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20 Red Hot, Pre-IPO Companies in 2015 B2B Tech

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20 Red Hot, Pre-IPO Companies in 2015 B2B Tech

  1. 1. 20 RED-HOT, PRE-IPO COMPANIES IN 2015 B2B TECH From Actifio to Vormetric, IDG Connect editorial director Martin Veitch surveys companies with good prospects that have yet to float
  2. 2. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect In November 2014, IDG Connect published my inaugural red-hot, pre-IPO companies list which examined my pick of 20 companies that were (a) privately held and (b) had a positive outlook. I made no pretensions to scientific rigour but selected the companies on the basis of background research and a decent amount of time spent with at least one senior executive at each company to give a fair view of its chances. Among the factors I sought out as signs of promise were: strong management; a clear and attractive vision; funding; differentiated products or services; the good opinion of significant experienced influencers; and a buoyant area of activity. I also added in a solid dose of‘hunch’based on over 25 years’ experience meeting technology leaders and writing about their companies’inner workings. A list like this is, of necessity, a snapshot. An attempt at an empirical study might have included many others such as Dropbox, Square and Atlassian but there has to be a cut-off somewhere and I have plumped for human interaction over desk research, distant third-party connections and hearsay. I make no bones of the fact that this was very much a personal viewpoint. Now, never one to change a winning formula, this year’s follow-up clones the 2014 format. It presents an A to Z list with no weight given to one company over another. And I should emphasise again, that this is not a paper that attempts to tip the success or otherwise of companies’chances on the public markets. I certainly don’t believe that all of these companies will eventually float although I contend that they all have a chance to do so. Some, as backed up by last year’s list, will sell out to rivals and peers, others will be taken in by private-equity partners and some might fail altogether. The process of becoming a successful company is evolutionary and there are many different paths that can be taken. A few, like SAS Institute, stay private for the long run. Many others are‘built to flip’and are ready-made for a fast sale or are unavoidably drawn into the lures of a predator. A few, like Dell, go public and then retract and recently we have seen big tech stocks like HP and Symantec announce plans to split into component parts. But many of the most interesting set their sights on an initial public offering to raise funds for the long-term, to reward staff and to bask in the limelight of the markets. These last companies are at the heart of the technology economy but, with venture funding having been at extraordinary levels for a few years now, some of the strongest have the luxury of biding their time and waiting for the perfect moment to launch. So, all that’s left to say is best of luck to one and all of them. Introduction
  3. 3. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect Against: Competing against stacks and their sales tactics won’t be easy For: Well-funded, addresses a pain point in a space where current backup incumbents aren’t well loved Actifio is handsomely bankrolled with over $207m at its disposal after a March 2014 round pulled in $100m. A storage and virtualisation company at heart, based in the US (Waltham, Massachusetts) and under Indian leadership, like Nutanix, PernixData and Nimble Storage, Actifio matches the photo-fit for the new datacentre disruptors. Its USP is what it calls‘Copy Data Management/ Virtualization’by which it means splitting data from infrastructure to improve resilience, lower costs and provide built-in backup. CEO Ash Ashutosh sees the company as the link between two new types of company: those redefining infrastructure (such as the disruptors listed above) and those redefining applications like Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Workday. Its core intellectual property is in a deep understanding of the workings of applications and you might think of it as an application process logic expert wedded to a super-sized enterprise version of Apple’s Time Machine for backup and restore. Its other advantage is that the traditional incumbents in the enterprise backup space (many of them acquired and rolled up into giant software stacks) are seen by many CIOs and CTOs as blood- sucking leeches and innovation-free zones. The latest funding valued Actifio at over $1bn and, if market conditions are right, 2015 could see an IPO. Actifio Interview: CEO, Ash Ashutosh Anaplan Against: Some prospects will always lean to‘stack’providers For: Well-funded, focused on a profitable, important niche Interview: CEO and CTO What’s this? A hot British software startup that’s not doing something‘webby’and isn’t in London? Yes, and its global R&D is based near York in England’s north country (although confusingly it’s actual headquarters are San Francisco). Anaplan is unusual in a few other ways too. Number one, it’s trying to disrupt the Excel hegemony where Microsoft’s spreadsheet is asked to do pretty well everything that it wasn’t created to do – in this case keeping tabs on business planning. Number two, it has strong funding for a European company, with about $150m raised so far and illustrious customers to match including Air Asia, Expedia, British Land, HP, Kimberly-Clark, McAfee and Pandora. Number three, it uses an Anglo-French management combination with Brit CTO, Michael Gould, working alongside the effusive Frederic Laluyaux as CEO. With a run rate already at over $100m in revenues per year, Anaplan might not be a household name and probably never will be, but it’s being carefully watched by the giant software stack operators. Those companies are also highly acquisitive of course but a future IPO would make sense if management and investors can hold their nerve. The UK’s most important business software company since Autonomy? Maybe.
  4. 4. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect Companies attempting to be the great new thing in eRetail come along with the frequency of London buses and their chances of successfully arriving at a desirable destination in a timely manner are similarly mixed. To tip the winners it’s perhaps better to look at customer bases than get confused by whizz- bang technologies and promises. With that in mind, BloomReach has pulled in Staples, fashion trendsters Forever 21 and Guess, and foodie nexus Williams-Sonoma. Chasing growth, the San Francisco company set up a UK office in 2014 and has $41m in funding. BloomReach Against: Many silver bullets have already been promised in eRetail For: Desirable market with customers who itch for new insights Interview: CEO, Raj De Datta Boundary Against: Buyer inertia For: Modern alternative to incumbents in a space that needs refreshing Interview: CEO, Gary Read Boundary is an IT monitoring company that wants to do for its chosen space what Salesforce.com did for CRM. That is, provide a modern, cloud-based, user-friendly product that will be beloved by users... and lead to enormous financial success. In April 2014, Boundary nearly doubled its funding to over $41m and in so doing enhanced its chances of challenging the long-term incumbents in the space such as CA, BMC, HP, IBM and Quest Software (now part of Dell). Those companies won’t be easy to usurp but then Salesforce knocked Siebel off its perch. Many of the new wave of companies that have made life difficult for segment leaders are led by people who know where bodies are buried. Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, was formerly an Oracle executive and ServiceNow founder Fred Luddy was CTO at Peregrine Systems, for example. Boundary is no exception as British CEO, Gary Read, has eaten the monitoring pizza and worn the monitoring T-shirt at Boole & Babbage, BMC, RiverSoft and Nimsoft. Read’s challenge today is to reinvent the category, giving it a modern sluicing for a complex new era where companies will mix and match capabilities on-premises and off-premise across global, hybrid environments - but still want a single cockpit on all activities with reporting that make sense to non- techies too. Enterprises and service providers make up Boundary’s customer roster and range from Jive, Expedia and Okta to Adobe and Outbrain – not bad for a company founded in December 2010. Read aspires to an eventual IPO although the company and market are still growing. If Boundary can match ambition to execution it should have an outstanding chance of success. On a minor note, its logo is clever in concept but illegible…
  5. 5. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect Cirba Cloudera Against: Has been a slow burn so far and is dwarfed by others in the datacentre automation space For: Timely solution to a pressing challenge for datacentre owners/operators Against: Closeness to Intel might not make it universally popular For: Able to invest freely in growth; tight with the world’s biggest chip maker Interview: CEO and CTO Interview: Chief Strategic Officer, Mike Olson At the ripe old age of 15, Cirba is no new game in town by software standards but its time might have come. The Canadian company likens itself to the computer game Tetris – but that doesn’t mean that it is intensely annoying and beloved of dweebs. Instead it provides the automation capability to allot time and capacity to virtual machines in heavily virtualised environments. And of course, most well-run datacentres are going to be heavily virtualised today – and they will be even more so tomorrow. In recent years Cirba has bolstered partnerships and its status as an‘indie’makes it appeal to those reluctant to be locked in to a single supplier’s environment. However, to capitalise on its opportunity it may have to invest in marketing and expansion. The company last raised funds in 2012 and has collected $32m in total. It is also likely to be an attractive partnering (and perhaps more) target for the well-known firms duking it out for datacentre automation clout. Even among those mentally exhausted by – and insanely envious of – the vast funding rounds that have characterised tech VC over the last couple of years, Cloudera sent jaws falling in 2014 when it announced Intel was taking an 18% stake in this Palo Alto, California bright spark for $740m. That took total investments to over $1bn and overnight made Cloudera appear to be the B2B world’s riposte to the WhatsApp valuation when Facebook agreed to buy the messaging firm. Intel was buying a chunk of a company at the heart of what’s going on in the Hadoop/Big Data action. And, just as it did when it took a lucrative share in VMware several years earlier, Intel was betting that what we see today are just the skirmishes in what will turn out to be a brutal battle for control of the next wave of critical analysis tools. In Cloudera’s case the result will be decision-support systems capable of asking the world’s biggest‘what if’ questions. Cloudera’s biggest rival, Hortonworks, on the other hand is proudly going its own way and has already put IPO wheels in motion. Both can win of course but the company that becomes number-one in the enterprise stands to become very large indeed. Some compare what’s happening here with the tussle for RDBMS leadership 20-odd years ago and speak of the winner becoming the next Oracle. If they’re right we might one day talk about Intel and other investors getting a bargain. The sheer heft of these investments points clearly to an eventual IPO but then again Cloudera now has plenty of time to invest. And money of course – lots of it.
  6. 6. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect Coupa Devicescape Against: Inertia among stack users and freebie offers from rival vendors For: Market is ready for a new approach to spend management Against: Slow progress to date For: Interesting IP and concept Interview: CEO, Rob Bernshteyn Interview: CEO, David Fraser Coupa is a spend-management company that ticks a lot of boxes in matrices that correlate ‘characteristics’with‘success’today. It’s cloud/ subscription-based, it operates in a dusty category that could use some sprucing up and it’s got decent funding – $89m to date. You could go further: it’s young, having been founded in 2006, and it’s Silicon Valley Californian, with a San Mateo base, that puts it within whistling distance of the three companies it would like to join in cloud computing application royalty – Salesforce.com, Workday and NetSuite. Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn won his spurs at Siebel, SuccessFactors and in consulting, where he studied earlier efforts at spend-management such as Ariba. His big vision at Coupa is to democratise and pluralise spending so more of it falls into the hands of non-specialists rather than power users, but also that that spending process becomes transparent, auditable and can be swiftly authorised. Bernshteyn sees the spend-management market opportunity as being in the $15-20bn range. Biting off a few per cent of that pie would make Coupa a sizeable outfit and give the company the opportunity to join its icons. An October 2014 partnership with NetSuite suggests it is already becoming an accepted companion of the online aristocracy. San Francisco-based Devicescape is maybe an odd company for a list like this. It’s not a startup, having been around since 2000, and its USP is slightly offbeat and unusual as it harnesses WiFi in hospitality spaces to deliver bolstered connectivity to devices where cellular network speeds can’t cut it. You might call the approach scavenging although the company prefers‘crowdsharing’– and despite a slow start in its current guise, things may be looking up. Devicescape only won its first carrier customer in 2010 and then waited until 2013 when 10 came along at once. The formula is attractive: users get faster links, hospitality bosses get to market to prospective guests, carriers don’t get crunched on capacity. It’s been a while coming, but Devicescape might have found its time.
  7. 7. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect DocuSign ForgeRock Against: A security compromise could be traumatic For: Already changing the authorisation of transactions Against: Competition comes from all angles For: Deep enterprise experience in identity management Interview: CEO, Keith Krach Interview: CEO, Mike Ellis Advisor, Scott Mcnealy That DocuSign’s electronic signature platform is rapidly becoming a de facto standard globally is backed up by the fact that the most recently announced funding round – $115m, taking the total to $230m – includes money from Australia and Japan. It may seem absurd that it has taken this long for eSignatures to find their level but let that pass: DocuSign is growing quickly to become the leader in its space and it is already becoming the widely adopted way to sign off transactions. If it continues on its current trajectory it stands to become the modern answer to sealing wax and fingerprint, and the transactions world’s equivalent to Adobe PDF in document exchange. DocuSign also benefits from enthusiastic customers and in Keith Krach it has a founder and CEO who has seen it all before, having been a wunderkind executive at GM and built up a long- term success at spend-management company Ariba with valuable experience in the rollercoaster vagaries of the public markets. Ariba was once valued at well over $30bn, even if SAP paid a relatively modest $4.3bn to acquire it in 2012. An IPO seems a natural conclusion to the company’s progress so far. Identity management in all its forms has such a large field of startups and veterans that it has begun to resemble the famous Grand National horse race where dozens of beasts compete over a range of daunting obstacles. It’s an endurance test requiring judgment, an understanding of prevailing conditions, strong strategy, experienced jockeyship and no small degree of luck. ForgeRock, however, is an easy runner to recognise, with a strong lineage, stable and experienced trainers. OK, stretched metaphor over... The company has its roots in Sun Microsystems’ IDM/IAM technology which is now open-sourced after having been orphaned when Oracle bought Sun. ForgeRock’s approach is to take a grown- up enterprise-hardened approach to the tough security and access questions being asked of large companies everywhere, and to answer them with scalability assured. The approach has garnered $52m in VC and the company even has a secret weapon – the quote- tastic former Sun CEO Scott McNealy who acts as an advisor, door-opener to prospects, and toastmaster.
  8. 8. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect Okta OneLogin Against: Lots of rivals, will lose out to stack approaches when facing some larger prospects For: Well funded, strong awareness, tight partnering strategy Against: Might lack muscle to defend its territory For: Narrow focus, international perspective Interview: CEO, Todd McKinnon Interview: CEO, Thomas Pedersen Cloud login analysis Of all the startups associated with single sign- on and identity management in the cloud era, San Francisco-based Okta probably has created the biggest buzz. It has the requisite funding, a young CEO with a good CV (ex-Salesforce.com) in the case of Todd McKinnon, and plenty of money to foster growth - $155m and counting. However, the company might be more traditional than it looks: it takes a classical enterprise sales approach and it has to cover the on-premise world as well as being the guardsman to cloud applications. It has also taken the trouble to build go-to-market relationships and integrations that go beyond press-release promises. Box, Salesforce, NetSuite, Workday and ServiceNow are among its confreres. Customers include many hyper-growth tech firms but also the likes of Chiquita, National Geographic, Gatwick Airport, Rotary International and Pabst Brewing Company. Like misery, according to the old adage, startups with enormous ambition tend to love company. In the identity management and single sign-on world there’s no shortage of company of course and you might think of OneLogin as Tweedledum to Okta’s Tweedledee: a company with similar goals in IDM/SSO but it has rather different ways of going about things. Founded in 2009, OneLogin is of Danish extraction with Thomas Pedersen, formerly of Zendesk, as CEO - even if, as with Okta, its HQ is in the Californian sun. Like many companies with non-US leadership, OneLogin already feels international and in early 2014 it opened datacentre space in London and Amsterdam. Given what happened with Edward Snowden, NSA, RSA, PRISM and so on, that now seems rather prescient. Focused on execution, scalability and with perhaps more of a cloud orientation than most peers, OneLogin has raised a relatively modest $18m in funds but says it is already cashflow positive. Most importantly it has real, living, breathing customers like recruitment group Reed.co.uk, PBS, Netflix, Stanford University, Condé Nast, Uber and GoPro tooting its horn.
  9. 9. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect PernixData Pure Storage Against: Perception of a band-aid solution For: Simple upgrade path for storage systems Against: The storage giants are fighting back with everything they have For: A pioneer that is riding the wave of demand for Flash enterprise storage Interview: PernixData, CTO Interview: CEO, Scott Dietzen If you were building a storage dream team for the new age of heavily virtualised, automated, dynamic, low-latency, I/O-centric storage networking you might look for CVs from engineers high up at VMware and with experience of modern enterprise server, interconnect and storage approaches. On that front, PernixData scores with its senior management fresh out of the 800-pound gorilla of virtualisation software. Like VMware, PernixData wants it all. Its opportunity is to be pervasive and ubiquitous, layering over and slithering across datacentres regardless of the hardware brands its software sits upon. Its real promise, as so often in modern server rooms, is to abstract storage networking elements in order to create a faster design without having to ask computer designers, or CIOs who buy from them, to start over. Again the VMware comparison is valid: decouple under the hood to provide a smarter upgrade path. The San Jose-based company is already part of the new datacentre furniture, despite being less than three years old. It has raised a modest sum compared to others ($62m) but then its R&D is in place and it has no datacentres or hardware designs to factor in. A sign of PernixData’s popularity is that others are already smearing it by suggesting it is a quick-fix but customers beating a path to its door suggest the company has built a highly desirable mousetrap. Like PernixData, Pure Storage is closely aligned with Flash media. The Silicon Valley company already has a big reputation in building very fast storage networks that build on the solid-state technology. Like others in the sector, its rise has been sudden and it claims to be the fastest growing company of all. Bold words, but there’s no doubt that the company has built a roster of clients and a list of investors desperate to be in on the action. With revenues of over $100m per year it could float quickly but it is using its large VC treasure chest of $475m to take its own sweet time and enjoy life outside the glare of the stock watchers’arc lights. This is probably a smart idea, considering how some earlier IPOs like Violin Memory struggled immediately post-float. With attitude to match its fat wad, Pure is taking aim at the“refrigerator-sized”incumbents or, as it doubtless sees them, relics of the old datacentre. Its not-so-secret sauce lies in having developed ground-up around Flash. That primes it for the algo-trader and his ilk but also many other buyers in need of raw speed – and as Flash prices fall, its ambit should become even broader.
  10. 10. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect SimpliVity Skyhigh Networks Against: Squeezed between startups and giants For: Broad hyperconverged stack Against: Need to convince buyers of robustness and stay up to date For: Unique selling proposition that is timely Interview: CEO, Doron Kempel Interview: CEO, Rajiv Gupta Many companies attempt to throw some fairy dust on their CEOs by telling tales of their derring-do as sporting heroes and so on. SimpliVity CEO Doron Kempel has a remarkable story to tell - he led a mission to assassinate Saddam Hussein - but he probably wishes he didn’t have to tell it. The story of Kempel’s former life gets in the way of the SimpliVity story in the same way that an elephant on the table would cause issues at a wedding buffet. That’s a shame because (1) Kempel’s IT track record in building Diligent Technologies, sold to IBM in 2008, is more germane and (2) the company has some of the most ambitious technology of any of those stalking the new datacentres. SimpliVity takes the integrated infrastructure, or converged system, concept further than perhaps anybody, layering on capabilities from caching to WAN optimisation via de-duplication, data virtualisation and backup. The result has seen plaudits from Kleiner Perkins luminary John Doerr who called SimpliVity’s Omnicube appliance“one of the biggest innovations in enterprise computing since VMware”. Like Victor Kiam with Remington shavers, Doerr liked the company so much that he put his company’s money into it and became one of the investors that gave SimpliVity a total of over $101m in funds and the unusually long gestation period Kempel says was needed for such a complex project. Earlier this year, reports suggested HP was keen to buy SimpliVity for a price our sources say was in the $700m range. If SimpliVity suceeds, the company won’t want for suitors or other options. It’s an old chestnut (but true) that technology moves so fast these days that it’s hard even for the best CIOs to see more than a blur of activity, never mind take into account all of the risk/reward factors that come with new code and kit. Not wanting to miss a trick or expose themselves to risk, they therefore equip themselves with teams of helpers: CTOs, CISOs, architects, consultants and analysts. But in an age of skunkworks, freemium services, Shadow IT, BYOD, cloud downloads and more, even that throw-bodies-at-the-problem approach might not be enough. Enter, from Cupertino in California, near Apple, Skyhigh Networks, with its systematic counsel for cloud applications, providing a risk level register that tells IT bosses what they’ve got and what is their exposure. It’s an interesting model even if only time will tell how valuable enterprises find Skyhigh’s advice. Since we spoke to CEO Rajiv Gupta in May 2014 the company has picked up an additional $40m in funding, taking its pot to over $66m. Gupta has exited startups before for up to $100m and says he has higher hopes for this project – like many CEOs he wants to build a Salesforce.com-like company with legs to last the long term. It’s an intriguing concept but keeping up to date with the changing landscape will be a challenge and you might argue that this is a job for a pan- industry consortium or some other third-party. However, Skyhigh is winning word-of-mouth attention and respect.
  11. 11. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect Sophos Splice Machine Against: Enterprise market mostly goes to biggest security firms For: Excellent reputation; differentiated demographic Against: Another dense market where wheat has yet to be separated from chaff For: In a hot space with a sharp position promising fast ROI Interview: CEO, Kris Hagerman Interview: CEO, Monte Zweben In a business famous (notorious?) for its salesmanship and heavy-duty marketing, Sophos is exceptional for its soft-handed approach to the hot potato of infosecurity. It’s also focused on small and medium-sized businesses while all around it in enterprise security – and beyond – look to the buyers with the deepest pockets. And finally, its UK headquartered, even if its CEO resides in Silicon Valley. Sophos has a strong marque among security professionals and lots of distinctiveness compared to the old guard of Symantec, McAfee et al. Being privately held has given it room to manoeuvre and go its own way – migrating security management capabilities largely to the cloud, for example. Sophos seems a classic case of a private company (it’s protected by Apex Partners) that moves without duress but when I met CEO, Kris Hagerman, in September 2014 he seemed keen on an eventual IPO, albeit without any rushing or undue hullabaloo – very Sophos. New funding could give Sophos the chance to raise its game a league and there is plenty of headroom for it to explore geographic growth. Splice Machine’s interesting name comes from the way it splices together information threshed by its analytics engine. CEO Monte Zweben, worked on the Space Shuttle programme, founded and led Blue Martini, once a hotter than hot eCommerce high-flier, and sees scope for his latest venture to disrupt database incumbents. His timing is good as the likes of Oracle, IBM and Microsoft are rocked by the forces of NoSQL, Cassandra/open source, Big Data and the rise of lowball-priced commodity servers and storage. Founded in 2012, San Francisco-based Splice Machine has picked up $22m in funding. Cracking a big hole in the enormous RDBMS market is almost rocket science but taking a slice of the emerging new database sector is a mission that could be accomplished.
  12. 12. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect Teradici Vormetric Against: Likely to be challenged by those same OEMs For: Timely and well-supported by major OEMs Against: Modest funding, differentiation For: Security space has never been more lucrative nor in-demand Interview: CEO and Founder, Dan Cordingley Interview: CEO, Alan Kessler Teradici is no spring chicken. A 10-year-old Canadian company based in Burnaby, British Columbia, it has taken a while to become fully- fledged but this could be a good time for the thin-client, server-based computing mantra that it espouses. Founder and CEO Dan Cordingley has a plan you could write on a matchbox. Take everything that was wrong in the network computer model and fix it. That means doing all the hard work at the server end, monitoring network performance in real time, and identifying image types for faster prioritisation and processing. With a background at Level One and Intel after the latter acquired the former, Cordingley’s CV is good for this task and its execution in both software and silicon. In recent years, Teradici has built up a formidable array of OEMs including VMware, Dell, HP, IBM and Fujitsu, selling software, thin-client computers and even screens. The rise of tablets and smartphones as clients won’t hurt either. After doing the hard lifting in those early years, Teradici also has some strong IP and it won’t be easy for even the big companies to catch up on the R&D front. If‘thin is in’, Teradici has plenty of headroom for growth. Cordingley would like an eventual IPO but is realistic enough to know that his company could end up prey and his level- headed approach is admirable. The Edward Snowden/NSA/PRISM/RSA brouhaha has led to many outcomes, both good and bad but for the information security sector it was binary manna from heaven. Vormetric’s angle is a sound one even if it is really a re-tread of what used to be a self-evident truth: it is the enemy within who is often the biggest threat to your secrets. Vormetric’s security ethos is predicated on the idea that you protect what’s most important and prioritise effectively. If it was safeguarding a house it might concede that a burglar steal the milk bottles and the newspaper in the letterbox, even the TV set in extremis, but the family jewels will remain safe and sound. Vormetric does this by restricting access: Snowden had a trusted status as a contractor and therefore access – and that might well have been mistake number-one. At 13 years old and modestly funded to the tune of $20m, this Silicon Valley company is more likely to be sucked into one of the M&A-voracious enterprise security giants than to float but, either way, it is part of the zeitgeist.
  13. 13. 20 Pre-IPO Tech Companies 2015 IDG Connect There’s no shortage of self-proclaimed experts, pundits, observers, analysts and others willing to prognosticate on technology IPOs. It’s a sphere of activity that has generated billions of dollars for a few geniuses, a great number of risk takers and a host of their supporters. But it’s also a world that lures many, many more hangers-on who are desperate for a piece of the action, whether that’s a fiscal return or just the chance to vicariously shine. For the last couple of years the going has been good for technology IPOs as a series of technological inflexion points have created opportunities for young companies. And any survey of the landscape would have to include cloud computing, mobile computing and communications, collaboration, social networks, security, Big Data and bring-your-own-device schemes. However, at the same time, there are fears that the bubble, having expanded and expanded, will shortly pop, such are the valuations that have been placed on companies before and after their market debuts. In a way, we could just dismiss all this as froth but these valuations affect newer companies’ability to compete with the largest players and to provide ICT buyers with alternatives to the status quo. A healthy IPO market goes hand-in-hand with the acceptable face of capitalism. One final note, although Alibaba dwarfed other technology IPOs in 2014 this list remains stubbornly US-centric. This is in part my own fault for not having the knowledge of more companies from across the world and the time to summon and summarise more deserving Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Australian countries. However, it was notable that even Alibaba itself ultimately elected to float on the US market. As globalisation continues it is to be hoped that the technology IPO market also becomes a truly worldwide phenomenon. That would be yet another twist in the remarkable saga of technology companies and their journeys toward making the world a smarter place. Conclusion About IDG Connect IDG Connect is the demand generation division of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s largest technology media company. Established in 2005, it utilises access to 38 million business decision makers’ details to unite technology marketers with relevant targets from any country in the world. Committed to engaging a disparate global IT audience with truly localised messaging, IDG Connect also publishes market specific thought leadership papers on behalf of its clients, and produces research for B2B marketers worldwide. www.idgconnect.com

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