Startups to Watch in 2021

Innovative enterprise tech startups are emerging to tackle both new and longstanding challenges and problems in ways never thought possible. Many of these companies have fresh approaches to accelerate digital transformation, expand AI and analytics initiatives, streamline DevOps, improve data observability, and more. Here are 16 startups DBTA thinks are worth watching in 2021.

ARMO is the developer of a platform that inherently secures cloud-native workloads with in-memory protection coupled with built-in visibility and control. The company emerged from stealth after securing seed funding, from Pitango First, which it is using to expand its go-to-market efforts and commercial offering of its technology.  The ARMO Workload Fabric provides DevOps teams with a new approach to cloud-native workload and application deployment that infuses inherent security and visibility into applications, and also creates a virtual control plane that can be easily deployed in any cloud-native environment.

Clumio is a startup headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. that was co-founded in 2017 by Poojan Kumar, Kaustubh Patil, and Woon Jung. The company in 2020 launched the Clumio Research and Development Center in Bengaluru to begin operations in India. The center will be an integral part of Clumio’s capability to build and deliver services on its platform built on AWS. According to Clumio, the service leverages modern cloud capabilities, including more than 10 major AWS services, to ensure it meets the current and future backup requirements of demanding enterprises.

Concourse Labs, a company that accelerates enterprise digital transformation through automated cloud governance, emerged from stealth mode in mid-2020 and announced $15.2 million in Series A funding. The round was led by ForgePoint Capital, with existing investors 83North and Capri Ventures participating. According to Concourse Labs, traditional enterprise governance, risk and compliance (GRC) approaches cannot work at cloud speed and scale nor deal with the distributed and ephemeral nature of cloud resources. Concourse seeks to enable enterprises to adapt successfully to the cloud, providing observability and control of their risk posture.

Defined Crowd launched DefinedData in mid-2020, a new offering that enables customers to rapidly accelerate their AI-initiatives into the market by acquiring pre-collected, annotated, and validated AI training data from an online catalog.  The mid-year 2020 product launch followed the closing of a $50.5 million Series B funding round and the addition of new investor, Balderton Capital.

Einblicka visual data computing platform provider, based on years of research at MIT and Brown University, announced at the end of 2020 that it had secured $6 million in Seed funding from lead investor Amplify Partners with participation from top-tier investors Flybridge and Samsung Next. Einblick is a visually interactive data collaboration environment that data scientists and analysts can use to understand the meaning hidden in their data, and provides an integrated environment for descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.

Ermetic, the cloud access risk security company, emerged from stealth mode in mid-2020 and released an analytics-based solution to prevent cloud data breaches. The platform automates the detection and remediation of identity and access risks in IaaS and PaaS offerings from Amazon, Google and Microsoft. The analytics-based Ermetic platform automatically discovers all human and machine identities in the cloud, and analyzes their entitlements, roles and policies using a continuous lifecycle approach.

Fauna is a transactional database delivered to as a secure, cloud API. Fauna, developers can simplify code, reduce costs, and ship applications faster by replacing their database infrastructure with a programmable data API that combines the power of custom business logic with the ease of GraphQL. Fauna itself is a serverless offering, making it to get started with and allowinig developers to experience freedom from database operations at any scale.’

GitLab offers a DevOps platform built from the ground up as a single application for all stages of the DevOps lifecycle enabling product, development, QA, security, and operations teams to work concurrently on the same project. It provides a single data store, one user interface, and one permission model across the DevOps lifecycle, enabling teams to reduce cycle times through more efficient collaboration and enhanced focus.

Lightrun, a Tel Aviv-based startup that makes it easier for developers to debug their production code, Lightrun natively integrates with existing developer tooling such as IDEs, APMs, and observability solutions to deliver on-demand production debugging. According to the company, adding Lightrun code-level information to existing data in present solutions enables faster detection of anomalies and repeating patterns, increases the quality of the information being extracted and speeds up the overall debugging process. Lightrun announced in June 2020 that it had raised a $4 million seed round led by Glilot Capital Partners, with participation from a number of engineering executives from several Fortune 500 firms.

Monte Carlo, the data reliability company, announced in February 2021, that it had raised $25 million in new funding to spearhead the emerging data observability category and help organizations achieve more reliable data. According to the startup, while the industry is bullish on big data, there isn’t a comprehensive solution to ensure that data is accurate and reliable at every stage of the data lifecycle. By applying the same principles of application observability to data, Monte Carlo says its Data Observability Platform fills this void with an end-to-end solution that allows data engineers and analysts to seamlessly monitor the health and dependencies of their data assets across the entire data stack, from ingestion to analytics.

Privacera, a cloud data governance and security provider founded by the creators of Apache Ranger, received $50 million in Series B funding to support the increasing demand for automated data security, privacy, and governance in the cloud. The funding was led by new investor Insight Partners and with participation from Sapphire Ventures,  Battery Ventures, and existing investors Accel, Cervin, and Point 72. Co-founded by Balaji Ganesan and Don Bosco Durai, Privacera empowers enterprises to balance the dual mandate of data governance and security with data discovery, access control, and analytics.

Rivery, an end-to-end SaaS DataOps platform that aims to give organizations control over their information through the ingestion, transformation, orchestration, and management of their data, recently announced a $16-million series A round. Since launching in 2019, Rivery says it has seen 500% growth with enterprise companies, including Bayer, American Cancer Society, WalkMe, Entravision and Preqin. The startup also has partnerships with Snowflake and major cloud providers.

StormForge (previously Carbon Relay) is a provider of machine learning-based cloud-native application performance testing and optimization. Previously known as Carbon Relay, a startup focused on app efficiency in Kubernetes environments, the company announced the acquisition of StormForger GmbH, a performance-testing-as-a-service platform, in November 2020. With the acquisition, Carbon Relay renamed as StormForge. The integrated platform for DevOps and IT professionals can proactively and automatically test, analyze, configure, optimize, and release containerized applications to remove the risk of negatively affecting user experience and customer trust.

TileDB is a data management company that provides a universal data engine. “We flipped the data management model,” said Dr. Stavros Papadopoulos, CEO and original creator of TileDB. “We invented a database that focuses on universal storage and data management rather than the compute layer, which we’ve instead made ‘pluggable.’”

Truera is a provider of a model intelligence platform that emerged from stealth in August 2020 to launch a solution that removes the "black box" surrounding machine learning (ML) and provides intelligence and actionable insights throughout the ML model lifecycle. Later in 2020, the company closed $12 million in Series A funding led by Wing VC with participation from returning investors Conversion Capital and Greylock and new investors Data Community Fund, B Capital Group via the firm’s Ascent Fund, and Harpoon Ventures.

vFunction emerged from stealth in early 2021, offering a platform purpose-built to automatically, efficiently, and intelligently transform complex, monolithic Java applications into microservices with a scalable, repeatable factory model. vFunction’s cloud modernization platform enables organizations to modernize legacy Java applications and realize the true benefits of the cloud: elasticity, reduced cost, and restored engineering velocity.