10 hot business-continuity startups to watch

A crop of well-funded young businesses embrace blockchain, machine learning, data analytics and more to stave off costly disaster downtime.

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In the current landscape business continuity is about a lot more than natural disasters: Denial of service attacks, ransomware and even network outages can undermine business continuity, and while moving applications to the cloud might seem like a viable solution, cloud providers aren’t immune to outages.

These are just a few of the problems being tackled by the companies featured in this roundup of business-continuity startups. (See how we chose the top 10 companies listed in this roundup.)

You’ll notice that blockchain, machine learning and networking play a big role in their work, and rightly so. Blockchain helps decentralize data; machine learning helps automate backups and recovery; and reliable networking is a must because you can’t have continuity if you can’t access your data.

The startups below offer everything from blockchain-based distributed storage to virtualized storage and data management to swarm-computing-based databases. Any one of them could be the upstart that completely reconfigures the storage and business continuity landscape, which is why we’ll be watching them.


What they do: Provide a hybrid-cloud, open-source storage platform 

Year founded: 2015 

Funding: $7.5M in Series A funding from Andreessen Horowitz

Headquarters: Berkeley, Calif. 

CEO: Haoyuan Li, a Computer Science his Ph.D. from UC-Berkeley who served as a software engineer for Conviva.

Problem they solve: As machine learning, data analytics, and AI make app-to-app communications business critical, business continuity takes on new meaning. Business continuity is now about more than just protecting data and making it available to knowledge workers. Now, business continuity means that data must be usable (unified) and instantly accessible to any application anywhere in the world, in any cloud, on any infrastructure.

Moreover, many analytics, such as with cybersecurity, must be executed in near real-time to have value, meaning any bottleneck exposes your data, applications, and business to risk.

How they solve it: Alluxio’s memory-centric virtual distributed storage system provides global access to all of the data in your enterprise – on-premises, in the cloud or hybrid. Applications have a single point of access to multiple independent storage systems regardless of physical location.

Server-side API translation converts from a client-side interface to any storage interface. Alluxio manages communication between applications and file or object storage, eliminating the need for complex system configuration and management. File data can look like object data and vice versa. If you have multiple versions of HDFS in your enterprise, Alluxio also gives an application the ability to talk to different versions of the same storage.

Alluxio clusters act as a read/write cache for data in connected storage systems. Temporarily storing data in memory or other media near compute accelerates access and provides local performance from remote storage. This capability is even more critical with the movement of compute applications to the cloud and data being located in object stores separate from compute.

Intelligent caching and data management ensure fast performance, data protection, business continuity and high availability. Caching is transparent to the end user and utilizes read/write buffering to maintain continuity with persistent storage. Intelligent cache management utilizes configurable policies for efficient data placement and supports tiered storage for both memory and disk (SSD/HDD).

Alluxio fits within existing frameworks and enforces the security already in place. User authentication, authorization, access-control and data-encryption policies from both applications and storage are applied within Alluxio. Support is provided for multi-tenancy, Active Directory, LDAP, Kerberos and encryption.

Competitors include: Hedvig, Mesosphere, Databricks and Puppet

Customers include: Alibaba, Baidu, Barclay, CERN, ESRI, Google, Huawei, Intel and Juniper 

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: Alluxio is the classic case of a computer science student tinkering with the beginnings of a startup while still in school. After graduating, Li turned his lab experiment into the startup Tachyon, which has since been renamed Alluxio.

Alluxio has one round of funding from one investor, but it’s $7.5M from Andreessen Horowitz, which is a good backer to have.

Alluxio has is a long list of impressive customers that include Alibaba, CERN, ESRI, Google and Intel, among others.

The company’s concept of “unified data at memory speed” is compelling. As Big Data, AI, IoT, and other compute/memory/storage-intensive applications continue to penetrate the enterprise, new methods for breaking through bottlenecks will be critical. Moreover, Alluxio’s data unification and intelligent caching make business continuity almost a byproduct of their architecture.


What they do: Provide decentralized data storage that relies on blockchain to protect the integrity of data

Year founded: 2014 

Funding: $22.3M, which includes a $1M investment in March 2018 led by NEO Global Capital, and a $19.5M ICO raised in January 2018.

Headquarters: Singapore

CEO: Pavel Bains, who previously served as CEO of Storypanda and as Studio Director for Threeweave Software

Problem they solve: Centralized database storage creates a number of problems, from heightened risk of data breaches (such as the Equifax, Yahoo!, and British Airways breaches) to a lack of data integrity (how do you know the data hasn’t been tampered with?) to a lack of system reliability (with a centralized system, a single point of failure can knock everything offline).

How they solve it: Bluzelle’s decentralized database service uses blockchain technology to provide software applications with improved security, reliability and integrity of their data. All of the data in the database is replicated based on the concept of swarm computing; the nodes comprising the swarm are geographically dispersed, thus providing business continuity in the event of natural or human-caused disaster.

According to Bluzelle, this decentralized approach is able to scale in step with business needs, rather than forcing you to predict (and pay for) peak capacity. Moreover, since data is diced up and distributed across many non-deterministic locations, security and business continuity are improved. Even in the unlikely event a breach occurs, the data involved is minimal. And in the event of a disaster, only a small portion of your data will be impacted, and even then it will have been replicated elsewhere.

Competitors include: MongoDB, Firebase (Google) and Oracle
Customers include: HSBC, MUFG and BT Asia

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: While the Bluzelle decentralized database is appealing for business continuity use cases, Bluzelle envisions bigger things for its technology suite, envisioning what they call a “data economy.”

Alongside the database, Bluzelle offers framework that supports private data control, data syndication and decentralized web infrastructure. According to Bluzelle, by creating a decentralized data ecosystem, they enable individuals and businesses to have full data control and the ability to monetize that data.

Cloud Daddy

What they do: Provide data protection services for AWS cloud environments

Year founded: 2017 

Funding: This startup is currently self-funded.

Headquarters: Princeton, N.J. 

CEO: Joe Merces, who previously served as CIO of the New York City Law Department and VP  of Product Management for Premiere Global Services. 

Problem they solve: Businesses of all sizes face a continuous onslaught of cyber-attacks, attempted hacks, ransomware-based extortion and other threats. When your data is both a target and a tool to use against you, protecting it must be a mission-critical business priority.

However, effective data protection within this threat landscape is about more than siloed backups. Simply performing backups within a traditional IT environment with standalone IT functions can have disastrous consequences, leaving organizations far more exposed to risk than they think they are.

How they solve it: In addition to backing up data, Cloud Daddy’s in-cloud backup engine incorporates advanced security countermeasures and infrastructure management features. The backup engine features disaster-recovery orchestration, including cross-region and cross-account disaster recovery anywhere in the world that AWS has a physical presence. Cloud Daddy’s service also provides firewalls, rules, templates and access control, adding layers of cybersecurity countermeasures on top of disaster recovery to better thwart cyberattacks and protect backups and replications anywhere they’re stored. 

Competitors include: Veeam (via the N2WS acquisition) and Druva (CloudRanger acquisition.

Customers include: VMOX and Recursion 

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: AWS is a behemoth that’s taking over the world, and Cloud Daddy, despite being only a year old, already has a couple of named customers.

CEO Joe Merces background as CIO of the New York City Law Department, the world’s largest public sector law firm, gives him experience with both the threat landscape and how to handle it within a large, bureaucratic organization. Finally, Cloud Daddy’s approach of unifying backup with security and infrastructure management should appeal to resource-strapped organizations that often neglect DR and business continuity due to cost.


What they do: Provide a distributed, multi-cloud storage platform

Year founded: 2012 

Funding: $52M in total. Hedvig’s most recent round, a $21.5 million Series C raised from EDBI, Hewlett Packard Pathfinder and the Oman Technology Fund, closed in March 2017.

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif. 

CEO: Avinash Lakshman, who co-invented Amazon Dynamo DB and invented the Cassandra NoSQL database. Lakshman previously served as a software engineer for both Facebook and Amazon.

Problem they solve: As more business activities move online, the concept of business continuity must evolve to keep pace. It’s no longer enough to backup, secure and replicate a few key mission-critical databases. Enterprises must now consolidate disparate media types (HDD/SSD/NVMe) spread across distant locations that include on-premises datacenters and multiple cloud locations.

Meanwhile, as knowledge workers increasingly demand remote and mobile access, businesses are challenged to ensure that their applications are always available, responsive, and secure. In addition, they need to worry about GDPR compliance and data-sovereignty regulations. 

How they solve it: Hedvig’s multi-cloud data-management system helps enterprises control both primary and secondary storage. With Hedvig, enterprises can now backup data on-premises and in multiple cloud locations. Enterprises are able to use their existing backup applications, such as NetBackup, Veeam and Veritas, along with a scalable software-defined backup target using commodity hardware.

Users don’t need to buy siloed backup targets. Rather, Hedvig consolidates primary and secondary storage using the same platform and delivers business continuity through a stretched cluster that spans across multiple locations.

Competitors include: Cohesity, Rubrik, Alluxio, Data Domain, Exagrid and HPE StoreOnce

Customers include: Pittsburg State University, GE, Scania, IAG, State of North Carolina and LKAB

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: Hedvig has the right ingredients in place to help modernize business continuity. CEO Avinash Lakshman is a database design trailblazer with experience at both Facebook and Amazon. The startup also has $52M in total funding, along with an impressive list of named customers. As business continuity becomes a “must-have” rather than “nice-to-have” feature for even mid-sized businesses, Hedvig’s consolidated, multi-cloud storage-management approach should appeal to businesses with even the most complex data protection use cases.

Imanis Data

What they do: Provide enterprise-class data management that is powered by machine learning 

Year founded: 2013 

Funding: $27.6M. The most recent round was a $13.5M Series B that closed in March 2018. Participants included existing investors Canaan, ONSET Ventures, Intel Capital and Wipro Ventures as well as new investor Asset Plus Capital.

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif. 

CEO: John Mracek, who previously served as CEO of NetSeer, leading it from being a pre-revenue startup through to its acquisition by INUVO. Mracek also held leadership roles at AdKnowledge, eBay, Yahoo!, Adobe and Apple. 

Problem they solve: Enterprises increasingly rely on Hadoop and NoSQL data platforms for mission-critical applications, but traditional data-management tools don't support these platforms. This creates a massive data-management gap where backup, DR and ransomware detection are all neglected.

Imanis Data argues that these same organizations also need more data mobility, or the ability to move data to and from various clouds, as well as the ability to automatically create test/dev clusters that include sampling and masking of data. 

How they solve it: Imanis Data’s software-defined storage management supports all Hadoop and NoSQL platforms, providing both data protection (backup, recovery, DR) and data orchestration (migration, sampling, masking).

In addition to backup, the platform provides storage orchestration, granular recovering capabilities, and predictive automation.

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