The hottest enterprise tech startups to watch in 2019

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 cybersecurity.

The latest figures from analyst house Gartner pegs worldwide IT spending at $3.76 trillion in 2019, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2018. Of that spending enterprise software spending is projected to grow 8.5 percent in 2019 and another 8.2 percent in 2020 to total $466 billion.

John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner said: "Spending is moving from saturated segments such as mobile phones, PCs and on-premises data centre infrastructure to cloud services and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. IoT devices, in particular, are starting to pick up the slack from devices."

In this list we have pulled together some of the hottest startups who are building software and services aimed directly at large enterprise customers, not consumers.

Here are just some of the fastest growing enterprise startups in the world, who their customers are, funding so far and how close they might be to a 2019 initial public offering (IPO).

Cohesity

Cohesity

There are a lot of factors that make Cohesity a 'hot' enterprise startup: unique technology; a founder who is on his second act after cofounding the now-public software company Nutanix; and $250 million in funding from SoftBank's Vision Fund, marking it out as one of very few enterprise startups to get funding from Masayoshi Son's infamous bucket of money.

The startup itself has built a cheaper way for enterprises to store what it calls 'secondary data' - so backups, files, test/dev and analytics data, all monitored in a single cloud environment with simple and rapid recovery options.

Funding:Cohesity has raised $410 million to date, making it one of the best-funded private companies on this list.

Asana
© Asana

Asana

Founded by Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and Facebook engineer Justin Rosenstein in 2011, Asana builds collaboration software that is hugely popular with the developer set.

The SaaS product is built to help teams collaborate on projects and operates in a highly competitive space alongside the likes of Trello, Slack and Salesforce's Quip, to name just a few.

Funding:It should come as little surprise that early investors included Peter Thiel and Sean Parker. Asana then hit unicorn status in November 2018 following a $50 million funding round led by Al Gore's Generation Investment Management.

Platform Science

Platform Science

If the Gartner predictions about IoT are to come true San Diego-based Platform Science is well placed to take advantage.

The startup builds what it calls "enterprise IoT fleet management", allowing logistics customers to track their fleets and create efficiencies.

The startup has some legitimate enterprise chops too in CEO John Kennedy, a former Qualcomm executive with a wealth of experience in the telematics space.

Samsara

Samsara

Another IoT-focused startup is San Francisco-based Samsara, which offers a wide range of hardware and cloud software solutions for fleet management and asset tracking.

Founded in 2015 by Sanjit Biswas and John Bicket, who had previously worked together at cloud networking vendor Meraki, which was acquired by Cisco Systems for $1.2 billion in 2012.

Funding:Samsara opened a London office in 2018 and has raised $230 million to date from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst, including a bumper $100 million round in December 2018.

Front
© Front

Front

The original Front app is for any team that shares an email inbox. It is particularly handy for customer support, sales and even PR teams. It allows emails to be assigned to team members and for teams to collaborate in a shared space, increasing response speeds.

Now the company is looking to transform the email experience for all office workers after receiving a serious cash injection earlier this year (see below).

Front was founded by French nationals Mathilde Collin, who is now CEO, and Laurent Perrin, who is CTO after coming through the famed Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator. Front evokes the sort of evangelism often reserved for consumer applications instead of enterprise software, drawing the inevitable comparisons to Slack.

Funding:Front raised a $66 million (£47 million) Series B funding round led by Sequoia and Schreier in January 2018.

Avora

Avora

UK startup Avora specialises in AI-powered analytics and business intelligence. The vendor boasts a plug-and-play capability with more than 350 connectors, allowing customers to bring in a rich pool of data to analyse - complete with machine learning capabilities to smartly spot trends and actionable insights with no need to know SQL.

Founded by industry veteran Ricky Thomas in 2014, Avora is operating in a highly competitive space, with every analytics and BI vendor worth its salt talking up its superior AI capabilities. But it already counts O2, Ocado and Boohoo.com as customers.

Funding:Avora has raised $10.5 million (£8 million) to date, including a January 2019 round of $6.5 (£4.95 million) led by AlbionVC and Crane Venture Partners.

Natterbox
© Natterbox

Natterbox

Croydon-based Natterbox has built a cloud-based private branch exchange (PBX) phone system which can check for 'spam' in the form of cold calls, and smartly categorise and redirect calls the second they come in. This all then links back to a customer's Salesforce CRM system to ease tracking of calls.

Read next: Meet Natterbox: The British tech company linking phone systems with your CRM

Funding:The startup was bootsrapped for years but took a £5 million Series A funding round in April 2018 led by Octopus Investments.

Tessian
© Tessian

Tessian

Formerly known as CheckRecipient, Tessian is a UK startup helping organisations avoid the risk involved with missent emails.

The platform analyses millions of data points across your organisation's email network to detect patterns of behaviour and surface misaddressed emails. If the machine learning algorithm spots an unusual email address or detects potentially sensitive information in the content it will prompt the sender to double check before sending.

Organisations including Schroders, Man Group, Dentons and more than 70 British law firms are using the platform to protect their email networks.

Funding: Tessian raised $42 million (£31.5 million) in a Series B funding round led by Sequoia in February 2019, with involvement from previous investors Balderton Capital and Accel. The money is being earmarked for global expansion, particularly into the US. The company has now raised a total of £44 million to date.

Snyk

Snyk

Combining some favourite buzzwords for investors - security and open source - Snyk has skyrocketed to a $100 million valuation since it was founded in London in 2015.

Created by software engineers Guy Podjarny, Danny Grander and Assaf Hefetz, Snyk effectively helps developers automatically spot vulnerabilities in the open source code they are running.

Funding:Snyk raised $22 million in September 2018 led by Accel, valuing the company north of $100 million.

Celonis
iStock

Celonis

German startup Celonis gained unicorn status in 2018 and has had some big customer wins to go with it, including Airbus, Vodafone and GM.

The company provides a platform which can sift through your organisation's data to spot opportunities for automation, music to the ears of any C-level executive going through a so-called digital transformation.

Funding:Celonis was valued at $1 billion following a $50 million Series B investment round from Accel and 83North in June 2018.

GitLab
© GitLab

GitLab

GitLab is an open source Git-repository manager built by Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Valery Sizov. Not to be confused with developer code repository GitHub, this Bay Area startup has had a massive couple of years as enterprises and investors have taken a keen interest in devops.

The company has evolved from being just a git repository to helping developers track, manage and collaborate on code, with built in CI/CD functionality.

Funding:GitLab closed $100 million in a round led by Iconiq Capital, and just three months later, Goldman Sachs invested another $20 million, and its loyal customers include CERN, Sony and SpaceX.

Zylo
© Zylo

Zylo

Indiana-based startup Zylo focuses on cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) spend management software, allowing enterprise IT teams to monitor their spending across cloud applications. Yes, it sells SaaS to monitor your SaaS usage.

Through Zylo not only can IT teams see their total cloud spend but can also monitor the utilisation of SaaS applications, monitor licensing and adjust budgets accordingly.

Zylo connects with accounts payable and expense systems to extract cloud- and SaaS-related expenses into a dashboard.

The company was founded by Eric Christopher, a former business development manager at ExactTarget, the Indiana-based email marketing company purchased by Salesforce and then rebranded as Marketing Cloud in 2014.

Funding:Zylo raised a Series A funding round in January 2018 of $9.3 million (£6.6 million), led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Salesforce Ventures and the Slack Fund.

Docker
© Docker

Docker

Dockerpopularised 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.

The company released its Enterprise Edition (DEE) in March 2017, presumably as a way to enhance enterprise adoption and boost revenues. DEE is a container-as-a-service (CaaS) platform for managing and securing Windows, Linux, and mainframe containerized applications across multiple platforms, both on-premises and in the cloud. There are three paid tiers for DEE, charged per node, per year.

Read next: Docker CEO Steve Singh on the firm's drive to enterprise and the future of open source

Funding:The fast-growing company secured a massive $61 million funding round in September 2017, bringing total funding to more than $240 million.

Slack
© Slack

Slack

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 an enterprise version at the beginning of the year.

The company named its first chief financial officer in February 2018 in the form of Allen Shim, who had previously acted as senior VP of finance and operations. Slack also added Sarah Friar as its first independent board member in 2017. Why does this matter? Both moves are pretty clear signals that the company is eying an IPO.

Funding:Slack is very quickly outstripping the startups moniker, raising $427 million in an August 2018 funding round that values the company at $7.1 billion, with a 2019 IPO heavily rumoured.

MariaDB
© MariaDB

MariaDB

Another open source database specialist is MariaDB, which Gartner places 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, CEO Michael Howard told Computerworld UK: "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 more than $98 million in funding so far, including sizeable investments from the European Investment Bank and Alibaba in 2017 alone.

Couchbase
© Couchbase

Couchbase

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 its high-powered open source solution to the enterprise by making it easy for digital economy businesses to switch from traditional, relational databases to NoSQL.

Read next: Couchbase CEO: Database technology yet to be truly transformed

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.

CircleCI
© CircleCI

CircleCI

San Francisco-based CircleCI builds continuous development software for enterprise-scale devops teams.

CircleCI acts as both an orchestration layer and a workflow tool for automating code changes. The company claims to stand out from popular open source options like Jenkins in its ability to work at large scale and across distributed teams. It counts Spotify, Facebook, Lyft, Adobe and Docker as customers.

The software is priced depending on the number of containers and concurrent builds being run, starting at $50 per month for two, with unlimited users and builds included. It can be run as-a-service, on-premise or in a private cloud environment.

Funding:CircleCI raised a $31 million (£22.4 million) series C round at the beginning of 2018, led by Top Tier Capital Partners.

Read next: Best alternatives to Jenkins for continuous integration and development

Paddle
© Paddle

Paddle

Aimed more at the SME market, Paddle provides what is essentially an ecommerce platform for software companies, simplifying the way they sell their products, from free trials to pricing and complete with customer analytics.

The UK startup was founded by twenty-something Christian Owens and is growing at breakneck speed. It counts more than 650 small software companies as clients, who give up a five percent cut for Paddle's broad range of services.

Read next: Meet Paddle, the UK's fastest growing software company

Funding:Fresh from a $12 million (£9 million) Series B funding round in December 2017, Paddle is expanding its headcount and is looking to open a US office.

Capriza
© Capriza

Capriza

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.

Read next: Schroders turns to Capriza to make everyday business processes more mobile friendly

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.

Illumio
iStock

Illumio

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:Illumio closed a $125 Million Series D funding round led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management in June 2017. John Thompson also invested in the firm during a blockbuster $100 million Series C funding round back in April 2015.

Puppet
iStock

Puppet

Server-automation software maker Puppet offers enterprise customers the means to deliver, monitor and secure all of their software and infrastructure on a single platform. The startup counts CERN, Staples and HP as customers.

Funding:Puppet raised a $42 million funding round led by Cisco Investments in June 2018, accompanied by Kleiner Perkins, True Ventures, and VMware in June 2018. It has raised nearly $150 million to date.

Chef
© Chef

Chef

Another devops startup, Chef is a Seattle-based IT automation firm which helps enterprise customers automate the way they build, manage and monitor their computing infrastructure.

Funding:Chef last raised a $40 million Series E funding round back in September 2015 and rumours of an IPO continue to swirl around the company.

Dataiku
© Dataiku

Dataiku

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.

Dataiku won the best enterprise startup at The Techies awards 2017.

Funding:The startup raised a massive $101 million Series D investment round in December 2018, led by ICONIQ Capital.

Tanium
© Tanium

Tanium

The cybersecurity 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.

Read next: How the US cyber security unicorn Tanium plans to crack the UK market

Funding:Tanium shelved any IPO plans after a $200 million fundraising in October 2018, totalling more than $780 million in venture funding to date, including investments from VC heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz, with Ben Horowitz sitting on the Tanium board.

Insidesales.com

Insidesales.com

The last of a generation of Utah-born tech unicorns to go public, Insidesales 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.

Read next: How Insidesales stopped targeting SMBs and focused on the enterprise

Funding:Insidesales has raised more than $250 million so far, and CEO Dave Elkington has told Computerworld UK that it is working towards an IPO.

Graphcore
© Graphcore

Graphcore

UK startup Graphcore develops processors specifically designed for AI solutions, which it calls intelligent processing units (IPUs).

CEO and cofounder Nigel Toon said during a Dell event in New York in September 2017 that: "Interest from investors has been to create the next generation of hardware to support machine-intelligent systems."

Dell is an early investor in the company.

"As we get more involved in building systems with higher capability, the networks become more complex," Toon said. "As we need to understand the context of conversations, which implies feedback and memory in the system, to create more intelligent and robust systems.

"This complexity means more complex data structures which don't map well to today's hardware, using clusters of CPUs and GPUs to match that need for compute, so we need new hardware to match this workload."

Funding:Graphcore raised a massive Series D funding round in December 2018 of $200 million, led by BMW i Ventures and Microsoft.

CloudCheckr
© CloudCheckr

CloudCheckr

CloudCheckr helps IT departments get a window into their public cloud computing environment, to better manage usage across the enterprise. This helps optimise public cloud spend, eliminate waste, and improve security and compliance.

Somewhat similar to Apptio, which helps CIOs at large enterprises manage their IT spend across an increasing variety of cloud providers and services, CloudCheckr specialises in providing transparency for enterprises running a multi-cloud approach with vendors like AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Read next: AWS vs Azure vs Google: What's the best cloud platform for the enterprise?

Funding:CloudCheckr raised a $50 million Series A funding round in March 2017, led by Level Equity.

Confluent
© Confluent

Confluent

Founded by the creators of open source Apache Kafka, Confluent is a commercial version of the software which helps developers manage system and application messaging at high volume and add real-time streaming data into their apps.

Kafka has proved popular with companies like LinkedIn, which uses the technology for activity stream data and operational metrics, Netflix for real-time monitoring and its event-processing pipeline and at Spotify as part of its log delivery system.

The idea of Confluent is to make it easier for companies that don't have that sort of developer power to harness Kafka.

Funding:The company announced that it has raised $125 million in January 2019, led by Sequoia Capital, bringing total funding to $206 million.

Moogsoft
© Moogsoft

Moogsoft

Moogsoft specialises in using AI to bring smarter analytics to IT operations data. The proposition sounds very similar to what Splunk, the big hitter in the IT operations data space, has been doing for the past couple of years.

Founder and CEO Phil Tee said during a Dell event in New York in September 2017: "The genesis of the company was understanding natural language to help customers understand the millions of event messages you get from infrastructure as to what is relevant and a service-affecting issue. We use algorithms, not the old rules-based model, to predict failures."

Funding:Moogsoft raised a $40 million Series D funding round in March 2018, led by Goldman Sachs, taking total funding to $93 million.

Neo4j
iStock

Neo4j

California-based startup Neo4j is best known for its commercialised graph database.

Read next: What is a graph database - and should you care? Graph database vendors, graph database use cases and graph database customers explained

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:Neo4j raised a massive $80 million round led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and One Peak Partners in November 2018, essentially doubling its funding to date.

Snowflake Computing

Snowflake Computing

San Mateo-based Snowflake Computing claims to have built the first relational data warehouse specifically for the cloud.

Read next: What is Snowflake Computing and who are its customers?

Snowflake CEO Bob Muglia has said that he wants users to simply "load the data and run queries, and everything else happens under the covers".

He believes that porting traditional data warehouse to the cloud or using open source solutions like Hadoop aren't fit for purpose because they weren't built to be run in the cloud.

Snowflake claims to have more than 500 customers using its data warehouse solution, including Sony, Nielsen and Hotel Tonight.

Funding:Snowflake raised a $450 million in funding round led by Sequoia Capital in October 2018, taking total funding to near $1 billion.

ProoV
© ProoV

ProoV

ProoVwas created by Israeli entrepreneurs Toby Olshanetsky and Alexey Sapozhnikov after Olshanetsky struggled to convince CIOs to run a proof of concept (PoC) for his previous company, the IT monitoring software maker Neteye.

Olshanetsky calls ProoV a platform for 'Pilot-as-a-Service', where an enterprise can quickly create a PoC environment. It can also generate "deep mirroring" of enterprise data to get the most accurate results possible, and because the PoC runs on ProoV's cloud platform there is no risk of security or regulatory issues.

The enterprise customer can then monitor the PoC and run simulations on the fly so that customers can get a better feel for how the solution will look in a production environment. There is also a marketplace for startups and enterprises to find relevant case studies and PoC opportunities.

ProoV charges depending on the number of PoCs and data volumes involved.

ProoV counts Comcast, AIG and Schneider Electric as customers on its website.

Funding:It has raised $21 million (£16 million) to date with investors including from Mangrove Capital Partners and Helios Capital.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.