Enterprise tech startups to watch 2017: How fast they're growing, how much funding they're getting and will they IPO?
Enterprise technology 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.
These are startups focusing on delivering services to large enterprise customers, not direct to consumers. Here are just some of the fastest growing enterprise startups in the world, who their customers are and how close they are to an initial public offering (IPO).
Docker popularised the idea of containers, an open-source technology that enables easier management of applications, regardless of environment. This helps developers bring applications to market significantly quicker and with less hassle.
Funding: The fast growing company secured a massive $95 million Series D funding round in April 2015, from Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs and more. Docker also hired experienced CFO Mike Gupta from Twitter in September.
“Be less busy” is the San Francisco based chat software startup’s enticing tagline. Slack has exploded in popularity over the past few years, claiming to be the fastest growing piece of workplace software of all time. It currently counts big name clients like Buzzfeed, Expedia, Salesforce and NASA, to name just a few. 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 and the company introduced a specific enterprise version at the beginning of the year.
Funding: Slack raised a $200 million Series F round led by Thrive Capital at a $2.8 billion valuation in April 2016.
One of the few UK-founded startups on this list also boasts one of the best valuations after securing unicorn status (a valuation of more than $1 billion) last year. The San Francisco based startup, which still runs its research and development from 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.
Funding: Anaplan raised a massive $90 million Series E round led by PremjiInvest in January 2017 and hired Frank Calderoni as CEO ahead of a widely anticipated IPO this year.
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."
Funding: MariaDB has raised $43.89 in funding so far.
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.
Funding: Couchbase has raised $146 million to date, including a $30 million Series F round in March 2016.
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.
Funding: Carpriza took in $27 million and $23 million Series C funding rounds led by Andreessen Horowitz and Charles River Ventures (CRV) in October 2014 and July 2016 and is growing its customer base, which already includes Schroders, 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.
Funding: Thompson also invested in the firm during a blockbuster $100 million Series C funding round back in April 2015.
Another security-focused startup making waves is Centrify, which focuses on minimising the risk of security breaches from compromised credentials and offers secure single-sign on for employees. Clients include HSBC, Boeing, GE Capital, Harvard University and the MLB (who had quite the data breach earlier this year).
Funding: The company last raised a $42 million Series E funding round led by Accel Partners, Mayfield Fund and Jackson Square Ventures back in May 2014.
Mirantis is a Mountain View-based startup which is one of the biggest service providers that work with enterprise customers wanting to leverage the open source platform OpenStack.
Funding: Mirantis raised $100 million in financing in October 2015 and was reported to be eyeing an IPO, but nothing has materialised yet.
10. Puppet Labs
Server-automation software maker Puppet Labs offers enterprise customers the means to deliver, monitor and secure all of their software and infrastructure on a single platform. The startup includes CERN, Staples and HP as customers.
Funding: The startup has already raised more than $100 million from investors including Cisco, Google Ventures, and VMware so far. It has however cooled on plans to IPO recently, telling The Register in January that: “We’re not really discussing the [IPO] plan specifically", and, "the market is not in a great place to see an IPO...it’s much much more difficult right now.”
Another DevOps startup, Chef is a Seattle based IT automation firm which helps enterprise customers automate the way the build, manage and monitor their computing infrastructure.
Funding: Chef raised $40 million Series E funding round back in September 2015 and rumours of an IPO continue to swirl around the company.
MarkLogic, a database vendor firm from Silicon Valley specialises in offering organisations a new way to organise its databases so that they can make sense of their various data streams. Clients have already been raving about the service, from BBC iPlayer to JP Morgan.
Funding: MarkLogic secured a further $102 million in funding in May 2015 as rumours of an IPO inevitably start to surround the startup.
French startup Dataiku has built a collaborative data science platform, called Data Science Studio, which allows companies to adopt complex data science techniques like machine learning for their data in a managed, secure environment. Customer include AXA, L'Oreal and Trainline.
Funding: The startup has raised nearly $18 million, including a $14 million Series A round in October 2016 led by FirstMark Capital.
The cyber security specialist Tanium was founded in 2007 by father and son duo David and Orion Hindawi after they sold their first business, BigFix, to IBM in 2010. It was at BigFix the pair developed a way to map and manage complex networks, so with Tanium they focused this knowledge on securing large enterprise networks of connected devices.
Instead of firewalls and pre-packaged security software, Tanium takes a network-first approach, mapping an organisation's network endpoints (any internet enabled piece of hardware on a company network) and then monitoring for breaches at device level.
Funding: Tanium has some serious Silicon Valley heft behind it, with more than $300 million (£238 million) in venture funding, including serious investments from VC heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz, with Ben Horowitz sitting on the Tanium board.
Pivotal is a startup spun off from the IT heavyweight EMC that now stands on its own.
While it sells the popular Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Pivotal Cloud Foundry application development solution, the startup's main product is education: It teaches large enterprise customers how to adopt a Silicon Valley approach to software, with the promise of allowing teams at big companies to deliver code at the same speed as those at the likes of Google or Facebook. Volkswagen is an existing Cloud Foundry customer.
Funding: Pivotal has raised more than $1.7 billion (£1.3bn) in funding so far, from high profile investors including EMC, Ford, General Electric (GE), Microsoft, and VMware.
The California-based startup has been helping businesses cut down on paperwork with its electronic signature technology for years. This allows businesses to get approvals, agreements, and transactions completed faster and while key people are on the move. Businesses can also embed the DocuSign solution into their websites and applications to enable electronic signatures.
DocuSign has offices worldwide and counts AON, Box and Expedia as customers. The company recently finished an 15-month search for a new CEO and told Diginomica that it is “IPO-ready”.
Funding: DocuSign has raised a massive $512 million from a variety of investors including Bain Capital Ventures, Dell Ventures and Intel Capital.
One of three Utah-born tech unicorns (startups valued at more than $1 billion) on this list, Insidesales.com builds software that helps sales teams close deals. In practice the Accelerate platform applies machine learning algorithms on top of a rich pool of billions of anonymised sales transactions which it calls the Neuralytics engine.
Enterprise customers can plug this into their existing customer relationship management (CRM) system to suggests actions to staff, like when is best to contact a lead and how, in order to help them to close more deals. Insidesales.com counts Dyson, Caesars Entertainment and DocuSign as named customers.
Funding: Insidesales has raised more than $250 million so far, including an $50 million Series E round in January led by Polar Capital Management and including investment from the Irish government through its Strategic Investment Fund.
Despite all of this funding founder Dave Elkington has been adamant that the company is not preparing for an IPO.
Another Utah-based startup, Qualtrics is basically SurveyMonkey for the enterprise. Its omnichannel survey solutions allow businesses to ask customers about their experience with the brand and its products, as well as ways to survey internal staff to improve internal practices. It then delivers the results of these surveys in easy to understand reports and dashboards to be shared across the business.
Founded by Ryan Smith and his dad out of their basement in Provo, Utah in the early 2000s Qualtrics now has thousands of customers across verticals, including Foot Locker, Cisco, Southwest airline and a raft of universities, which were the company's early adopters.
Funding: Qualtrics has raise $220 million from some of Silicon Valley's premier investors, including Sequoia Capital, Insight Ventures Partners and Accel Partners.
The third Utah-based startup on this list, Domo is a data management specialist that claims to be able to several problems that businesses face when it comes to their data. The Domo platform can connect to various data sources, has data cleansing and preparation tools built in and then provides analytics and visualisation capabilities.
The company already claims $100 million revenue run rate and counts customers like DHL and Sage. CEO Josh James has good pedigree, previously founding data analytics company Omniture before it was bought by Adobe for $1.8 billion in 2009.
Funding: Domo raised a $200 million Series D investment round led by BlackRock, meaning it has raised $450 million to date at a valuation of $2 billion.
Mesosphere is a vendor selling a commercial version of the popular Apache open-source data centre software Mesos. Autodesk, Verizon and Netflix are all named customers of Mesosphere.
Funding: Mesosphere raised a $73.5 million funding round in March 2017, led by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and with participation from Microsoft.
21. Neo Technology
California-based startup Neo Technology is best known for its commercialised Neo4j graph database.
The company already counts an impressive host of customers from across industry verticals. Neo's database technology helped the ICIJ organise and present the information leaked in the Panama Papers scandal and has helped Nasa to change the way it stores and shares research material across the organisation.
Funding: Neo has raised more than $80 million, including a $36 million Series D round in November 2016.
Apttus is a California-based quote-to-cash software specialist. The Apttus solution automates the matching of products with the relevant financial terms of the contract and the associated paperwork workflow.
CEO Kirk Krappe told MarketWatch that the company had $150 million in revenue last year and is aiming to IPO in 2017. Customers include enterprise heavyweights Delta Airlines, Adobe and General Electric.
Funding: The startup has raised $274 million so far, including a $100 million round in September 2016, led by Kuwait Investment Authority and including Salesforce Ventures.
InfluxData has developed its platform for managing and monitoring time series data on top of the open source TICK stack. Time series data is streaming data, which is of growing importance for any IoT use cases as businesses have to keep track of huge volumes of data coming in from various sensors across their estate.
This data is increasingly important to companies developing autonomous vehicles, utilities companies installing sensors across their infrastructure and IT professionals managing servers and cloud environments. Existing customers include AXA, Cisco, eBay, and the aforementioned Telefonica.
Funding: $24.89 million to date, including a $16 million Series B round led by Battery Ventures in September 2016.
Swiss startup LzLabs aims to help enterprise IT teams with the issue of migrating critical applications from legacy mainframe systems onto modern infrastructure, namely a managed container running on the open source Linux operating system.
CEO Mark Cresswell told Computerworld UK last year: "We realised that we had to solve some of those very thorny problems and create an environment that ran on Linux x86 and behaved exactly the same way as a legacy mainframe would."
Funding: The startup has been bootstrapped to date and took some undisclosed early stage funding. Creswell told Computerworld UK that the company is open to 'further funding' though.
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