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.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

Imanis Data’s software is powered by machine learning, creating a data-aware platform that is able to perform such tasks as setting up its own backup schedules based on RPO values and copying and moving data at cost-effective times. Organizations are also able to handle compliance and better protect against cyber-attacks through automation. 

Competitors include: Rubrik, Veritas, CommVault and Dell EMC 

Customers include: Capital One, WeightWatchers, Walmart, Verizon, Metlife and Fidelity

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: Imanis Data took a big leap forward in March 2018 when it secured its Series B funding and recruited John Mracek as its new CEO. With Mracek on board, the senior leadership team has been instrumental in exits with NetSeer, 3PAR, Datos IO, AdKnowledge and StorWize.

The startup also has an impressive list of on-the-record customers, and using machine learning to automate things like compliance, data protection, and risk mitigation shows promise.


What they do: Provide cloud-based data management and data protection services. 

Year founded: 2013

Funding: The startup has secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Real Ventures and private investors.

Headquarters: Toronto 

CEO: Steven Lamb, who founded Nevex Virtual Technologies and sold it to Intel in 2012. 

Problem they solve: The explosion of enterprise data creates complexity at the infrastructure level that undermines business continuity efforts. Problems include data silos requiring separate backup, data and storage-management complexity, as well as vulnerability to ransomware. 

How they solve it: ioFABRIC’s data-management software creates what they call a “data fabric” that spans servers, VMs, containers and clouds. ioFABRIC replicates data locally as well as across sites and clouds, providing redundant business continuity options in the event of a disaster.

The data fabric heals around failures by using additional storage resources to re-replicate the data, protecting the entire system from being affected by any outage. ioFABRIC says it is able to offer zero interruptions, zero losses and zero downtime when disasters hit.

ioFABRIC also provides protection against user error, failures and attacks with immutable snapshots. The snapshots cannot be accessed or encrypted by ransomware. Thus, enterprises are able to recover from ransomware with no data loss, restoring data to any point-in-time, on-premises or in the cloud.

Competitors include: Datto and Rubrik 

Customers include: Mimeo and Skye Enterprises 

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: ioFABRIC’s distributed, multi-cloud approach simplifies business continuity for the enterprise, while its “immutable snapshot” feature is a clever way to combat ransomware.

This is CEO Steven Lamb's fifth start-up. In addition to selling Nevex Virtual Technologies to Intel, he also co-founded and served as CEO for Border Network Technologies, which grew to the second largest firewall vendor worldwide before it was sold to Secure Computing Corp. Other senior leaders played key roles in exits to UUNET Technologies, Intel and HP.

Morro Data

What they do: Provide hybrid-cloud file services for SMEs

Year founded: 2013 

Funding: Morro Data has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding.

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

CEO: Paul Tien, who previously founded and served as CEO for ReadyNAS, which was acquired by Netgear. After the acquisition, Tien served as the GM of Netgear’s Network Storage business unit.

Problem they solve: As organizations expand to encompass multiple sites, they need to share and sync files among remote teams at multiple locations. Maintaining normal workflows and preparing for disaster recovery is a challenge, especially with new sites coming on and offline constantly.

Traditional methods of using replicated data to share files among sites does not work well, especially considering the large volumes of data modern businesses generate.

Worse, that data is fragmented, distributed among file servers, NAS, websites, emails, and chats. Worse still, that fragmented data is distributed not just across various application silos but across teams in different locations, which makes status-quo backup, sync, share, and business continuity a poor fit for expanding businesses.

How they solve it: Morro Data’s CloudNAS hybrid cloud file services combine a global file system along with local caching to enable the synching and sharing of files across multiple locations.

CloudNAS delivers the local Gigabit performance of NAS, but with the scalability and data protection provided by cloud-first storage. The CloudNAS Global File System (GFS) is layered on top of object storage from the likes of AWS, Wasabi, and Backblaze. GFS gives users a centralized file view via a real-time file sync in the cloud, allowing users to access files in any location through a single file namespace.

Morro Data’s web-based management console provides IT with a single pane of glass to manage devices, user permissions, and analytics.

Locally, Morro’s CacheDrive gateway plugs into any network, providing fast, up-to-date access to data in any cloud. Morro’s Cache & Sync technology eliminates lengthy upload/download times. All files and metadata are fully visible with the most recently used active files cached locally. Users can see and access files instantly with a Network Share drive letter interface, with the CacheDrive behaving like a traditional NAS File Server.

Morro Data CEO Paul Tien says that this approach “brings remote teams together as if working on the same high performance file server without VPN. New site setup and disaster recovery can be accomplished in minutes by adding syncing gateways.”

CloudNAS use cases include primary and archive storage consolidation, multi-site file share and sync, backup, business continuity and DR. 

Competitors include: Panzura, Nasuni, NetApp and EMC

Customers include: Techpoint

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: Morro Data’s concept of linking together remote teams and sites via the cloud reminds me of the early days of WAN optimization, now called SD-WAN. (See our 10 hot SD-WAN startups to watch story for more on that hot space.) Extending that model to storage (specifically to backup, file sync and share, DR and business continuity) feels like an obvious next step now that networks can better accommodate this model.

Moreover, CEO Paul Tien has a track record of founding successful startups and leading them to exits. Past exits by him include the ReadyNAS sale to Netgear, the Platform Technology acquisition by ESST, and the sale of MediaChips to OPTi.


What they do: Provide blockchain-based cloud storage

Year founded: 2014 

Funding: $3.1M from Raptor Group, First Star Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and INBlockchain

Headquarters: Boston, Mass.

CEO: David Vorick, who was previously a software developer at IBM 

Problem they solve: Cloud-based hosting and storage is dominated by a few large players, most notably AWS. For many businesses, trading the vendor-lock implicit with on-premises systems for cloud-lock isn’t really an upgrade.

Moreover, moving data out of on-premises datacenters to the cloud introduces a number of problems, including data ownership, availability, security risks, uptime concerns, and business continuity in the event of an outage.

How they solve it: Sia combines peer-to-peer networking with blockchain to provide a decentralized storage platform. Sia connects users and institutions that need storage with hosts worldwide that offer underutilized hard drive capacity. Blockchain technology secures their data and allows this marketplace to run without an intermediary.

Before uploading, Sia encrypts files and then splits them up using Reed-Solomon erasure encoding before distributing them to hosts around the globe. This distribution assures that no one host represents a single point of failure and reinforces overall network uptime and redundancy. Erasure encoding allows Sia to divide files in a redundant manner, where any 10 of 30 segments can fully recover a user’s files. This means that if 20 out of 30 hosts go offline, a Sia user is still able to download files.

Using blockchain, Sia is able to create a decentralized storage marketplace. Sia secures storage transactions with smart contracts, which digitally facilitate, verify and enforce the terms of the contract. Smart contracts allow us to create cryptographic SLAs that are stored on the Sia blockchain. Since file contracts are automatically enforced by the network, Sia has no need for intermediaries or trusted third parties.

Both renters and hosts use Siacoin, a cryptocurrency built on the Sia blockchain. Renters use Siacoin to buy storage capacity from hosts, while hosts deposit Siacoin into each file contract as collateral.

Sia claims that on average its decentralized cloud storage costs 90% less than incumbent cloud storage providers. For instance, storing 1TB of files on Sia costs about $2 per month, compared with $23 on Amazon S3.

Competitors include: Storj, MaidSafe, AWS and Protocol Labs

Customers include: Since this is an anonymous, decentralized network, customer data is hard to come by. However, Sia claims to have 4.1PB of storage on its network from 566 storage providers, with 271TB of that storage currently in use.

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: While blockchain-based storage could one day displace the likes of AWS, it could also complement it. What’s to stop the major cloud providers from monetizing underused infrastructure by adopting something like Sia, which is open-source?

Sia has raised $3.1M in funding, and since it has set up its network in a way that it more or less operates as its own bank with its own cryptocurrency, it will be able to scale up in lockstep with its user base.

IT buyers will be wary of startups like Sia at first, but blockchain-based storage is an interesting way to drive down costs for backup, DR and business continuity.


What they do: Provide a cloud data-control and management platform 

Year founded: 2012 

Funding: $6.4M in seed/angel funding from undisclosed investors

Headquarters: Houston, TX 

CEO: Rick Braddy, who also serves as the startup’s CTO. Before founding SoftNAS, Braddy served as CTO for  Citrix Systems’ XenApp and XenDesktop group. 

Problem they solve: When businesses migrate data to the cloud, they often lose control over both their data and the costs associated with the migration. Cloud-based compute and storage is more agile and scalable than traditional systems, but vendor lock has been replaced with cloud lock, and hardware/app silos that limit scalability don’t magically disappear in the cloud. Moreover, cloud migration tends to be costlier and more complicated than most organizations expect.

How they solve it: SoftNAS Cloud is a Linux-based virtual appliance that’s deployed on modern hypervisor-based systems, including Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and VMware vSphere. It runs as a virtual machine (VM), sitting between existing apps (on-premises or in the cloud) and various cloud-based object storage services, which can be used to provide flexible capacity, as well as backup, DR and business continuity.

The Cloud NAS service provides a POSIX-compliant, ZFS-on-Linux (OpenZFS) filesystem, block and object cloud-storage aggregation, data protection via checksums and storage snapshots, high-availability with automatic failover, block-based replication, data compression, deduplication and auto-tiering via SoftNAS SmartTiers.

SmartTiers enable enterprises to lower costs by automating how aging data is handled, moving it off of expensive storage to inexpensive object storage based on policies set by the enterprise.

SoftNAS ensures business continuity with their DCHA technology (cross-zone Dual Controller, High Availability). It includes automatic failover capabilities, meeting performance and uptime requirements for mission-critical applications and workloads.

Competitors include: Nasuni, infinite io, Panzura and NetApp

Customers include: Modus, Intellisoft, Brainshark, MagHub and The Street

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: While SoftNAS has only raised two seed rounds of funding, they’ve netted $6.4M, enough for the startup to lock down a long list of named customers.
CEO Rick Braddy gained relevant leadership experience at both Citrix and BMC Software, while President, COO and CFO Michael Goodwin previously served as a director for Continental Airlines, leading a number of modernization initiatives.

SoftNAS bridges private and public clouds – no forklift upgrades required – and its approach of automating the sunsetting of out-of-date data, but data which must be stored nonetheless, is a feature that should become table stakes eventually.


What they do: Provide a cloud-based infrastructure platform for e-commerce 

Year founded: 2013

Funding: $18M+ from Mohr Davidow Ventures, Grotech Ventures and Benhamou Global Ventures

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

CEO: Sonal Puri, who previously served as CMO for Aryaka Networks

Problem they solve: e-commerce businesses have had a particularly difficult time migrating to the cloud. A cloud skills gap makes it hard for e-commerce businesses not only to migrate to the cloud, but also to manage the infrastructure afterwards.

With many e-commerce businesses servicing a global customer base, these businesses often rely on multiple cloud providers. Thus, they need their e-commerce applications to be resilient in the face of disruptions to any of their cloud providers’ levels of service. Every major cloud provider has experienced unexpected downtime, often resulting in multiple hours of unavailability before service is resumed. This is a lifetime for an e-commerce business, and a disaster that can cost not only revenue, but a loss of brand reputation and consumer trust.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022