The 10 Coolest Cloud Startups Of 2016

Startups Making Waves

The cloud has become a platform for innovation from a new breed of startups looking to capitalize on the sea changes reshaping the industry.

Businesses are accelerating their migrations to the cloud, selecting infrastructure providers that can supplement or totally supplant their on-premises data centers. But the goal of cloud adoption, ultimately, isn't to shift resources, alter spending dynamics or better manage complex environments.

The goal is to achieve digital transformation.

That means enterprises -- across all industries -- want the ability to rapidly develop, test, and deploy applications at cloud scale.

The following are 10 innovative young companies helping usher in a new era of agile software development, DevOps methodology, and automated, elastic infrastructure that enables digital transformation.

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

Avi Networks

CEO: Amit Pandey

This startup, based in Santa Clara, Calif., made a name for itself by developing load balancers for modern data centers hosting cloud-native apps.

The Avi Vantage Platform automates services like load balancing, analytics, predictive auto-scaling and security, both for private and public clouds. The startup focuses on supporting software-defined infrastructure run on commodity x86 servers and accelerating the delivery of application services in dynamic hybrid environments.


CEO: Ben Uretsky

Most cloud infrastructure providers tout their credentials for hosting production workloads, but not New York City-based DigitalOcean.

Instead, the Infrastructure-as-a-Service startup has built its cloud with the needs of developers, not enterprises, in mind. That means minimal options to choose from, reduced friction, and a bare-bones pricing model.


CEO: Josh Stella

Fugue, based in Frederick, Md., is looking to innovate around the management of cloud infrastructure for hosting legacy and cloud-native apps.

To better automate the provisioning of resources critical to powering distributed applications, Fugue offers its own programming language that operations managers can use to declare their infrastructure. The Fugue engine then automatically implements those rules, for now on Amazon Web Services.


CEO: Dave McJannet

The San Francisco startup offers a number of DevOps tools that have surged in popularity in recent years among teams looking to deploy and manage applications across modern data center infrastructure.

It all started with Vagrant, a tool that facilitates portable development environments, which co-founder Mitchell Hashimoto built in college before founding his company.

Now HashiCorp offers a complete lifecycle portfolio for monitoring, deploying, securing, provisioning, packaging, testing and building modern cloud-based applications.

CEO: SriSatish Ambati

The company's open-source platform looks to democratize artificial intelligence, enabling businesses to apply powerful machine learning techniques to build predictive apps. H20's platform is for developers as much as it is for data scientists, offering graphical user interfaces and integration with all major database and visualization products on the market.

The startup has racked up an impressive array of customer wins, with more than 100 Fortune 500 firms, including Cisco, PayPal, and eBay.

Infinite Ops

CEO: Michael Fraser

One of several startups in the emerging Workspace-as-a-Service space, Infinite Ops has evolved beyond WaaS to become a turnkey solution for deploying multiple cloud resources.

Looking to simplify how mid-market businesses leverage cloud solutions, the Seattle-based startup offers a platform, called IO Console, where users can rapidly select and deploy popular services onto the hyper-scale cloud of their choice.

The modular and automated platform aims to make cloud services deployable in just a few clicks of the mouse and offers a broad set of templates and turnkey packages for standing up solutions on AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform.

Rancher Labs

CEO: Sheng Liang

The only fully open-source solution to take on the management layer of container-tech, Rancher Labs is gaining enterprise popularity and recently launched its own channel initiative.

Rancher's container management platform is agnostic to underlying cluster orchestration systems and container runtimes, allowing customers to use Kubernetes, Docker Swarm or Mesos in concert with its product.


CEO: Lance Crosby

After Lance Crosby left IBM, buyer of the SoftLayer public cloud that Crosby built into a global powerhouse, many wondered about his next project.

Earlier this year, StackPath emerged from stealth with massive seed funding, a number of completed acquisitions, and - despite its secrecy - a significant customer base.

StackPath is working to unify enterprise security functions, selling four security services. The company built in-house a machine learning threat-detection engine and acquired a content delivery network, firewall developer and VPN provider.

Once a portfolio more geared to the enterprise market is introduced early next year, the channel focus will intensify, a representative told CRN.


CEO: Issy Ben-Shaul

The promise of de-coupling storage from compute attracted a good amount of attention to this startup founded by serial entrepreneurs in Israel. But Velostrata, now headquartered in San Jose, enables a broader set of creative solutions to vexing hybrid and multi-cloud 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. The company, headquartered in London, England, 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.