The 10 Hottest Cloud Computing Startups Of 2021 (So Far)
The cloud computing startups, all of which recently landed venture capital funding, range from an MLOps company that emerged from stealth mode in April to an IoT cloud platform provider for hardware developers to a cloud cost management software company.
End-user spending on cloud computing is continuing to see healthy, double-digit growth rates, and it’s an opportune time for innovative cloud startups to help organizations moving beyond coronavirus pandemic-accelerated migrations to more fully mine the technology industry’s hottest sector.
Gartner expects global public cloud end-user spending to increase 23.1 percent this year to $332.3 billion. The growth will be driven in part by emerging technologies — including containerization, virtualization and edge computing — becoming more mainstream, according to the research and advisory firm. The pandemic has been a “multiplier” for chief information officers’ interest in the cloud, says Gartner research vice president Sid Nag, who views cloud as the ”glue” between other technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) that CIOs want to use.
Established cloud providers and their investment arms are stepping up their games to support startups with new programs to help the early-stage companies and expose them to their own enterprise customers. Amazon Web Services launched the AWS Partner Network Global Startup Program in 2019 to help startups with compelling enterprise products better-leverage its benefits, including its go-to-market efforts. And Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of customer relationship management leader Salesforce, last October announced a new $100 million fund to accelerate the growth of cloud companies.
Here’s CRN’s list of 10 cloud computing startups to watch so far in 2021. They range from an MLOps company that emerged from stealth mode in April to an IoT cloud platform provider for hardware developers to a cloud cost management software company. All of them were boosted by recent venture capital funding rounds.
See the latest entry: The 10 Coolest Cloud Computing Startup Companies of 2022
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CEO: Liran Hason
Founded in 2020, MLOps company Aporia emerged from stealth mode in April and launched its customizable monitoring platform for machine learning (ML) models with full support for private clouds and public clouds.
Data scientists can use the SaaS production observability platform to quickly and more easily build their own bespoke monitors optimized for their use own cases and data to keep track of their ML models’ performance and ensure data integrity. Aporia’s dashboard provides a single pane of glass for checking ML production status and continuously compares actual performance to expected results. Users can set up alerts of different severities to be sent to email or sources such as Slack.
The company disclosed $5 million in seed funding in April from Palo Alto, Calif.-based Vertex Ventures, Tel Aviv, Israel-based TLV Ventures and private angel investors.
CEO: Hamdija Jusufagic
CodeScene says it’s helping solve a $3 trillion dollar problem by enabling organizations to prioritize their technical debt and identify code quality issues based on how they work with the code.
The Malmo, Sweden-based startup’s automated, predictive code analysis tool, which provides visual insights powered by patented ML algorithms, is available as a SaaS subscription.
CodeScene considers the entire code history of a customer’s software, identifying code health issues and prioritizing them by business impact within minutes, so developers can reduce delivery risks and unnecessary extra work in their IT projects, according to the company.
CodeScene announced in January that it completed a $3.6 million seed funding round led by Sweden’s Luminar Ventures and Finland’s Inventure. The company made it to the finals of this year’s Techarenan Challenge – an annual entrepreneurship competition and tech venue open to Nordic startups and growth companies — after being nominated as a rising star in the competition. It plans to expand its sales and marketing geographic footprint, starting with the United States, later this year.
CEO: Joshua Noble
Filebase offers Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)-compatible and cloud-managed object storage powered by blockchain. Its platform seamlessly connects applications to several decentralized storage networks as a drop-in, encrypted and geo-redundant replacement for S3 and traditional cloud storage at a fraction of the cost, the Boston company says.
The Filebase platform features a browser-based dashboard and an S3-compatible API to deploy, access and manage data across the Sia, Storj and Skynet storage networks. Filebase takes advantage of unused storage capacity and rents storage from the networks, managing all storage contracts on behalf of the user.
Its platform abstracts all interactions with the underlying networks and has turn-key configurations to help developers move or replicate data. While decentralized storage networks can suffer from higher latency compared to centralized alternatives, Filebase’s proprietary, edge-caching technology increases throughput and lowers response times for both ingress and egress, according to the company.
Customers are using Filebase primarily for geo-redundant disaster recovery, cost-cutting and Web3 development. It plans to add support for the Filecoin and Arweave storage networks by year’s end.
In April, the seed-stage startup announced a $2 million funding round led by Austin’s Multicoin Capital with participation from Vancouver, Canada-based Version One Ventures and angel investors including Ryan Selkis, founder and CEO of New York’s Messari. Filebase said it planned to use the funds to onboard customers and hire new engineering, marketing and sales employees.
CEO: Jonathan Beri
Golioth offers an IoT cloud platform for hardware developers to build end-to-end, IoT-connected products using their choice of hardware and connectivity, without needing a team of cloud engineers. Golioth supports a range of open IoT protocols and connectivity for communication, providing security by default. Hardware developers can request access to the platform, which is now in private beta and free for beta testers. The company plans to announce pricing and other deployment options later this year.
Golioth’s first device software development kit (SDK) is built on The Zephyr Project, a Linux Foundation open-source project that offers a flexible, real-time operating system for IoT in space-constrained devices. Golioth’s Zephyr SDK takes advantage of Zephyr capabilities, including a modern, secure networking stack and protocol support.
The one-year-old San Francisco startup announced a $2.5 million seed funding round this month, led by San Francisco’s Zetta Venture Partners, that will go toward growth and expanding the developer community around Golioth.
CEO: Dmitry Petrov
Iterative is an MLOps startup that builds developer tools for ML with the goal of streamlining data scientists’ workflows by solving the complexity of managing datasets, ML infrastructure and ML models lifecycle management. The San Francisco company integrates ML workflows into current practices for software development instead of creating separate AI platforms, and it’s cloud-agnostic, removing the need for cloud providers’ proprietary AI platforms.
Its products include Data Version Control (DVC), an open-source, data version control system for ML products, and the open-source Continuous Machine Learning (CML), which provides continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) for ML projects. This month the company introduced its first commercial offering: DVC Studio, a visualized user interface of DVC and CML to simplify ML model development and enhance collaboration. Designed for data scientists who typically use Git and GitHub or GitLab for collaboration on their source code, DVC Studio extends the collaborative functionality based on data and metrics, according to the San Francisco-based company.
Iterative raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Berlin, Germany-based 468 Capital and Florian Leibert, the founder of the former Mesosphere (now D2iQ), an infrastructure start-up based on the open-source software Apache Mesos. Iterative plans to use the funds for development and growth.
CEO: Augusto Marietti
Cloud connectivity company Kong creates software and managed services that connect APIs and microservices natively across and within clouds, Kubernetes, data centers and more using intelligent automation.
Its SaaS-based Kong Konnect service connectivity platform for cloud-native applications delivers end-to-end connectivity and visibility for services in multi-cloud environments. It became generally available in May, allowing users to design, deploy and optimize APIs with collaborative tools and granular analytics; build global service catalogs to simplify discovery, re-use and governance of enterprise services; and provision and manage high-performance runtimes in the environments of their choice.
Kong Konnect is available with consumption-based pricing and three plan tiers: Kong Konnect Free, which allows developers to instantly try the product without going through an enterprise sales representative; Kong Konnect Plus, a “freemium” model with a pay-as-you-go, credit card-based option to allow developers or operators on small teams to quickly start using the services; and Kong Konnect Enterprise for organizations that want to use the platform as a whole for connectivity with enterprise-grade security, scalability and observability across any cloud, platform and protocol.
In February, Kong said it had raised $100 million in Series D funding led by New York’s Tiger Global Management, bringing its total funding to $171 million and tripling its valuation to $1.4 billion since its Series C founding round in March 2019. Kong planned to use the funding to scale its go-to-market operations, add engineering and customer experience talent, and accelerate cloud connectivity with Kong Konnect.
CEO: Chetan Venkatesh
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Macrometa provides a global data network (GDN) and edge computing service for developers.
Macrometa’s GDN is a combination of a globally distributed NoSQL database, a low-latency stream data-processing engine and functions-as-a-service runtime integrated as an elastic, serverless cloud. It enables developers to build and run event-driven, data-heavy, concurrent, serverless cloud applications and APIs that run instantly across 175 global points-of-presence (PoPs).
The company says its customers — global enterprises, 5G telecom providers, web-scale SaaS and web services providers — use its network to add real-time NoSQL databases, stream analytics, instant query and search functionality to their apps and API backends. The mean roundtrip time for a user on their phone or laptop to Macrometa’s edge cloud and back is less than 50 milliseconds globally — 50 to 100 times faster than what current cloud platforms deliver, according to the company.
Macrometa announced a partnership for global data with San Francisco cloud services provider Cloudflare in April. And this month, it disclosed a $20 million Series A funding round led by Salt Lake City’s Pelion Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors DNX Ventures, Benhamou Global Ventures, Partech Partners, Fusion Fund, Sway Ventures and Shasta Ventures. It plans to use the funding to accelerate its customer acquisition and feature development, and integrate with content delivery network, cloud and telecom providers.
CEO: Kishore Gopalakrishna
StarTree is betting on the merits of user-facing analytics and expanding the types of people who can access and act on real-time data.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company landed a $24 million Series A funding round, announced in May, to commercialize its cloud analytics-as-a-service platform built around Apache Pinot, a real-time distributed online analytical processing (OLAP) data store designed to answer OLAP queries with low latency. The data store can ingest from batch data sources such as Hadoop HDFS, Amazon S3, Azure ADLS and Google Cloud Storage, and stream data sources such as Apache Kafka. The company is designing its SaaS product for analysts, data scientists and developers to build enterprise applications and business intelligence systems.
StarTree’s founders are the creators of Apache Pinot who built and operated the platform at LinkedIn — where it powers more than 50 products — and Uber. The company says Apache Pinot also has been proven at scale by Stripe, Walmart, Weibo, WePay and other companies.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Bain Capital Ventures and Menlo Park, Calif.-based GGV Capital led StarTree’s funding round with investment from existing investor CRV, also based in Palo Alto.
StarTree’s founding team also includes engineering leaders who developed Apache Helix and other open-source projects, including ThirdEye, Espresso and Samza.
CEO: Varun Talwar
Founded in 2018, San Francisco’s Tetrate is an enterprise service mesh company looking to reimagine application networking under the leadership of CEO Varun Talwar, a co-creator of the open-source Istio and gRPC while previously employed at Google.
Tetrate’s flagship product, Tetrate Service Bridge, is a cloud-agnostic application connectivity platform built on top of the open-source Istio, Envoy proxy and Apache SkyWalking projects. The enterprise-ready service mesh platform is built for multi-cluster, multi-tenancy and multi-cloud deployments, providing customers consistent, baked-in observability, runtime security and traffic management in any environment.
In March, Tetrate announced a $40 million Series B funding round led by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sapphire Ventures with participation from Scale Venture Partners and NTTVC as new investors, and existing investors Dell Technologies Capital, Intel Capital, 8VC and Samsung NEXT. The funding is being used to support a new SaaS offering, Tetrate Cloud, a fully managed, Istio-based service mesh platform, along with go-to-market activities in the Americas and the initiation of go-to-market teams in Europe and Asia.
CEO: Asim Razzaq
Yotascale says its cloud cost management software provides engineering teams complete visibility of cloud costs, enabling them to make more cost-effective decisions and independently validate planned usage for faster buying cycles and a 50 percent reduction in yearly costs.
The Palo Alto, Calif., company bases its “next-generation” approach on unified cost management, collaborative cost optimization and predictive capacity planning. Its solution scales with complexity introduced by modern architectures such as Kubernetes, containers, micro-services and multi-cloud deployments, and provides actionable recommendations within the context of enterprise businesses and systems.
Zoom Video Communications, Hulu and DoorDash are among the Fortune 1000 companies using Yotascale and fueling its 4x year-over-year revenue growth.
Research firm Gartner named Yotascale in its “Cool Vendors in Cloud Computing” report released in May. Yotascale raised a $13 million, Series B funding round in October led by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Felicis Ventures, bringing its total capital raised to $25 million.