September 11, 2012, 8:41 AM — While big-name players such as Amazon, Google, IBM, Verizon and VMware sit atop the burgeoning cloud computing market, an entire ecosystem of early stage startups are looking to stake their claim, too.
And why not? As Ignition Partners' Frank Artale sees it, enterprises are on the precipice of the next major shift in computing and venture capital firms are "very aggressive" in looking for companies that can help customers ease their transition to the cloud.
"Initially this move will create more complexity," he says. "Companies that can enable the use of cloud, virtual networking and storage will gets lots of attention."
LAST YEAR'S LIST: 7 hot cloud companies to watch
Our list of a dozen such cloud computing upstarts, hailing from locations as far apart as Silicon Valley and Israel, includes those leveraging mobile devices for worker productivity, integrating software-defined networking and provisioning and monitoring cloud-based services. These companies -- many of which have been able to get up and running by taking advantage of cloud services themselves -- have attracted some $161 million in funding (one snared a $60 million round by itself) and are hungry for more as they look to grow their businesses.
Focus: Optimization of Microsoft Office apps for mobile devices Founded: 2009 Location: Palo Alto, Calif., with offices in Herzliya, Israel Management: Former Cisco employees Milind Gadekar (CloudOn CEO) and Meir Morgenstern (CloudOn VP of engineering/operations) Funding: $26 million from Foundation Capital, Embarcadero Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners and Translink Capital Product availability: Free download available on Apple, Android platforms now