The 10 Coolest Startups Of 2015 (So Far)

You Have To Start Somewhere

Startups in data and analytics, virtualization, cloud software, networking and other hot areas have their goals set high with lofty expectations that they hope to fulfill offering unique services and solutions.

These startups are bringing something different to the table than typical enterprise software developers, and working to make data analysis easier, shifting cloud applications conveniently, and grading a business' security practices easily based on public information.

This year, we are seeing more startups taking advantage of cloud application services, building unique platforms for data analysis and looking to make money with the Internet of Things.

Here are the 10 coolest startups of the year so far.

Ravello Systems

CEO: Rami Tamir

Cloud computing and virtualization startup Ravello in late January closed a third round of funding of $28 million, bringing its total amount of capital to $54 million.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company -- founded by the creators of KVM hypervisor, the virtualization technology used in Linux -- specializes in moving apps from cloud platform to another without the apps having to be rebuilt. This allows businesses to not be tied to one particular cloud platform over another, and can use a hybrid model of multiple cloud offerings, whether it's AWS, VCloud from VMware or Google Cloud Platform public clouds, for example.


CEO: George Mulhern

After quadrupling its revenue over the past three years, Boise, Idaho-based Cradlepoint has reached more than a 50 percent compound annual growth rate.

Cradlepoint specializes in 3G/4G LTE network solutions, and focuses on machine-to-machine, transportation and the Internet-of-Things solutions. For example, the Medford, Ore., police department uses one of Cradlepoint's networking solutions, including network uptime, and cuts down on troubleshooting time with the Enterprise Cloud Management application. Retail chain American Apparel uses Cradlepoint's MBR series and Enterprise Cloud Manager for high-speed failover, cloud-based networking management and VPN support.

In April, Cradlepoint closed $48 million in a Series B funding round with plans to invest in its channel community, international expansion and new acquisitions.


CEO: Peter Godman

Seattle-based Qumulo is pioneering data-aware, scale-out NAS, which the company said enables enterprises to manage and store enormous numbers of digital assets by building realime analytics directly into the file system itself.

The company's founding members include some of the top executives behind Isilon, and the scale-out NAS vendor acquired by EMC in 2010. Qumulo came out of stealth mode in February when it disclosed it had obtained a $40 million Series B funding round, bringing its total funding to $67 million.

What's unique about Qumulo's platform is that its file system has an integrated database that can answer any questions about what is stored without needing to scan the data for metadata that must be separately stored and managed, CEO Peter Godman told CRN.


CEO: Bipul Sinha

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Rubrik is a data-protection software developer that pitches itself as "the world's first converged data management platform." The company said it eliminates the need for backup software becauseit integrates data protection, instant recovery and DevOps infrastructure into one mold.

In March, Rubrik unveiled a $41 million round of funding just three months after coming out of stealth with its first funding round of $10 million.

Rubrik's investors include some high-profile players in the IT industry, including John Thompson, Microsoft chairman and former CEO of Symantec; Frank Slootman, CEO of ServiceNow and former Data Domain CEO; Mark Leslie, former CEO of Veritas; and Dheeraj Pandey, founder and CEO of Nutanix.


CEO: Shaun McConnon

BitSight is a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup that provides customers ratings of their internal systems' security performance, as well as that of their peers, competitors and possible acquisition targets. Using publicly accessible information, such as threat intelligence, data hygiene and publicly disclosed breaches, BitSight compiles billions of records a day from a variety of sources, then correlates the records into a security rating for the target company.

BitSight said in June that it raised $23 million in Series B funding for its security rating technology, bringing its total funding to $49 million. Business has been booming for the startup as it said in June it has tripled its revenue year over year.


CEO: Ed Miller

Cloud-based data analysis platform provider DataHero prides itself on its drag-and-drop user interface.

The San Francisco-based startup is focused on developing "self-service" business analytics software that allows users to connect to cloud platforms without the help of an IT rep.

DataHero takes data from other application a user works with, including Excel, Dropbox, Google Drive, Office 365, Eventbrite and more, and turns them into charts, graphs, and dashboards.

The analytics tool is unique to financial services, e-commerce, education, sales, marketing and IT industries, which is what has garnered it praise. The company announced in May that it received $6.1 million in Series A funding.


CEO: Sanjit Biswas

Samsara is a vendor of Internet-connected sensor systems focused on the Internet-of-Things market. It plans to integrate software-centric solutions, including hardware, data analytics and networking software for IoT.

The company came on the scene in May led by the founders of Meraki, a cloud-based networking provider that was acquired by Cisco for $1.2 billion in 2012.

The San Francisco-based startup was recently awarded $25 million in first-round funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, a multibillion-dollar venture capital firm founded by Marc Andreessen, who also is author of "The Hard Thing About Hard Things." In addition, Andreessen also will become a member of the company's board.

Samsara's goal is to allow customers to deploy sensors to gather more data and better insight for a business than what is currently available.


CEO: Jay Kreps

Mountain View, Calif.-based Confluent is developing a commercial streaming data platform based on Apache Kafka, the Apache Software Foundation's open-source message broker software. Apache Kafka is a highly scalable messaging system that can be used in conjunction with other technologies to provide realtime analysis and rendering of streaming big data. Confluent looks to provide technology and services that help businesses adopt and use the Kafka system.

The three co-founders were instrumental in developing Kafka prior to moving on to build the data infrastructure at LinkedIn. In November, Co-Founder and CEO Jay Kreps and Co-Founders Neha Narkhede and Jun Rao started Confluent and, earlier this month, raised $24 million in Series B funding.


CEO: Ben Bernstein

Twistlock is an enterprise software solutions firm that keeps containers secure for developers and security operation teams.

The Israeli startup said containerization is one of the top emerging computing technologies, but security remains a big factor holding back containers. The company aims to implement its solution to secure containers as it sees the technology taking off in a big way.

The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company announced in May that it received a $2.5 million seed funding round, led by venture capital company YL Ventures.


CEO: Alex Polvi

CoreOS came on the scene two years ago, and was praised as the first operating system designed from the ground up for running Docker in the cloud.

The San Francisco-based company is still centered on containerization, as it has created a rival to Docker called Rocket that it said offers faster and more secure implementation.

CoreOS landed $12 million in an investment round in April led by Google Ventures. The company has a new platform called Tectonic that employs the Kubernetes container management system initially developed by Google. CoreOS now looks to be compete with the Linux container leader, Docker.