The 10 Hottest Kubernetes Startups Of 2021 (So Far)

Here are 10 Kubernetes startups that have made headlines as they came out of stealth or unveiled their first Kubernetes-focused management, storage and Kubernetes-as-a-service offering.

Storming Through The Containerization Movement With Kubernetes

Kubernetes has in the past few years become the primary standard for containerizing applications and data for use in developing, testing and then deploying ready-to-use applications.

In fact, the technology has become so hot that some of the biggest Kubernetes startups have in the past nine months been acquired by larger storage and systems vendors that see the need to add management and data protection layers. For instance, Pure Storage in September acquired Portworx, which was perhaps the leading developer of Kubernetes-focused end-to-end storage and data management technologies. Veeam in October acquired Kasten, a leading developer of Kubernetes-focused data protection. SUSE in December acquired Rancher Labs, a leader in Kubernetes management and IBM Red Hat in January acquired StackRox, a developer of Kubernetes security technology. Meanwhile, multiple vendors, particularly in the storage industry, are developing their own Kubernetes initiatives including NetApp, Zerto and HYCU.

Despite these acquisitions, a number of startups are moving in to fill any gaps in the Kubernetes ecosystem. Following are 10 of the hottest Kubernetes startups of the year so far.

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Ambassador Labs

Richard Li, Founder, CEO

Ambassador Labs, which is also known by its original name, Datawire, is the Boston-based developer of the Ambassador Edge Stack, which provides advanced edge capabilities for supporting DevOps for Kubernetes. Built for Kubernetes managed environments, the Ambassador Edge Stack is built on the industry-leading Envoy Proxy. The Ambassador Edge Stack is available in open-source and commercial editions.


Mark Boost, Co-Founder, CEO

Civo is a London-based developer of technology for bringing Kubernetes as a service to customers. The company, which previously was a hosting and data center services provider, in 2019 launched what it called the world’s first managed Kubernetes service into beta based on Rancher Labs’ K3s lightweight Kubernetes distribution. This May, the company ended its two-year beta program and moved into its early access phase, which means it is now production-ready and open for business. The service, with quick cluster launch times, comes with transparent pricing starting at $4 a month.


Ziv Kashtan, Co-Founder, CEO

Kenv is the New York-based developer of what it calls EaaS, or Environment as a Service. The EaaS platform lets businesses quickly set up dynamic Kubernetes environments. The company is focusing on simplifying infrastructure to provide developers with self-service while producing significant cost savings on cloud and on-premises computation. Kenv said it takes only 15 minutes to provision development, quality assurance, test, production and Kubernetes environments. EaaS supports three main deployment options: straight SaaS with Kubernetes; In Account with support for AWS EKS, Azure AKS and Google GKE; and on-premises via Rancher or VMware Tanzu.


Jim Bugwadia, Founder, CEO

Nirmata is a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of a unified management plane for the management and deployment of Kubernetes clusters for cloud-based application containerization. It allows businesses to deliver self-service clusters on any cloud, and to centrally manage cluster life cycles and add-ons. Businesses can also securely share clusters across applications and teams and share cluster resources. Application delivery can be done using GitOps.


Ramiro Berrelleza, Co-Founder, CEO

Okteto is the San Francisco-based developer of the Okteto Cloud, which provides free access to secure Kubernetes namespaces that are fully integrated with remote development capabilities. The Okteto Cloud enables the creation of secure Kubernetes namespaces with a single click; the ability to deploy applications from Git repositories, Docker Compose files or Helm charts; and visualization of workloads in a developer-focused Kubernetes dashboard. The Okteto Cloud can be run on any Kubernetes cluster on public or private clouds.


Sirish Raghuram, Co-Founder, CEO

Platform9 provides a managed Kubernetes service. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is developer of Platform9 Managed Kubernetes, a SaaS-managed service that works with customers’ existing infrastructures to instantly create Kubernetes clusters. Those clusters include monitoring and log aggregation and integrate with customers’ existing tools. A Kubernetes cluster can be created in under five minutes. An entry version, PMK Freedom, includes all the PMK capabilities but is free of charge for up to three clusters and up to 20 nodes.


Grant Miller, Co-Founder, CEO

Replicated, a developer of cloud-native tools to use Kubernetes help deliver software to on-premises or self-hosted environments, in October closed its Series B funding round that brought the Culver City, Calif.-based company $25 million, bringing the total funding in Replicated to $31.5 million. Replicated develops tools aimed at making it easier for software vendors to create new enterprise-installable versions of their on-premises and SaaS software products with Kubernetes as the underlying platform. Replicated’s tools provide flexibility to meet a variety of enterprise deployment targets, from an all-in-one multi-node software appliance that minimizes interactions between customers and the Kubernetes cluster to a full GitOps-style deployment into an existing Kubernetes cluster.

Partha Seetala, Founder, CEO provides cloud-native capabilities that help with automating deployment, scaling and life-cycle management of enterprise and 5G applications on Kubernetes. The San Jose, Calif.-based company’s Robin Cloud Native Storage for Kubernetes platform is a CSI-compliant block storage technology with bare-metal performance that integrates with Kubernetes-native administrative tools such as Kubectl, Helm charts and Operators via standard APIs.


Webb Brown, Co-Founder, CEO

San Francisco-based StackWatch is the developer of Kubecost, started in early 2019 as an open-source tool to give developers visibility into their Kubernetes spend. Kubecost provides real-time cost visibility and insight for teams using Kubernetes to help them continuously reduce cloud costs. Users can break down costs by any Kubernetes concept, including deployment, service, namespace label and more. Costs can be viewed across multiple clusters in a single view or via a single API endpoint. Kubernetes costs can be paired with any external cloud services or infrastructure spend to have a complete picture. External costs can be shared and attributed to any Kubernetes concept for a comprehensive view of spend.

Talos Systems

Steve Francis, CEO

Goleta, Calif.-based Talos Systems is focused on providing operational stability and security for running production Kubernetes clusters for SaaS companies. The company’s Talos OS is a minimal, hardened and immutable operating system developed to reduce security vulnerabilities and make it easier to upgrade applications and migrate them from one environment to another. The Talos platform automates the installation and security of Kubernetes out of the box and eases the work of securely deploying and managing bare metal and running multiple clusters in multiple locations.