The 20 Coolest Tech Startups Of 2020
From AI security and Kubernetes to storage and edge networking, here are 20 of the hottest technology startups in 2020.
The 20 Tech Startups Making Waves In 2020
IT startups across the globe captured millions in venture capital funding in 2020 as investors doubled down on red-hot market segments like cloud security and big data as well as emerging markets such as edge computing.
CRN has been tracking the major developments this year of some of the world’s most innovative startups, including companies reaping the largest venture capital funding rounds in 2020. The COVID-19 global pandemic is driving growth for many startups in markets such as robotics and cloud security, many of which made this list.
From robotics and security to artificial intelligence and Kubernetes, CRN breaks down the hottest technology startups of 2020 that solution providers should know about.
CEO: Sachin Aggarwal
Cloud security startup Accurics came out of stealth mode in April 2020 with the intent of reconciling risk posture drift between infrastructure defined through code and infrastructure running in the cloud. These advances are critical as organizations rapidly embrace new technologies such as serverless, containers and service mesh.
In April, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company closed a $5 million seed round led by ClearSky as well as a $15 million Series A round in October led by Intel Capital to help develop technology that self-heals cloud-native infrastructure by codifying security throughout the development life cycle. Accurics launched an open-source static code analyzer in August that ensures templates avoid common security pitfalls in popular cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
CEO: Amir Khan
The multi-cloud networking startup Alkira emerged from stealth mode in April, bringing to market a consumption-based cloud connection offering that can be up and running in minutes. The San Jose, Calif.-based company was founded by CEO Amir Khan and his brother, Atif Khan, Alkira‘s CTO. The two previously created and co-founded SD-WAN provider Viptela, which Cisco bought in 2017 for $610 million.
Alkira burst onto the scene with Cloud Services Exchange (CSX), a unified, on-demand offering that lets cloud architects and network engineers build and deploy a multi-cloud network in minutes. Alkira CSX offers cloud networking in an as-a-service format with the flexibility to turn services on and off as the business requires, with no up-front Capex purchase necessary. The startup said it is going to market primarily through channel partners.
CEO: Adi Ruppin
New to the edge networking scene is Ananda Networks, a startup founded by networking and cybersecurity entrepreneurs. The San Francisco-based company, which emerged from stealth mode this year, is focusing on distributed computing and helping businesses create private networks to connect all users, regardless of location.
In August, Ananda unveiled its flagship Secure Global LAN (SG-LAN) offering and announced $6 million in seed funding from MizMaa Ventures, Citrix Systems, Gefen Capital, Cyber Mentor Fund, GreatPoint Ventures, South Korean cybersecurity firm Jiran, J-Ventures, and individual investors. Ananda founder and CEO Adi Ruppin has a history of creating and leading companies, including SofaWare Technologies and BelnSync, which were quickly acquired by larger companies after a few years on the market.
CEO: Adrian Knapp
Big data startup Aparavi, a provider of file backup and data protection products, debuted its Data Intelligence and Automation Platform in March, touting the system as the answer to how companies can deal with data chaos, risk and opportunity in a distributed IT world.
The Aparavi platform is used to find, classify, automate and govern distributed data across on-premises and cloud systems for a range of tasks including data discovery, data retention and access, data storage and protection, and data governance, risk and compliance. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company’s system provides analytics, machine learning and collaboration tools with access to distributed data, helping users transform data into a competitive asset.
President: Joe Merces
Storage specialist Cloud Daddy was founded specifically to provide secure backup and disaster recovery for Amazon Web Services environments and is an Amazon Technology Partner. The Princeton, N.J.-based company provides cloud-native capabilities including artificial intelligence alerting, anti-malware and anti-ransomware intelligent threat detection, and infrastructure management to help AWS clients of any size protect and manage data across public, private, government and hybrid clouds.
Its multilayer backup and disaster recovery capabilities protect data in AWS EC2, EBS, RDS databases, DynamoDB and Aurora RedShift clusters with cross-region encryption, file-level recovery, and cost-aware backup and replication. Prior to co-founding Cloud Daddy in 2017, President and Chief Product Officer Joe Merces was chief information officer for the New York City Law Department from 2007 to 2017.
CEO: Peter Chen
One up-and-coming developer of artificial intelligence for robotics is Covariant, which launched out of stealth mode in January and announced a $40 million Series B round in May. The Berkeley, Calif.-based startup has developed what it calls a “universal AI,” dubbed the Covariant Brain, which ”enables robots to see, reason and act autonomously in the real world,” the company said.
The technology is being used to power robotics at customer sites in sectors such as apparel, pharmaceutical and electronics, including in North America. “As the coronavirus crisis has exposed serious frailty in the global supply chain, we‘re seeing more demand than ever for our AI Robotics solutions,” said Covariant co-founder and CEO Peter Chen in a statement this year.
President: Farah Papaioannou
Edge startup Edgeworx is focused on bringing Kubernetes to the IoT edge with its ioFog Engine, which allows customers to run any software on any endpoint using open-source technology. The ioFog software is seamlessly integrated with Kubernetes to enable Kubernetes to orchestrate microservices all the way to the edge. The startup’s edge-native infrastructure tools and platforms enable developers and operators to extend their cloud to the edge, according to Edgeworx.
The edge-native open-source software startup, based in San Jose, Calif., is helping schools and businesses open safely with its new AI-powered camera called Darcy, which can check for fevers, symptoms and even mask-wearing.
CEO: Orr Danon
AI chip startup Hailo said its Hailo-8 deep learning chip provides data center-level performance at the edge while beating competing edge processors in size, performance and power consumption. To roll out the processor, which launched in 2019, the Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup said this year it had raised a $60 million Series B funding round from ABB Technology Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Swiss manufacturing multinational ABB, as well as Japanese IT giant NEC Corp.
The startup said the Hailo-8‘s structure-driven Data Flow architecture combines high performance, low power and minimal latency to provide up to 26 tera operations per second in edge devices such as smart cameras, smartphones and autonomous vehicles.
Co-Founder, CTO: Oleg Chunikhin (no CEO at this time)
Washington D.C.-based Kubernetes startup Kublr provides a container orchestration platform that speeds the management of containerized applications on any infrastructure. The company offers built-in multifactor enterprise security, configuration management, backup and disaster recovery, as well as logging and monitoring.
With the new Kublr Enterprise Platform 2.0, the startup updated its flagship product with multisite orchestration capabilities enabling enterprises to orchestrate clusters across regions, data centers and clouds. Multisite capabilities help customers running mission-critical applications architect greater reliability into their infrastructure by enabling rapid failover to other facilities in disaster scenarios. Boosting that offering are new Kublr Accelerators that package services and subscriptions to support application migrations to cloud-native infrastructure, development of CI/CD pipelines and operational maintenance.
CEO: Joel Fulton
Lucidum was founded in 2020 and closed a $4 million seed funding round in October led by GGV Capital and Silicon Valley CISO Investments (SVCI) to solve the fundamental challenge of asset discovery and visibility that’s preventing enterprises from efficiently managing, securing and transforming technology.
The San Jose, Calif.-based cloud security startup provides a platform that leverages machine learning against pre-existing data to provide context about known and unknown computers, mobile devices, cloud environments, IoT devices and microservices. Without agents or scans, Lucidum identifies anything that stores, processes or transmits data and answers questions about where an asset is, what it is, what it’s doing and how it’s being used. The Lucidum platform is available to a limited number of early access customers and a community edition will be available in the first quarter of 2021.
CEO: Avi Shua
Orca Security provides a cloud security offering that aims to quickly analyze all cloud assets and find risks, without per asset integrations or agents. The security startup was founded in 2019 by former Check Point executives Avi Shua and Gil Geron to deliver full-stack IaaS and PaaS cloud security visibility. In May, the Los Angeles-based startup raised a $20 million Series A funding round led by GGV Capital with participation from YL Ventures and Silicon Valley CISO Investments.
Orca’s SideScanning technology can be deployed instantaneously without the impact and complexity of per asset agents. It automatically assesses the security state of every discovered asset throughout the entire technology stack, including the cloud control plane, operating system, applications and business data—ultimately delivering complete visibility into issues such as vulnerabilities, malware, misconfigurations and password issues, according to the company.
CEO: Greg Murphy
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Ordr is an IoT security startup whose top executive hails from Aruba Networks. What makes Ordr‘s Systems Control Engine different from other IoT security offerings on the market is the company’s “closed-loop process” for identifying and securing connected devices, according to the startup. This means the software uses telemetry to identify devices and machine learning to establish normal behavior patterns, which are then used to automatically create segmentation policies.
In May, Ordr launched a global partner program that aims to give solution providers multiple ways to make money in securing and controlling connected devices on corporate IT networks. The company unveiled the global expansion of its partner program for its artificial intelligence-based Systems Control Engine after coming out of stealth last year with former Aruba Networks CEO Dominic Orr joining as chairman.
CEO: Amit Bareket
Founded in 2018, Perimeter 81 closed a $4.5 million Series A funding round led by Toba Capital in March, along with a $40 million Series B funding round led by Insight Partners in August.
The Tel Aviv, Israel-based security startup rolled out Zero Trust Application Access in July 2019, which uses device trust policy validation to authorize employees before granting them swift access to applications in a session that is fully audited and can be recorded and monitored. The tool secures the network, employees and applications using Zero Trust guidelines, and isolates the applications from the network at all times. In February, Perimeter 81 teamed with SonicWall to make it possible for businesses to connect to a single secure network and gain access to physical and cloud resources no matter their location.
CEO: Prem Jain
Edge cloud startup Pensando Systems is creating a new edge services model of enterprise and cloud computing led by former Cisco stars. Founded in 2017, the Milpitas, Calif.-based startup said in November that it received funding from Qualcomm Ventures that will help the company expand into the 5G and service provider market.
The company, backed by Cisco’s former CEO John Chambers, includes a platform with a custom, programmable P4 processor, dubbed Capri, optimized to execute a software stack delivering cloud, compute, network, storage and security services at cloud scale with minimal latency and low power requirements. Pensando said its software-defined edge services platform can deliver five to nine times improvements in productivity, performance and scale compared with competitive offerings.
CEO: Guru Pai
Founded last year, Privafy’s cloud-native application provides comprehensive protection as data traverses between locations, clouds, mobile devices and IoT. The Burlington, Mass.-based company received $22 million in minority investments in 2020 to continue scaling product development for its cloud-based security business.
Privafy worked with Micron Technology in October to develop an IoT security tool that integrates Security as a Service for OEM device manufacturers and service providers deploying connected products from smart locks to self-driving automobiles. At the heart of the partnership is an embedded software module that enables IoT devices to leverage Privafy’s Data-in-Motion security capabilities.
CEO: Yaro Tenzer
RightHand Robotics is a developer of robotic piece-picking solutions for order fulfillment and logistics, with the aim of offering improved efficiency and performance. The Somerville, Mass.-based company‘s robotic offerings enable picking and placing of individual items, while also being able to work collaboratively with human workers and existing systems.
Unlike traditional factory robots that can be complex to set up and are single-purpose, RightHand’s offerings are simple to integrate and adaptable to improve the utilization of many different customer workflows, such as sorting batch-picked items and order quality assurance, according to the company.
CEO: Rodrigo Liang
AI chip startup SambaNova System’s integrated hardware and software offering stands out because of its reconfigurable data flow architecture. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup said this architecture allows applications to take the lead in driving how hardware is optimized to accelerate performance in data centers and at the edge.
In February, the startup said that it had raised a $250 million Series C funding round from Intel Capital, BlackRock and other investors to accelerate its software capabilities. SambaNova System’s co-founder and CEO, Rodrigo Liang, previously served as senior vice president at Oracle, responsible for SPARC processors, microprocessors and ASIC development.
CEO: Justin Borgman
Big data startup Starburst Data said its mission is to power analytics anywhere and to help companies unlock the value of their data by making it easy to access. The Boston-based company’s Presto is an open-source SQL query engine that enables data consumers to access any data where it lies. By providing access to data wherever it resides and the ability to query the data without moving it, Starburst’s software offers an alternative to traditional data warehouse systems.
In June, Starburst raised $42 million in Series B financing, in addition to the $22 million the company raised in Series A funding in 2019. In November, Starburst launched its first channel program.
CEO: Lex Bayer
Robotics startup Starship Technologies has developed autonomous robots that are capable of delivering food, packages and groceries. Starship’s self-driving wheeled robots can make deliveries within a 4-mile radius and said that the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the expansion of the droids.
“Our robots provide contactless deliveries. As people are spending more time at home at the moment, including the elderly and more vulnerable, getting food and groceries delivered straight to their door is a big help,” the San Francisco-based company told CRN this year. Starship‘s robots are now operating in five countries and have completed more than 100,000 autonomous deliveries while logging more than 500,000 miles.
CEO: David Friend
Cloud storage startup Wasabi is on pace to triple its revenue in 2020, led by former Carbonite CEO David Friend. In May, the Boston-based startup unveiled a new $30 million round of funding. The deal from investors including Forestay Capital brought total funding to $110 million for the company.
Wasabi said its technology stands out by enabling cloud storage that is one-fifth the price of Amazon S3, while also having no fees for egress or API requests. Wasabi provides cloud storage in concert with more than 200 technology partners including Veeam, Rubrik, Actifio, Commvault and Komprise. Wasabi‘s new Reserved Capacity Storage pricing model lets customers purchase a reserved amount of cloud storage for a fixed price for one, three or five years.