The 2006 10 Start-ups To Watch

With cool technologies and growing business opportunities, these start-ups may one day be eligible for the NW200.

Who's using the product?

Fidelity Investments is piloting SessonSuite as a platform for supporting remote offices with IP telephony, and for tying together legacy voice gear and Centrex services with a converged applications layer.

How did the company get its name?

Blue note is a common term in jazz, of which Burkardt and Brian Silver, CTO, are aficionados.

-- Phil Hochmuth

CenterisBellevue, Wash.

What does the company offer?

Likewise, a server management software product that enables systems administrators to manage Linux machines as they would Windows servers. Centeris also sponsors the Likewise Open Agent, an open source software application that enables Linux server administration from the Microsoft Management Console.

Why is it worth watching?

Centeris couples a much-needed technology with open source. While Windows operating systems continue to dominate the market, Linux is gaining ground. Systems administrators will want to minimize the effort needed to manage multiple machines across their heterogeneous environments. Likewise couples integration tools with management features so administrators experienced in Windows can easily manage Linux machines with the same tools.

Likewise 1.0 has several components. A systems administrator installs Likewise Console on Windows machines and remotely installs Likewise Agent on Linux servers. The administrator then can use Likewise Console to configure Linux server roles and join them to Microsoft's Active Directory. Then the administrator can manage and monitor Linux servers through Likewise Console and Microsoft Management Console.

Currently the software works in a one-to-one manner, meaning one license of Likewise can manage one Linux box. The company plans to evolve the software to support a one-to-many architecture, in which multiple Linux machines could be supported through Likewise, but has not specified a target delivery date.

How did the company get its start?

Centeris was founded in September 2004 by two former Keynote Systems executives - Brian Moran and Chuck Mount - and a former Microsoft executive, Manny Vellon. The three, who now serve as chief architect, vice president of marketing and vice president of product development, respectively, were joined early on by Gerald Carter, a well-known open source developer; Barry Crist, who last ran Mercury Interactive's Application Management group for the Americas; and Krishna Ganugapati, formerly a Microsoft Active Directory architect.

Who's leading the company?

Barry Crist, as CEO.

How much funding does it have?

$16.5 million, including a $11.5 million second round closed in March. Primary investors include Ignition Partners, Intel Capital and Trinity Ventures.

Founded: September 2004

Funding: $16.5 million

CEO: Barry Crist

Customer: Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union

The name: Represents how the company wants its software to be perceived, which is as the tool sitting in the center of the Windows and Linux systems management worlds.
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Who's using the product?

A free Likewise version has been downloaded by about 1,000 potential customers since the fall of 2005, Centeris says. Enterprise customers include Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union.

How did the company get its name?

Centeris represents how the company wants its software to be perceived, which is as the tool sitting in the center of the Windows and Linux systems management worlds.

-- Denise Dubie

ConSentry NetworksMilpitas, Calif.

What does the company offer?

Network access control, via its Secure LAN Controller appliance for enforcing network access policies and shutting down connections that appear to be the work of malware. It also allows for real-time monitoring of what each user is doing on the network.

Why is it worth watching?

While network access control is getting higher on security wish lists, enterprises are looking for ways to implement the technology without disrupting their networks and committing to major investments. ConSentry's gear is an add-on to existing networks that requires no upgrades and immediately supports network access control. The platform has custom processors that limit to negligible levels the delay caused by the screening it performs.

How did the company get its start?

The company was launched in August 2003 by entrepreneurs Tom Barsi, co-founder of Vina Technologies; Mario Nemirovski, founder of XtreamLogic; and Jeff Prince, founder of Foundry Networks. They wanted to address the growing malware problem, as well as to protect networks from authorized users attempting malicious behavior. Barsi brings expertise in marketing and business development, while Nemirovski's strength is in software engineering and Prince's in hardware engineering.

Who's leading the company?

Tom Barsi, as CEO.

How much funding does it have?

$31 million, including a $17 million third round closed in July 2005. Investors include Accel Partners, Invesco Private Capital and Sequoia Capital.

Who's using the product?

BT Radianz, Continental Airlines and Las Vegas Review-Journal.

How did the company get its name?

By blending the first syllables of the words "control" and "sentry," the founders hoped to reflect the real-time control and inspection of network traffic.

-- Tim Greene

Founded: August 2003

Funding: $31 million

CEO: Tom Barsi

Customers: BT Radianz, Continental Airlines and Las Vegas Review-Journal

The name: By blending the first syllables of the words “control” and “sentry,” the founders hoped to reflect the real-time control and inspection of network traffic.
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Copan SystemsLongmont, Colo.

What does the company offer?

The Revolution 220T, 220TX and 220A virtual tape library and archiving appliances, which use a technology called Massive Array of Idle Disks (MAID). With MAID, disk drives can be powered up individually or in groups, as needed. Because the disks remain powered off until an application requests the data, the power-on duty cycle for each disk is reduced, thereby increasing the service life of the drives.

Why is it worth watching?

Copan is marketing a unique technology and making a good value proposition of it. Because disks are spun only when data is needed, the cost of disks and the amount of power consumed by the Revolution array is close to that of tape. The company has gained use by a number of high-profile customers and gathered a good amount of venture capital to fund its operations. It has a few competitors, among them FileTek, which archives fixed content data, and Asaca and Exavio, both of which focus on digital prepress, broadcast and postproduction markets.

How did the company get its start?

Four seasoned storage and technology executives - Aloke Guha, Will Layton, Chris Santilli and Eric Sumpter - founded the company in March 2002 with the belief that at the right price point and with the ability to extend drive reliability, disk-based storage could replace traditional tape systems. As they formulated plans, disk-drive capacities were increasing and the cost per gigabyte falling. With these market conditions, they were able to a hit a tape price point for their disk-based system. Guha, most recently founder and CEO of Datavail (now CreekPath Systems) serves as CTO; Layton, most recently entrepreneur in residence with Austin Ventures, is vice president of sales development; Santilli, formerly a storage system design engineer at Compaq and StorageTek, is chief architect; Sumpter, most recently founder and CEO of RLX Technologies (now HP), is COO and vice president of manufacturing.

Who's leading the company?

CEO Mark Ward, most recently principal of Ward Capital. Ward has held executive positions with EMC and StorageTek.

Founded: March 2002

Funding: $56.5 million

CEO: Mark Ward

Customers: Baptist Memorial Healthcare, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, University of Texas Medical Branch

The name: Derived from Copan, the largest known Mayan-era archeological site in Honduras. At Copan, archeologists found a large quantity of undamaged artifacts, which yielded massive amounts of information about this ancient civilization. Copan Systems' intent is to provide an array that lets users archive and retain information undamaged for long periods of time.
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How much funding does it have?

$56.5 million, including a $17.5 million third round closed in March. Investors are Austin Ventures, Credit Suisse, Globespan Capital, Horizon Technology Finance, Pequot Ventures and Pinnacle Ventures.

How did the company get its name?

Derived from Copan, the largest known Mayan-era archeological site in Honduras. At Copan, archeologists found a large quantity of undamaged artifacts, which yielded massive amounts of information about this ancient civilization. Copan Systems' intent is to provide an array that lets users archive and retain information undamaged for long periods of time.

Elemental SecuritySan Mateo, Calif.

What does the company offer?

Elemental Security Platform (ESP), a policy-based application aimed at integrating traditionally discrete areas such as network access control, configuration management and compliance management.

Why is it worth watching?

Elemental Security is on a course to unify compliance requirements and system security. Its ESP combines traditional security features with policy-based computing - which is associated more often with user activity than with monitoring gear. With ESP, companies can use a single application to define policies, monitor hardware and users for noncompliance with those policies, and take action against unsecured devices.

Driving the platform is Fuel, a scripting language for policy writing developed by the creator of the Python language, Guido van Rossum. Fuel lets users outline security policies using familiar terms that match those used in corporate policy documents. For example, a user could express a policy such as "Only users in the finance department can connect to SAP ERP servers," and ESP translates that simple phase to something understood by corresponding directory systems, applications and hardware.

ESP relies on agents to monitor devices on a network, and a dashboard keeps tabs on compliance with active security policies.

Elemental's biggest challenge is the size of its competition, which includes network and security vendors such as Cisco and Symantec, as well as management players such as CA and IBM, which are working to provide similar capabilities in integrated product suites. So far, so good. Since releasing its first product in April 2005, Elemental Security has increased its customer base to more than 30 companies and signed 10 channel partners. The company expects to generate $6 million in sales this year.

Founded: December 2002

Funding: $21 million

CEO: Peter Watkins

Customers: Aegon Insurance, Catholic Health Systems, John Wiley & Sons, Purdue University, Shutterfly

The name: Describes the vendor's goal of providing a solid foundation and essential building blocks for enterprise security.
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How did the company get its start?

Technologist Dan Farmer and executive Dayne Myers co-founded Elemental Security in December 2002 to help corporations more easily implement and monitor policy-based computing. Farmer, who is CTO, co-authored various security tools, including SATAN. Myers, who had been CEO and is now a board member, has a long history in private equity, management consulting and executive management.

Who's leading the company?

Peter Watkins, former entrepreneur-in-residence at Bessemer Venture Partners, as CEO.

How much funding does it have?

$21 million, including an $11 million third round closed in June 2005 and led by Lehman Brothers Venture Partners.

Who's using the product?

30-plus customers, including Aegon Insurance, Catholic Health Systems, John Wiley & Sons, Purdue University and Shutterfly.

How did the company get its name?

"Elemental" describes the vendor's goal of providing a solid foundation and essential building blocks for enterprise security.

Mu SecuritySunnyvale, Calif.

What does the company offer?

The Mu-4000 appliance, which provides protocol-based security analysis for network equipment.

Why is it worth watching?

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