The 10 Coolest Tech Startups Of 2017

The Startup Revolution

In 2017, digital transformation took the leap from disruptive concept to necessity in many enterprises. Anyone looking for proof need look no further than the bevy of startups cropping up to help companies reap the rewards of digital transformation.

Need to leverage the booming amount of data coming from your connected systems? Meet the startups dedicated to developing the software and systems needed to conquer big data demands.

Concerned about the new vulnerabilities being created from this data explosion? Check out the new wave of security upstarts protecting everything from the cloud to analytics.

And speaking of the cloud, the market has matured to the point where startups now exist to provide unique services for seemingly every type of vertical.

As part of CRN's ongoing 2017 tech year in review, we've highlighted hot startups across various sectors for solution providers to partner with. From those lists, CRN editors have choosen 10 as this year's coolest startups in tech.


CEO: Mansour Karam

Tech Sector: Networking

Intent-based networking pioneer Apstra is striving to revolutionize the data center through its vendor-agnostic operating system that can collect data from any switch or server, and can cut outage and failure durations in half. The Apstra Operating System (AOS) sits above existing hardware and software to create an abstraction layer that allows administrators to easily view the network, which is interoperable with devices from Cisco, Juniper Networks and HPE, to name a few. Apstra recently launched AOS 2.0 that delivers a turnkey intent-based OS and applications that automatically prevents and repairs network outages for improved infrastructure uptime.


CEO: Yevgeny Dibrov

Tech Sector: IoT

IoT security startup Armis, founded in 2015, offers an agentless security platform that lets enterprises see and control any device or network.

CEO Yevgeny Dibrov told CRN said that Armis' platform will "intimately" know every device, enabling enterprises to connect their devices in a way that doesn't put the company at risk. The platform gives enterprises complete visibility into which devices are in their environment and tracks their behavior – stopping devices from connecting to an inappropriate network or those that exhibit anomalous behavior, regardless of whether those devices are managed by IT or not.

The startup in June announced a new $17 million funding round that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company will use to build out its channel program around its agentless IoT security platform.


CEO: Jeremy Achin

Tech Sector: Big Data

DataRobot develops an automated machine-learning platform that captures the knowledge, experience and best practices of data scientists and uses that information to build and deploy predictive models much more quickly than has been possible. With those models, analysts can uncover hidden opportunities and predict outcomes from huge volumes of data.

Boston-based DataRobot, founded in 2012, was already gaining attention when in May it acquired Nutonian, another data science software development technology company that focused on time-series analysis modeling.

DataRobot snagged $54 million in Series C financing in March and has aggressively invested in its global partner ecosystem. In September the company hired Alteryx executive Seann Gardiner as its executive vice president of business development.


CEO: Florian Leibert

Tech Sector: Containers

Mesosphere brings to market a commercial platform implementing the open-source Mesos container orchestrator for heavy-duty production environments. Mesos powers some of the world's largest container deployments at places like Twitter, eBay and Airbnb.

The San Francisco-based startup recently struck an OEM deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to embed its platform into the hardware giant's server and storage products. Mesosphere's Datacenter Operating System (DC/OS) will come pre-integrated on the HPE ProLiant hardware line.


CEO: Derek Smith

Tech Sector: Big Data

Businesses are heavily investing in big data initiatives for operational and analytical purposes. But those projects may be doomed to failure if they are working with poor-quality data.

Naveego's cloud-based software provides data quality and master data management tools that help organizations monitor and manage the quality of their business data – whether on-premises or in the cloud – and leverage it for competitive advantage.

Naveego, founded in 2013 and based in Traverse City, Mich., launched its first channel program in October and is recruiting data management consultants, systems integrators and managed service providers.

Nimble CRM

CEO: Jon Ferrara

Tech Sector: Cloud

Nimble CRM seeks to make use of the data that already exists within a user's email, contact lists, calendars and social networks. Nimble CRM's software integrates social, sales and marketing platforms with Google G-Suite and Microsoft Office 365.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Nimble CRM in November introduced Nimble Contact, a relationship manager for users and their teams that combines company contacts from Microsoft Office 365, G-Suite, and social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Nimble also has its own channel program and sells its offerings through partners.

Pwnie Express

CEO: Paul Paget

Tech Sector: IoT

Pwnie Express' IoT security platform, Pulse, continually identifies and assesses all devices and IoT systems, helping customers by providing tools to respond to threats that put systems at risk. The platform discovers all devices and establishes device identities, and then enables customers to respond to any threats directly from Pulse, CEO Paul Paget told CRN.

Rancher Labs

CEO: Sheng Liang

Tech Sector: Containers

Rancher Labs, a startup based in Cupertino, Calif., became a prominent player in the Docker ecosystem with an open-source management platform that enables enterprises to scale deployments of container clusters.

The company's latest release entirely commits to Kubernetes as its underlying container orchestration technology. Rancher 2.0 enables management of clusters orchestrated by different Kubernetes distributions across on-premises and cloud environments, while scrapping native support for other orchestrators, including Docker Swarm.


CEO: Aleksandr Yampolskiy

Tech Sector: Security

SecurityScorecard launched an inaugural partner program in January in a push to go from a direct sales model to one that is fully invested in the channel. The partner program is by invitation only, and features a net margin model and margin protection for partners. The program launch follows the September 2016 appointment of former Tanium channel chief Michael Rogers as vice president of strategic alliances and channel sales. Although the New York-based security rating platform had mostly been a direct sales company, SecurityScorecard started pushing toward a majority channel model after it raised $20 million in funding in June 2016, led by Google Ventures. The company is also shifting incentives for current sales teams to ensure their full commitment to partners.


CEO: David Friend

Tech Sector: Storage

Cloud storage startup Wasabi Technologies in May came out of stealth mode with a promise to store customers' data in its cloud six times faster than can be done with Amazon S3 while charging only $0.0039 per gigabyte per month. The Boston-based company, which has raised $8.5 million in funding, provides an open service that is 100 percent compatible with the Amazon S3 API.