10 enterprise software companies to watch

Open source, software-as-a-service and other application start-ups of note

What does the company offer? Intelligent Data Usage, a line of governance software products that control which employees in an enterprise can access data.

Why is it worth watching? Varonis’ product gives organizations control over unstructured data, such as PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and spreadsheets. “About 85% of . . . the data in most companies takes unstructured form,” says Johnnie Konstantas, vice president of marketing. “We have created a solution that essentially tells organizations who is accessing that data, and what they’re doing when they access it. . . . These are sort of all the pieces to get control of unstructured data and make sure only the right people are looking at the right data to do their jobs and nothing more.”

How did the company get its start? The founders, Yaki Faitelson and Ohad Korkus, both worked for NetVision, an Israeli ISP, where they became interested in how employees receive permission to view data, and how it is often difficult to find out why employees had permission to view data after it is deleted mistakenly.

How did the company get its name? Varonis means “lion” in Latvian. Faitelson, the CEO and president, admires the lion for its strength, endurance, power and loyalty.

CEO and background: Faitelson held leadership positions in global professional services and systems integration divisions at NetVision and Network Appliance.

Funding: $13.5 million from venture capital firms including Accel, Evergreen and Pitango Venture Capital.

Who’s using the product? Condé Nast, the Museum of Modern Art, Msystems, and various unnamed banks and financial institutions.

9. Vertica Systems

Founded: March 2005

Location: Andover, Mass.

What does the company offer? A database management system that runs on Linux-based hardware. The product, expected to be released in the second half of this year, is described by Vertica as a “grid-enabled, column-oriented relational database management system” that handles data warehousing, business intelligence, fraud detection and other applications in networks with hundreds of terabytes of data. Vertica founders say their system will return query results 10 to 100 times faster than current products. Databases built with a row-oriented architecture are optimized to write data into systems quickly and reliably, they say. Vertica’s database system, on the other hand, stores content by column rather than by row, and represents data in the format in which it is meant to be viewed, as opposed to the way it was written into the system, according to Vertica.

Why is it worth watching? Vertica was co-founded by Michael Stonebraker, the main architect of the Ingres and Postgres database management systems. Ray Lane, Oracle’s ex-president and COO, is a special adviser to Vertica, and former Oracle senior vice president Jerry Held is Vertica’s chairman.

How did the company get its start? Stonebraker and fellow co-founder Andrew Palmer, Vertica’s CEO, wanted to make data more accessible to enterprise employees. “We believe that more people in the enterprise need access to more data than ever before. Their expectations in terms of the speed of that access are going up rapidly,” Palmer says.

How did the company get its name? The name Vertica represents the company’s column-oriented approach to database management.

CEO and background: Before Vertica, Palmer was a member of the startup team at Infinity Pharmaceuticals in Boston, and was senior vice president of operations as the company raised more than $140 million in financing and grew to more than 100 employees.

Funding: $23.5 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, Highland Capital Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Who’s using the product? Ten early adopters, including HP and Red Hat.

10. Workday

Founded: March 2005

Location: Walnut Creek, Calif.

What does the company offer? Software-as-a-service ERP, including human capital, revenue, resource and financial management. Workday began offering its services in November after having operated in stealth mode since its founding. So far, only the human capital management service is on the market.

Why is it worth watching? Workday co-founder Dave Duffield, the PeopleSoft founder and former CEO, is using the software-as-a-service model to compete with SAP's and Oracle’s ERP applications that are deployed and managed by enterprises internally.

How did the company get its start? When Duffield and fellow co-founder Aneel Bhusri were working together at PeopleSoft, they decided to overhaul their product strategy while attempting to fend off Oracle’s acquisition attempt, according to Workday CTO Stan Swete. After Oracle succeeded in buying PeopleSoft, the pair “came out of that situation charged up and with some real ideas about how new solutions could be written to reinvigorate this space,” according to Swete.

How did the company get its name? Company management wants to make ERP software more relevant to everyone’s workday. They say their products are designed to meet the regulatory needs of the back office, such as financial reports written by human resources, and to provide a more accessible user interface for regular employees. “We want our system to be relevant to both sides of the business,” Swete says. “We think those two worlds can both collaborate over the same set of data.”

CEO and background: Duffield founded PeopleSoft in 1987 and served as the company’s CEO and chairman of the board before it was acquired by Oracle in January 2005. Before PeopleSoft, Duffield helped build two mainframe application software companies.

Funding: Primarily funded by Duffield, with some investment from Greylock Partners. Amount not disclosed.

Who’s using the product? Ten customers including Salesforce.com, KANA Software, McKee Foods, and RightNow Technologies.

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