4 smokin' hot startups: The next tech boom

Social networks are dead, and smart VC money is pouring into enterprise startups like Shoutlet, Asana, Narrative Science, and Delphix

By Trent Gegax, InfoWorld |  IT Management, entrepreneurship, startups

The hottest enterprise startups not coincidentally mirror recent CIO spending increases in business intelligence, data visualization, collaboration, virtualization, and the move to the cloud and mobile. These new-breed enterprise firms tend to trickle their products into organizations via line-of-business managers rather than waiting for pilots. Here's a mix of under-the-radar and white-hot startups attracting smart money.

ShoutletSocial media management systems, or SMMSes, impose order on the social media chaos by adding governance, integration, workflow, and intelligence capabilities across the enterprise. Basically, they're a content management toolbox for social, handling the average brand's 178 social media accounts, according to Altimeter, and gleaning all manner of knowledge about itself.

Buddy Media sucks up a lot of oxygen in the end-to-end marketing enterprise space, with $90 million raised to date from top VCs. HubSpot is hot too, recently raising $35 million from gold-plated VC Sequoia. But because winning in the enterprise software game is about sales and marketing teams who can crash through the gatekeepers, smart money likes Shoutlet, whose sales brains helped build email service giant ExactTarget. New York City-based FTV Capital, a strong player in funding enterprise (its Utopia holding is a big data play), is behind Shoutlet, as is American Family Insurance (venture arms of insurance carriers are growing into an unexpected startup funder, with Liberty Mutual investing in Utopia).

Shoutlet aims at the midmarket rather than hunting elephants. "We're going after wide-open turf," says Eric Christopher, vice president of sales. In three years, Shoutlet has grown to 100 employees and 500 direct customers, doubling revenue every year. Shoutlet gets around $20,000 a year for cloud-based, consumer-oriented UI and services like Social Switchboard, which marketers use to trigger-schedule tweets, emails, and status updates for release once the company or product reaches a certain number of likes on Facebook or retweets on Twitter.

AsanaProject-management meteor Asana has collected about as much buzz as funding in its single year of life. Few startups demonstrate consumer Web DNA bleeding into the enterprise like Asana, led by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein who were cooking it up while working for Zuck. The money behind Asana, nearly $40 million of it, is beyond smart. It's Mensa money: Conway, Thiel, Andreessen, Horowitz, Kapor, Parker.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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