The 10 Coolest Startups Of 2017 (So Far)

Wading Through The Sea Of Startups

It's seemingly every day a new startup rises from Silicon Valley, armed with revolutionary tech and a high-profile funding round, threatening to forever change the industry. But for every Docker or Simplivity, there are dozens that fail to deliver and ultimately flame out and fold.

Placing the right bet and landing a portfolio-changing partnership with a new vendor startup can lead to solution providers to the next level. So here we identify 10 of the coolest startups rocking the industry in the first half of 2017. While we can't guarantee what the future holds for these young companies, we can definitively say that it looks bright.

From cutting-edge deception technology to a hyper-converged infrastructure solution that emulates the public cloud experience, check out these companies to see what they can do for your customers.

(For more on the "coolest" of 2017, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.")

128 Technology

CEO: Andy Ory

Software-centric networking startup 128 Technology recently raised $21.5 million in funding with plans to grow its global presence and accelerate expansion through channel partners.

"Our goal is to be catalytic to a new generation of solution providers that can wrap our technology in their value proposition and help take customers to this new world of service-centric networking," said Andy Ory, co-founder and CEO of 128 Technology, in an interview with CRN.

The Burlington, Mass-based startup's 128T Networking Platform is a software-based, distributed routing and network services solution sold as a monthly subscription. The platform uses secure routing to simplify network architectures, provides end-to-end control and visibility without disrupting existing network infrastructure, and enables customers to build networks that are session-based, software-defined and services-centric.


CEO: Yevgeny Dibrov

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 hopes will help it build out its channel program around its agentless IoT security platform.

Aviatrix Systems

CEO: Steven Mih

Led by a team of former top executives hailing from Cisco, Huawei, VMware and Paypal, Aviatrix Systems said its "reinventing networking" through network software aimed at simplifying connectivity to the cloud in a more secure and scalable way.

Aviatrix's for Hybrid Cloud reduces cloud networking setup time from weeks to minutes and simplifies ongoing management by automating and orchestrating cloud network operations, according to the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup. The solution – which integrates with AWS, Azure and Google – solves common connectivity problems encountered during application workload migration to the public cloud, or when deploying cloud-based applications that leverage on-premises services.

Aviatrix raised $15 million in a Series B funding round earlier this year. It also announced a technology, sales and marketing partnership with hyper-converged vendor Nutanix.


CEO: Doron Alter

Endor has developed a predictive analytics platform that allows business users to ask any question, such as "Who is likely to try this new product? and "Where should we open our next store?" and get an answer in minutes.

The company based its proprietary technology on "social physics" research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While machine learning may be good at predicting, say, when a critical piece of equipment will fail, social physics uses big data analysis and the mathematical laws of biology to understand the behavior of human crowds.

Endor (yes, it has the same name as the planet in "Star Wars") was founded in 2014 and is based in Tel Aviv, Israel. This year Gartner named the company a cool vendor in business analytics and the World Economic Forum named it a technology pioneer.


CEO: Lior Gal

Software-defined storage technology startup Excelero in March came out of stealth with the introduction of its NVMesh Server SAN software, which the company designed to pool NVMe storage from multiple servers as a high-performance base for serving mission-critical applications to enterprises but with the kind of block storage performance used by hyper-scale public cloud providers. Israel-based Excelero has received $17.5 million in funding so far.


CEO: Nariman Teymourian

HyperGrid recently revamped its software to better deliver billing and services on its hyper-converged infrastructure that emulate the public cloud experience. The Mountain View, Calif.-based startup's latest release of its HyperCloud orchestration and management platform offers services across the stack that look and feel like public cloud and extend into the true public cloud. The on-premise appliances can be provisioned on six-month, one-year or three-year contracts.

illusive networks

CEO: Ofer Israeli

Illusive Networks is one of the handful of startups looking to stake its claim in the emerging market for deception technology. The New York-based company's Deception Everywhere offering uses an agentless approach to "turn the tables on attackers" by installing decoy data onto laptops, desktops, servers, data centers and more to root out attackers already in the environment. This looks to solve a challenge in security around attack detection and attribution. The company has a 100 percent focus on the channel. Launched in 2014, the company has gained significant traction this year, including a strategic investment in January by Microsoft Ventures and the June addition of security executive Dave DeWalt as vice chairman of its board of directors.


CEO: Saket Saurabh

Nexla is developing a data operations platform that uses machine learning technology to monitor, adapt and securely move data between companies in real time. By automating such data operations, the Nexla argument goes, companies can more quickly derive value from their data with minimal engineering.

Founded last year, Millbrae, Calif.-based Nexla just released a public beta of its product in May. At the same time the company raised $3.5 million in seed financing.

Nexla caught everyone's attention in March when it won the top prize in the Startup Showcase at the Strata + Hadoop World conference.

Nimble CRM

CEO: Jon Ferrara

This innovative CRM vendor based in Santa Monica, Calif., was founded by Jon Ferrara, who helped pioneer customer relationship technology in the 1990s with a previous venture, GoldMine Software.

Nimble CRM integrates social, sales and marketing platforms with Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365. The software delivers to small businesses, through tools they're already using, a consolidated and detailed view of customers seeded with relevant data from social platforms like LinkedIn, CRM systems like Salesforce and Dynamics, as well as inboxes, calendars, and previous contact records.


CEO: Eddie Habibi

Startup PAS provides security for industrial control systems – including distributed control systems, programmable logic controllers, turbo machinery controls, and compressor control systems.

PAS told CRN it hopes to increase research and development for its flagship software product, Cyber Integrity, which protects critical infrastructure from security risks associated with industrial IoT applications.

The Houston-based company in April announced it has raised $40 million as the company looks to expand its channel program for operational technology security.


CEO: David Friend

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 GB, 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.