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Network World - While there are sure to be a lot of new networking and IT companies that emerge in 2012, these nine stood out to us for their potential to deliver game-changing innovations in a wide array of fields, including cloud computing, enterprise search and mobile application development. (These are in addition to seven hot cloud companies and seven storage companies to watch that we highlighted last year.)
IN PICTURES: 2012 tech startups to watch product sampler
CEO: Sacha Labourey, former CTO of JBoss
Headquarters: Woburn, Mass.
Funding: $14.5 million in two rounds of funding, the most recent in July, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners
CloudBees CEO and founder Sacha Labourey has a dark secret: He used to think cloud computing wasn't all that interesting.
That's because, in addition to being one of the most overused buzzwords in the history of tech, cloud computing used to be consigned to the sphere of hardware. But once he saw that cloud computing could also be applied to middleware, he started to get excited.
"It took me a bit of time to realize what the power of the cloud could be," says Labourey, who used to work as a co-general manager for Red Hat's middleware division. "The hardware layer was a necessary evil, but the real value of the cloud came from what you could get on top and what you could get from next-generation middleware."
And so Labourey, now a full convert to the power of the cloud, founded CloudBees in 2010 to provide a platform as a service for cloud application developers that would cover them for the entire life cycle of their application, from building code to testing code to testing out different user interfaces. Or put another way, CloudBees takes away a lot of the extra work that cloud app developers typically do when designing applications.
"A developer would typically need a bunch of tools, such as servers they'd need to install their code, tools to build the code and to do UI testing to ensure the app will run on PCs, Macs, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and so forth," says Labourey. "What we offer is a one-stop shop where you can get all those services integrated so you can store your code, test your code and do Web UI testing."
The overall goal of the company, he says, is to reduce friction between app developers and IT departments by giving IT a single platform to test out and maintain apps running on their networks. Basically, Labourey wants applications to be as little of a hassle to IT departments as possible.
"If we could have a big machine that could run all the workloads in the world, we'd be fine with that, but such a machine doesn't exist," he says. "Our job is to make it look like it's run on one big machine even if there isn't one."
CEO: Tom Brennan, co-founded and served as CFO for early SaaS company OpenAir
Headquarters: Boston, and Limerick, Ireland
Funding: $650,000 to date from angel investors and Enterprise Ireland
Goshido's team has built what it claims is a unique cloud platform to help enterprise users better organize and deal with the email deluge and spend more time doing actual work. The platform essentially divides messages received into one of two different "concepts": Actions and updates.
For example, let's say you're a tech journalist and you receive an email from your boss assigning you a project to write about hot new startups to watch in 2012. This initial email will be designated an "action" by Goshido, while all follow up emails between you and your editor will be placed into the "updates" folder. So instead of getting all the emails bunched up on the same screen, they are neatly sorted to make it easier to find all the projects you're working on in a timely manner. Users can also prioritize certain actions in their inboxes by assigning them dates for when they're supposed to be completed and then placing them into folders to let you know what actions are due on a given day and which actions are dubbed the most urgent.
Additionally, you can add people you email frequently to a folder where their messages can easily be accessed. This is useful because it means you'll be able to find all of the emails that your editor has sent you on a given day updating you on assignments without wading through the thousands of emails sent from public relations firms pitching you their products.
"Our purpose is to help people cut through the clutter and help teams focus on the things that really matter," explains CEO Tom Brennan. "Right now you're spending too much time dealing with unanswered emails, voice mails and sitting through meeting after meeting that seems like nothing more than an excuse to talk about the next meeting."
The company's service costs $10 per user per month, and Goshido offers consulting, service and support as well. Goshido has also teamed with other software companies, including Jive Software.