Enterprise software is big business, and the startup sector is bustling with companies capitalising on the growth of demand for tools in the world of big data, devops, cloud, mobility, the internet of things and security scares.
Here are 15 enterprise startups on the fast track to an initial public offering (IPO):
Docker popularised the idea of containers, an open-source technology that packages all software elements so that it will run identically, regardless of environment. This helps developers bring apps to market significantly quicker and with less hassle.
The fast growing company has secured a massive fourth round of funding, with $95 million coming from Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs and more. Docker also hired experienced CFO Mike Gupta from Twitter in September.
One of the few UK-based startups on this list also boasts one of the best valuations after securing unicorn status (a valuation of more than $1 billion) last year. Anaplan, based in York in the north of England, specialised in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
Anaplan is in essence doing for ERP what the likes of Salesforce.com and Workday have already done for CRM and HR. By going cloud only and utilising in-memory storage and compute power Anaplan allows teams within companies to run “very large structured models with multiple log-ins, in real time,” according to CTO Michael Gould.
NoSQL database specialists Couchbase is helping companies adapt to the rise of big data and the subsequent need for faster, more sophisticated databases. Couchbase is looking to bring it's high-powered open source solution to the enterprise by making it easy for digital economy businesses to switch from traditional, relational databases to NoSQL.
Couchbase hired experienced CFO in Sujan Jain in 2014, with CEO Bob Wiederhold saying of the appointment: “Adding our CFO is a significant step forward for Couchbase as we continue to progress on our path to becoming a publicly traded company.” Couchbase counts Amadeus, Tesco, British Gas and Ryanair as customers
Another open source database specialists is MariaDB. MariaDB is growing fast in the relational (SQL) database market, reaching twelve million users in 2016 as it looks to challenge the big three vendors of Microsoft, Oracle and MySQL. Gartner places MariaDB as the best placed open source challenger to Oracle and Microsoft in its Magic Quadrant for operational database management systems.
Speaking about the advantages of using MariaDB over the 'big three' database providers, new CEO Michael Howard told ComputerworldUK: "We can’t just rely on a single set of product managers or engineers in a single company that doesn’t have perspective […] so the special part about MariaDB and the open source mandate is we are inclusive of our own ideas and communities."
“Be less busy” is the San Francisco-based chat software startup’s enticing tagline. Slack has exploded in popularity over the last year, now counting clients like Buzzfeed, Expedia, Salesforce and NASA. Slack claims to increase productivity, and can apparently reduce internal email usage by up to half.
Slack is currently a free service with paid plans built in, so it will be interesting to see if the company can transfer its popularity into profitability, especially following a $2.8 billion valuation in April.
Another company attempting to make traditional, clunky enterprise processes more consumer friendly is Capriza. The California-based startup wants to take enterprise applications from the likes of Salesforce, SAP and Oracle and turn them into the sort of easy-to-use mobile apps smartphone users have on their home screen. Capriza focuses on letting business users design and share apps for a single workflow, which they call Zapps. These can then be collected and managed using the WorkSimple mobile app.
Carpriza took in a $27 million Series C funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Charles River Ventures (CRV) in October 2014 and is growing its customer base, which already includes TiVo, Paramount and Sotheby’s.
With enterprises using increasingly cloud-based and sprawling networks there is space for startups to develop security software to match. Illumio is one of a number of security startups but what sets it apart is having Microsoft chairman and security expert John Thompson on the board.
According to Bloomberg, the Mountain View-based startup Mirantis raised $100 million in financing in October and is hoping for an IPO in 2016, which would make it the first OpenStack firm to go public. Mirantis is one of a number of cloud-computing software and service providers that work with OpenStack.
Server-automation software maker Puppet Labs has set a timeline of spring 2016 for its own IPO. The company will have to ensure they have a plan to attract premium customers if they are to successfully go public, with its Development Operations (DevOps) software already available on a free, open-source licence.
The startup has already raised $86 million from investors including Cisco, Google Ventures, and VMware, and counts CERN as a customer.
Another DevOps startup, Chef is a Seattle based IT automation firm which raised $40 million in a funding round back in September. On rumours of an IPO, the firm’s CEO Barry Crist told bizjournals.com: “My expectation is, at the appropriate time, Chef will access public markets.”
MarkLogic, a database vendor firm from Silicon Valley secured a further $102 million in funding in May as rumours of an IPO inevitably start to surround the startup.
Capitalising on the growth of big data, MarkLogic specialises in NoSQL database solutions for enterprise customers looking to move away from traditional, relational databases, including the likes ofBBC iPlayer and JP Morgan.
Data management and analytics platform Cloudera is one of the more established startups on this list, posting an unaudited revenue of more than $100m in 2015.
Nutanix offers hyper-converged datacenter solutions that blend servers and storage. CEO Dheeraj Pandey certainly isn't sheepish about its IPO potential.
Writing in an August 2014 blog post he said: “We raised an IPO-like amount, at an IPO-like valuation, in a private round with institutional investors who typically buy at IPO time. Fitness First are certainly fans, with global program manager Jon Forster telling ComputerworldUK that as a result of implementing Nutanix, “all of your run costs are greatly reduced.”
London-based startup Huddle told Techworld that any plans for an IPO are on hold back in January. The enterprise collaboration software maker is concentrating on growth under the CEO Morten Brøgger. Huddle is a cloud-based collaboration tool that is competing with Microsoft’s Yammer, Dropbox, Box and free products like Slack.