Futuriom 40 Update: Who's Hot, Who's Not

Futuriom 40 Cover

By: Mary Jander

It’s been almost a year since since we released our first Futuriom 40, a free report in which we showcased 40 of the most innovative private companies in cloud infrastructure technology. A lot has happened since then, and we thought it a worthwhile effort to double back, review our selections, and make some predictions.

With the next report coming out in January 2022, it's time to catch up with the companies we named as the movers and shakers in the cloud infrastructure market. Just by virtue of acquisition and Initial Public Offering (IPO), it's clear that at least four companies will drop out of the Futuriom 40, clearing the way for fresh blood in 2022. There have already been two IPOs (Couchbase and Darktrace) and several acquisitions.

To review, the Futuriom 40 for 2021 included the following companies: Alkira, Arrcus, Aryaka Networks, Auth0, Aviatrix, Cato Networks, Cockroach Labs, Cohesity, Couchbase, Darktrace, Databricks, DriveNets, EDJX, Exabeam, Fivetran, Fortanix, HashiCorp, Infiot, Itential, Kentik, Lacework, Macrometa, NetFoundry, Netris.AI, Netskope, PacketFabric, Pensando, Pureport, Rubrik, Saguna Networks, StackPath, SUSE/Rancher Labs, Tigera, Triggermesh, TrueFort, Vapor.io, Versa Networks, Volta Networks, Weaveworks, ZEDEDA.

Without further ado, let’s delve into what’s been happening (or not happening) with these firms, starting with those that lived up to our expectations, those that didn’t, those we predict are headed for greatness, and those we’re scratching our heads about.

Futuriom 40’s Biggest Winners w/ Exits

A handful of Futuriom 40 companies made it to an IPO or were acquired at high prices during the past few months. Below are the most newsworthy of our picks:

Auth0. Category: Unified Cloud Security -- Auth0 was the first of the Futuriom 40 to be acquired – by rival Okta (Nasdaq: OKTA) in a roughly $6.5 billion all-stock transaction in March 2021. Since then. Auth0’s as-a-service identity management platform aimed at developers has boosted Okta’s profile. Even with the losses netted in the buy, Okta showed revenue growth of 57% for the quarter ended July 31, 2021, post acquisition. Well done!

Couchbase. Category: Cloud Data Management -- Cloud-native database vendor Couchbase (Nasdaq: BASE) went public on July 22, 2021, on a valuation of roughly $1.2 billion, grossing $230 million on its IPO. The company also updated its core database software-as-a-service, indicating that it won’t stand still in helping users manage and protect data as they move it from mainframe-oriented relational databases to hybrid or multi-cloud environments.

Darktrace. Category: Unified Cloud Security -- Darktrace successfully went public in the U.K. this past April, scoring about $230 million on its first day of trading and bringing its valuation to about $2.3 billion. Subsequently, Darktrace listed on the Frankfurt Exchange this summer. The company’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) to predict security threats by discerning the normal behavior of a particular cloud-based environment, Internet of Things (IoT) network, or industrial control system, has proved to be a winner. Expect to see a U.S. listing within 12 months.

Companies That Are Heating Up

Aviatrix. Category: Distributed Cloud Networking -- Aviatrix scored $275 million in two rounds of funding in 2021, and the latest round of $200 million, announced this fall, put its valuation at $2 billion, prompting talk of IPO. The multi-cloud networking (MCN) pioneer, led by well-seasoned CEO Steve Mullaney, is laser focused on growing its share of an emerging market in virtualized cloud networking -- which Mullaney calls a “computing model transformation.”

Cato Networks. Category: Unified Cloud Security -- Cato is laser focused on one of the cloud networking and security market's hottest markets, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) -- providing unified security and networking from the cloud. It claimed 200% growth in bookings in 2020 and continues to build out PoPs and grow its ecosystem. In October, the company scored $200 million in funding giving it a $2 billion valuation. Driven by CEO and Cofounder Shlomo Kramer, an industry veteran who has already taken several security companies public, this company is on a clear flight path.

Cockroach Labs. Category: Cloud Data Management -- Armed with $160 million in Series E funding early in the year, the cloud-native SQL database company is in the sweetspot of the cloud data management space, targeting real-time data management across clouds. With other hot cloud database technology companies such as Couchbase and Snowflake receiving large valuations on the public markets, one could easily see a path to Cockroach going public in the next year or two.

Cohesity. Category: Cloud Data Management -- Cohesity has raised about $650 million in funding since its founding in 2013 by CEO Mohit Aron. In April 2021, it cited a valuation of $3.7 billion in anticipation of a tender offer that was expected to yield investors about $145 million worth of Cohesity employee common shares. Thanks to the ongoing success of its data management-as-a-service (DMaaS) for backing up and protecting cloud-based data, Cohesity is on everyone’s IPO radar, and according to our search metrics is one of our most-searched companies.

Databricks. Category: Cloud Data Management -- On August 31, Databricks stunned the tech industry by scoring $1.6 billion in a Series H round on a valuation of $38 billion. The impressive numbers point to the urgent need Databricks meets for enterprise customers -– specifically, managing and analyzing large amounts of data, regardless of structure or location. By supporting open source, keeping security a priority, and addressing the multi-cloud issue, Databricks could follow its outlandish success into IPO this year.

Hashicorp. Category: Distributed Cloud Networking -- Hashicorp, a software platform that enables automation and management of cloud infrastructure, recently filed to go public, shedding more light on its future plans and growth numbers. In fact, an updated filing said on Monday November 29 that it plans to sell shares in its IPO for $68 to $72 each. Revenue in the latest quarter grew 49% to $82.2 million, while the company’s net loss widened to almost $22 million from $9.3 million a year earlier. It is expected to get a public market valuation in excess of $10 billion.

Itential. Category: Distributed Cloud Networking. Itential is a scrappy company from Atlanta, Georgia, that enables network managers to integrate and modernize their entire networking infrastructure for the cloud, using pre-built code and automation software. Think of Itential as Ansible for cloud networking, with more sophistication. Recent landmarks include raising a $20 million round to expand its software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform and recruiting well-known industry executive Peter Sprygada from Red Hat.

Rubrik. Category: Cloud Data Management -- Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) recently made an equity investment in Rubrik while arranging joint development and go-to-market strategies that will add Rubrik’s zero-trust data management capabilities to Microsoft 365 and Azure. The arrangement grew out of the companies’ awareness of common ground, helped along by 2,000 common customers. The deal, inked in summer 2021, valued Rubrik at about $4 billion. If all goes well, perhaps Microsoft will spring for Rubrik, regardless of the high pricetag.

Futuriom 40’s Disappointments

Unfortunately, not everybody lives up to the hype and anticipation. Some companies haven't quite delivered on their promises and others have dropped out. Here's an update on companies that we see as disappointments so far:

EDJX. Category: Edge Cloud -- In March 2021, EDJX contributed its edge technology to the Texas Military Department at Camp Mabry in Austin, in a project sponsored by the Autonomy Institute, which brings together experts from the public and private sectors as well as academia to come up with solutions that coordinate 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, and intelligent transportation. And that’s the last we’ve heard of EDJX and its small-form-factor, ruggedized, security-hardened servers. The company seems to have been swallowed by a science project.

Pureport. Category: Distributed Cloud Networking -- Early in 2021, Pureport was acquired by Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR) and has reportedly become the basis for the data center and interconnect provider’s multi-cloud strategy. Nothing wrong with that, but it seems a lackluster ending to what we thought would be an exciting future for a cloud-native connectivity platform that hit all the right buttons – including an integral virtual router and an interface for self-service management.

Saguna Networks. Category: Edge Cloud -- Saguna created a series of multi-access edge compute (MEC) products geared to helping mobile operators, enterprises, and developers roll out advanced cloud services quickly and simply over existing access networks. But the company seems to have gone nowhere -- yet. In May 2021, Saguna was sold to COMSovereign Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS), a U.S.-based vendor specializing in mobile communications, for $13.1 million in an all-stock transaction. We’ll have to wait and see, but so far this has been a disappointment.

Volta Networks. Category: Distributed Cloud Networking -- Founded by former executives at Cisco and Juniper in 2015, Volta makes cloud routing software and competes with the likes Arrcus and DriveNets. Unlike Arrcus and DriveNets, however, Volta never seemed to grab any headlines with large funding rounds or customers. After raising $23 million in funds, it was quietly acquired by IBM in October. Given that neither company highly publicized this deal, its hard to imagine that it was a banner exit for the company.

We’re Keeping an Eye On…

There are plenty of other potential winners on our large list. Other Futuriom 40 companies we’re expecting to see progress to next levels include: Alkira, Arrcus, Aryaka, DriveNets, Exabeam, Fivetran, Fortanix, Lacework, Macrometa, NetFoundry, Netris AI, Netskope, PacketFabric, Pensando, Triggermesh, TrueFort, Versa, and Zededa. Others to watch include Infiot, Kentik, StackPath, SUSE/Rancher Labs (no longer privately held since parent SUSE went public), Tigera, Vapor.io, and Weaveworks.

But of course, the reason we have a Futuriom 40 list is that we think hope that most of the companies will be reasonably successful.

Stay tuned for more on the Futuriom 40 over the next few months. We’re working on our new list right now!