range of mobile platforms currently delivered through the cloud, as opposed to having separate platforms for iPhones, Android devices and Windows devices. As more players enter the increasingly competitive mobility space, the complexity is expected to increase.

The company’s SDK uses IDE plug-ins, a visual design tool and simulators for the various environments. Codename One, which has been in development for the past five years, is intended to provide "a single, coherent product" that can work within the development environments of all the major manufacturers.

SaaS Markets

CEO: Ferdi Roberts

This San Mateo, Calif.-based company develops app stores that open the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market to a much broader base of companies that would otherwise lack the skill sets to develop such platforms on their own. The company's MarketMaker platform is designed to support any proprietary apps developed by the customer, as well as a list of more than 1,500 prequalified third-party applications. Deployment time is described as a "matter of weeks." The company is specifically targeting finance, technology and retail customers.

BitSight Technologies

CEO: Shaun McConnon

BitSight Technologies is tapping into the growing market for security solutions and in June secured $24 million Series A financing to up the ante.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company, which allows customers to respond to potential data security threats by quantifying risk, got its start with seed money from the National Science Foundation. The company plans to use the new infusion of cash to expand product development, hire sales and marketing staff and launch the company’s first product. The aim is to identify and quantify security risk, providing organizations with the information they need to control security.

Revolve Robotics

CEO: Marcus Rosenthal

While cloud-based teleconferencing, itself, is nothing new, Revolve Robotics takes that experience to the next level with a nifty pan-and-tilt functionality that enables users to literally look around the room on the opposite side of the connection. Marketed as "Kubi," the product is controlled through a "tap-to-center" interface that enables the camera to virtually turn its head to zoom in on different individuals in the conference. The product can interface with Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Cisco Jabber, and other video clients, is USB and Bluetooth-compatible, and comes with a four-hour battery pack, as well as a DC jack.


CEO: Pravin Kothari

San Jose, Calif.-based CipherCloud wants to help more enterprise companies say yes to the cloud by providing security solutions. The cloud native offers encryption and tokenization gateways that address concerns about data privacy, residency, security and compliance. The CipherCloud Platform, which addresses public and private cloud applications, secures a range of cloud applications, including,, Chatter, Gmail, Office 365 and Amazon Web Services.


CEO: Claus Moberg

Wisconsin may not be the first place that jumps into your mind when you think about technology startups, but Madison, Wis.-based SnowShoe has developed a small device used for authenticating cloud-based mobile transactions. The company has opened its APIs to the developer community, which has already begun experimenting with the device to execute a variety of functions, using Java and PHP. One application, which was demonstrated at a conference in San Francisco earlier this year, involved use of the device to authenticate authorization to pass through electronically locked doors.


CEOs: Evan Richman (left) and Todd Schwartz

SkyKick had barely launched its automated Microsoft Office 365 cloud migration suite in 2013 before inking a deal with Fortune 500 distributor Synnex. The two companies made the deal official in July and announced they are ready to ramp up distribution of SkyKick's cloud migration automation platform, which helps solution providers move SMB customers from legacy systems to Office 365 in just hours instead of the delicate and lengthy procedure the process usually requires. SkyKick requires no certification but offers online training. Solution providers register online and can immediately begin a project that handles the migration, from an analysis of the legacy email system and architecture to moving the data and settings.


CEO: Ben Milne

Dwolla is giving credit card companies, as well as PayPal and other payment services, a run for their money with a network that allows cloud-based transactions -- with low fees and backing from credit unions -- without the use of plastic cards. The service connects directly to the users' bank accounts, and charges a flat rate of 25 cents for transactions higher than $10. Smaller amounts are delivered free of charge. By default, the receiver of the funds pays the service charge, but that can be reversed, if desired.

Dwolla, based in Des Moines, allows businesses or individuals to send money to emails, phone numbers, Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, Twitter followers and any business that accepts the service. Money also can be sent to people who do not yet have a Dwolla account. The catch is they will have to set one up if they want to get paid.