The 10 Coolest Cloud Startups Of 2015

As The Cloud Matures, Startups Bloom And Thrive

At the top end of the industry, the cloud is consolidating, with a few so-called hyper-scale providers controlling an ever-greater portion of the overall market.

But as the cloud matures, many of the nimble startups formed earlier in the decade are also hitting their stride -- some established their presence on the global stage in 2015.

Young and innovative companies are undergoing rapid growth, securing the funding needed to scale globally and increasingly investing in partner programs, recognizing their channels are the keys to managing breakneck expansion.

At the same time, a new batch of startups are looking to disrupt the disrupters with technologies that keep pushing the limits of what's possible within the cloud computing model.

Here's CRN's not-at-all scientific list of 10 cloud-focused startups that made a mark in 2015.


CEO: Gaurav Manglik

CliQr, a Silicon Valley startup founded by veterans of VMware, has seen its business rapidly expand over the last year, with growth driven by the accelerating pace of hybrid cloud adoption.

CliQr's founders told CRN they believe the challenges businesses face in adopting cloud have less to do with computing, storage and networking infrastructure, and more to do with migrating and managing applications.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based developer of tools for managing clouds and migrating workloads between them secured a $20 million Series C round in April to fuel overseas growth.


CEO: Nat Kausik

Bitglass is among the new class of Cloud Access Security Brokers that's helping enterprises feel at ease in adopting cloud and mobile applications.

The startup, based in Campbell, Calif., helps businesses safely use Software-as-a-Service apps by securing corporate data living on third-party servers and traveling over third-party networks to mobile devices.

Bitglass encourages enterprises to take advantage of cloud-based software like Google Apps, Office 365, Salesforce and Dropbox through special security architectures that lend greater control over vital corporate data and visibility into Shadow IT.


Co-CEOs: Nicolas Desmarais and Daniel Saks

AppDirect reached unicorn status -- a valuation above $1 billion -- in October after securing additional funding to keep pace with its global expansion.

It's been a banner year in which the San Francisco-based SaaS marketplace developer added a reseller program, acquired another online SaaS store, and struck a technology partnership with Microsoft.

As it grows, AppDirect is also investing in the development of features to support the VARs and MSPs using its white-label platform to deliver curated app stores to their customers.

AppDirect's expansion plan relies on further empowering that burgeoning network of cloud software resellers through which it now reaches some 130 million business users.


CEO: Ofer Gadish

This startup specializing in enterprise workload mobility offers a conversion engine that moves any workload running in a Windows or Linux environment, without interruption, to just about any target cloud.

The company was founded in Tel Aviv in 2012 and is now run from an office in New York. The conversion engine it developed transfers boot volumes through continuous block-level replication, allowing live workloads to be migrated with minimal operational disruption.

The technology impressed Google enough for the Internet giant to offer to finance customer migrations to its public cloud platform performed with CloudEndure.


CEO: Elad Rave

This Israeli-American startup emerged from stealth in September with a cloud-based solution for accelerating Internet performance.

Teridion, which has U.S. offices in San Francisco, said its Global Cloud Network boosts both inbound and outbound traffic by optimizing the route those packets follow across global backbone networks. The technology can speed Internet performance by a factor of 20, according to the company.

The product achieves those results through real-time monitoring of the entire global network of networks -- identifying both green zones through which packets freely flow, and red ones experiencing congestion.


CEO: Jon Mittelhauser

CloudBolt's cloud-management software lives in that space between businesses and their multi-cloud IT environments, both those hosted on-premise and through public providers.

The Campbell, Calif.-based startup upped its game in September by expanding its platform to incorporate some of the latest and most-disruptive technologies. That latest release included support for VMware's software-defined networking solution, Linux containers and three public cloud environments.

As all sorts of clouds and micro services proliferate in the IT landscape, the market is heating up for cloud management platforms that can simplify provisioning and management of those often disparate technologies.


CEO: Dan Phillips

This Boston-based cloud management software developer offers its users a single, comprehensive view of a cloud ecosystem while enabling policy-driven management and governance of heterogeneous computing resources.

The platform can define, manage and implement changes programmatically to optimize cost, availability and performance.

By streamlining cloud management, CloudHealth helps customers align their cloud operations with their business objectives.


CEO: Ajay Gulati

ZeroStack was born when a group of virtualization pros decided to disrupt the enterprise data center with a prepackaged, self-service cloud appliance.

The startup, based in Mountain View, Calif., came out of stealth in August with an ultra-converged scalable system, including a proprietary SaaS layer offering management, operational intelligence and analytics tools.

The appliance offers the easiest and fastest way to deploy an enterprise-grade private cloud that looks and feels like a public cloud, according to ZeroStack.


CEO: Issy Ben-Shaul

Velostrata wants to wipe out a major barrier to hybrid cloud adoption. The Israeli-American developer came out of stealth August to unveil a technology that entirely decouples compute from storage.

The startup's software allows users to leverage inexpensive computing power on public cloud CPUs while keeping their data securely on-premise and entirely within their control.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company's CEO told CRN the technology should "unlock the power and potential of the hybrid cloud."

Cloud Cruiser

CEO: Dave Zabrowski

San Jose, Calif.-based Cloud Cruiser was founded six years ago to develop software that would help businesses gain visibility into their cloud consumption, forecast future usage and compare costs across platforms to achieve and maintain balance between IT demand and supply.

Demand for that technology is skyrocketing with the trend toward complex multi-cloud environments and heterogeneous data center infrastructure.

In August, Cloud Cruiser introduced workflow templates to help companies track in greater, more-granular detail how efficiently they're spending on public and private cloud resources.

The new package, CloudSmart-Now, works across the "Big 5" clouds: AWS, Microsoft Azure, the Windows Azure Pack private cloud, OpenStack and VMware.