The hottest enterprise tech startups to watch in 2020

Our pick of the hottest enterprise technology startups in the world right now

Enterprise technology is big business, and the startup sector is bustling with companies capitalising on the growth of demand for tools in the world of big data, devops, cloud, mobility, the internet of things and cybersecurity.

Enterprise software spending is predicted to rise by 10.9% this year to $507 billion, according to Gartner.

“Almost all of the market segments with enterprise software are being driven by the adoption of software as a service (SaaS),” John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner said. “We even expect spending on forms of software that are not cloud to continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate. SaaS is gaining more of the new spending, although licensed-based software will still be purchased and its use expanded through 2023."

In this list we have pulled together some of the hottest startups who are building software and services aimed directly at large enterprise customers, not consumers. Whether you are looking to take the leap and work for a hot startup, or searching for a solution not provided by the mega vendors, there are plenty of great companies here.

Here are just some of the fastest growing enterprise startups in the world, who their customers are, funding so far and how close they might be to a 2020 initial public offering (IPO).

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Front

Front was founded by French nationals Mathilde Collin – who is now CEO – and Laurent Perrin – who is CTO – after coming through the famed Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator. Front evokes the sort of evangelism often reserved for consumer applications instead of enterprise software, drawing the inevitable comparisons to Slack.

The original Front app is for any team that shares an email inbox. It is particularly handy for customer support, sales and even PR teams. It allows emails to be assigned to team members and for teams to collaborate in a shared space, increasing response speeds.

Now the company is looking to transform the email experience for all office workers after receiving a serious cash injection earlier this year (see below).

Funding: Front raised a $59 million Series C funding round in early 2020 led by fellow software founders like Atlassian cofounder Mike Cannon-Brookes and president Jay Simons, Okta cofounder Frederic Kerrest, Qualtrics cofounders Ryan Smith and Jared Smith, and Zoom founder Eric Yuan, alongside existing venture capital investors Sequoia, Initialized Capital and Anthos Capital.

Cohesity

Cohesity

There are a lot of factors that make Cohesity a 'hot' enterprise startup: unique technology, a founder on his second act after cofounding the now public software company Nutanix and $250 million in funding from SoftBank's Vision Fund.

The startup itself has designed a cheaper way for enterprises to store what it calls 'secondary data' – so backups, files, test/dev and analytics data, all monitored using a single cloud environment with simple and rapid recovery options.

Funding: Cohesity has raised $410 million to date, making it one of the best-funded companies on this list.

Snyk

Snyk

Combining some favourite buzzwords for investors – security and open source – Snyk has skyrocketed to a $1 billion valuation since it was founded in London in 2015.

Created by software engineers Guy Podjarny, Danny Grander and Assaf Hefetz, Snyk effectively helps developers automatically spot vulnerabilities in the open source code they are running.

Funding: Snyk raised $150 million investment in January 2020, led by Stripes and including investment from Salesforce Ventures and Accel, taking total investment to $250 million.

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Scott Carey

Snowflake

San Mateo-based Snowflake has scaled quickly since it came out of stealth in 2014 claiming to have built the first relational data warehouse specifically for the cloud.

It aims to help enterprise customers replace legacy and 'first generation cloud' data warehouse solutions to get them nearer to real-time analytics.

Read next: Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman talks vision, AWS tension and IPO plans

Funding: Snowflake raised $479 million in funding in February 2020, led by Dragoneer Investment Group and joined by Salesforce Ventures, valuing the company at an eye-popping $12.7 billion. The Salesforce investment was paired with a partnership announcement also, which Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman said will cover product, marketing and go-to-market strategy.

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TripActions

TripActions

Founded in 2015, TripActions wants to be the Expedia or Kayak of corporate travel, giving enterprises a consumer-grade platform for employees to search and book travel while allowing managers to set granular thresholds for things like travel class or hotel type. It also offers employees Amazon gift card compensation when they save the company money on travel by booking a cheaper hotel.

Funding: The Silicon Valley-based startup has raised $482 million to date, including a $250 million round in June 2019 led by Andreessen Horowitz.

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Notion

Founded by Ivan Zhao and Simon Last, Notion has built a wildly popular workspace app that brings together documents, wikis, databases, to-do lists, and other productivity tools in one place. It is a great word of mouth success story, having spread through fellow startups quickly, and is priced on a SaaS model.

Funding: The San Francisco-based startup has raised just $18.7 million so far having rejected venture capital funding for a number of years.

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Tidelift

Boston-based Tidelift is the brain child of four ex-Red Hat employees who are trying to solve a tricky industry problem of monetising open source software projects. At its core it is a subscription service, where you get access to fully managed versions of open source software like JavaScript, Python, Java, PHP and Ruby.

This allows your organisation to consume these services without worrying about security patching and maintenance, while also contributing to package selection and roadmap input. Subscriptions start at $1,500 per month for up to 25 developers.

Funding: It has raised $40 million in funding so far from the likes of General Catalyst, Foundry Group, and former Red Hat chairman and CEO Matthew Szulik.

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Funnel

Swedish software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup Funnel specialises in combining and tidying marketing and advertising data for clients, regardless of where it resides, to get better insights into their customers.

It prices its software on a tiered basis depending on your monthly ad spend, starting at £399 a month. Reference customers include Skyscanner, Samsung and Ubisoft.

“Visualisation is done well in existing business intelligence tools once the data is properly prepared. Automating the collection and preparation of the data has proven to be a very hard thing to do right and we wanted to make sure we were the best at this which we now confidently can say we are as we hear that again and again from customers," Funnel cofounder and CEO Fredrik Skantze told TechCrunch.

Funding: Funnel secured a $47 million Series B funding round in January 2020, led by Eight Roads Ventures and F-Prime Capital, with participation from existing investors Balderton Capital, Oxx, Zobito, Industrifonden and Kreos Capital. It is planning to expand into the US.

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Codility

Codility

Codility is an enterprise startup focusing on helping with recruitment of technical candidates by assessing their skills using online coding tests. It promises to bring together applicant tracking and to streamline hiring by issuing technical screenings and a single platform for managing interviews.

Funding: Founded in 2005 by Polish software engineer Greg Jakacki, the London-based startup has raised $22 million to date from Kennet Partners and Oxx. Reference customers include PayPal, Microsoft and Barclays.

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Gremlin

Gremlin was founded by ex-Netflix and Amazon engineers in 2016 to help enterprise customers adopt chaos engineering techniques, where engineers purposefully create failures into their systems to make them more resilient in the future.

Funding: The San Jose-based startup has raised $26.75 million to date from the likes of Index Ventures and Redpoint.

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Payfit

PayFit builds payroll and HR software for small- to medium-sized businesses, which looks to automate tricky employee processes like payslip issuing, leave booking and expenses.

Founded in France in 2016, it now operates in Spain, Germany and the UK and counts the likes of fellow startups Revolut, Dataiku and Yulife as customers.

Funding: It raised more than $100 million to date, including a $79 million funding round (€70 million) from Eurazeo and Bpifrance in June 2019.

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LumApps

French startup LumApps builds a cloud-based enterprise intranet which allows staff to connect and engage with fellow employees. It was founded in 2012 by Elie Melois, Lionel Grivel, Olivier Chanoux and Sebastien Ricard.

Funding: The company raised a $70 million Series C funding round in January 2020, with Goldman Sachs' Growth fund leading the round. Reference customers include Airbus, Intuit, Electronic Arts, and Japan Airlines.

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Asana

Founded by Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and Facebook engineer Justin Rosenstein in 2011, Asana builds collaboration software that is hugely popular with the developer set.

The SaaS product is built to help teams collaborate on projects and operates in a highly competitive space alongside the likes of Trello, Slack and Salesforce's Quip, to name just a few.

Funding: It should come as little surprise that early investors included Peter Thiel and Sean Parker. Asana then hit unicorn status in November 2018 following a $50 million funding round led by Al Gore's Generation Investment Management.

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Samsara

San Francisco-based Samsara offers a wide range of hardware and cloud software solutions for fleet management and asset tracking.

The IoT specialist was founded in 2015 by Sanjit Biswas and John Bicket, who had previously worked together at cloud networking vendor Meraki, which was acquired by Cisco Systems for $1.2 billion in 2012.

Funding: Samsara has raised $230 million to date from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst, including a bumper $100 million round in December 2018.

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Tessian

Formerly known as CheckRecipient, Tessian is a UK startup helping organisations avoid the risk involved with missent emails.

The platform analyses millions of data points across your organisation's email network to detect patterns of behaviour and surface misaddressed emails. If the machine learning algorithm spots an unusual email address or detects potentially sensitive information in the content it will prompt the sender to double check before sending.

Organisations including Schroders, Man Group, Dentons and more than 70 British law firms are using the platform to protect their email networks.

Funding: Tessian raised $42 million (£31.5 million) in a Series B funding round led by Sequoia in February 2019, with involvement from previous investors Balderton Capital and Accel. The money is being earmarked for global expansion, particularly into the US. The company has now raised a total of £44 million to date.

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Celonis

German startup Celonis gained unicorn status in 2018 and has had some big customer wins to go with it, including Airbus, Vodafone and GM.

The company provides a platform which can sift through your organisation's data to spot opportunities for automation, music to the ears of any C-level executive going through a so-called digital transformation.

Funding: Celonis raised a $290 million Series C funding round in November 2019, led by Arena Holdings.

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GitLab

GitLab is an open source Git-repository manager built by Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Valery Sizov. Not to be confused with developer code repository GitHub, this Bay Area startup has had a massive couple of years as enterprises and investors have taken a keen interest in devops.

The company has evolved from being just a git repository to helping developers track, manage and collaborate on code, with built in CI/CD functionality.

Funding: GitLab closed $268 million funding round in September 2019 led by existing investors Goldman Sachs and Iconiq Capital, valuing the company at $2.75 billion.

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Confluent

Founded by the creators of open source Apache Kafka, Confluent is a commercial version of the software which helps developers manage system and application messaging at high volume and add real-time streaming data into their apps.

Kafka has proved popular with companies like LinkedIn, which uses the technology for activity stream data and operational metrics, Netflix for real-time monitoring and its event-processing pipeline and at Spotify as part of its log delivery system.

The idea of Confluent is to make it easier for companies that don't have that sort of developer power to harness Kafka.

Funding: The company announced that it has raised $125 million in January 2019, led by Sequoia Capital, bringing total funding to $206 million.

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Zylo

Indiana-based startup Zylo focuses on cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) spend management software, allowing enterprise IT teams to monitor their spending across cloud applications. Yes, it sells SaaS to monitor your SaaS usage.

Through Zylo not only can IT teams see their total cloud spend but can also monitor the utilisation of SaaS applications, monitor licensing and adjust budgets accordingly.

Zylo connects with accounts payable and expense systems to extract cloud- and SaaS-related expenses into a dashboard.

The company was founded by Eric Christopher, a former business development manager at ExactTarget, the Indiana-based email marketing company purchased by Salesforce and then rebranded as Marketing Cloud in 2014.

Funding: Zylo raised a Series A funding round in January 2018 of $9.3 million (£6.6 million), led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Salesforce Ventures and the Slack Fund.

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MariaDB

Another open source database specialist is MariaDB, which Gartner places as the best-placed open source challenger to Oracle and Microsoft in its Magic Quadrant for operational database management systems.

Speaking about the advantages of using MariaDB over the 'big three' database providers, CEO Michael Howard told Computerworld UK: "We can't just rely on a single set of product managers or engineers in a single company that doesn't have perspective […] so the special part about MariaDB and the open source mandate is we are inclusive of our own ideas and communities."

Funding: MariaDB has raised more than $98 million in funding so far, including sizeable investments from the European Investment Bank and Alibaba in 2017 alone.

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CircleCI

San Francisco-based CircleCI builds continuous development software for enterprise-scale devops teams.

CircleCI acts as both an orchestration layer and a workflow tool for automating code changes. The company claims to stand out from popular open source options like Jenkins in its ability to work at large scale and across distributed teams. It counts Spotify, Facebook, Lyft, Adobe and Docker as customers.

Pricing starts at $30 per month if you want to run more than one job at once. It can be run as-a-service, on-premise or in a private cloud environment.

Funding: CircleCI raised a $56 million series D funding round in July 2019, led by Owl Rock Capital Partners.

Read next: Best alternatives to Jenkins for continuous integration and development

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Paddle

Aimed more at the SME market, Paddle provides what is essentially an ecommerce platform for software companies, simplifying the way they sell their products, from free trials to pricing and complete with customer analytics.

The UK startup was founded by twenty-something Christian Owens and is growing at breakneck speed. It counts more than 650 small software companies as clients, who give up a five percent cut for Paddle's broad range of services.

Read next: Meet Paddle, the UK's fastest growing software company

Funding: Fresh from a $12 million (£9 million) Series B funding round in December 2017, Paddle is expanding its headcount and is looking to open a US office.

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Illumio

With enterprises using increasingly cloud-based and sprawling networks there is space for startups to develop security software to match. Illumio specialises in micro-segmentation and granular security policy to map to these new circumstances.

Funding: Illumio closed a $65 million Series E funding round led by clients in February 2019, bringing total funding to over $332.5 million to date.

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Puppet

Server-automation software maker Puppet offers enterprise customers the means to deliver, monitor and secure all of their software and infrastructure on a single platform. The startup counts CERN, Staples and HP as customers.

Funding: Puppet raised a $42 million funding round led by Cisco Investments in June 2018, accompanied by Kleiner Perkins, True Ventures, and VMware in June 2018. It has raised nearly $150 million to date.

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Chef

Another devops startup, Chef is a Seattle-based IT automation firm which helps enterprise customers automate the way they build, manage and monitor their computing infrastructure.

Funding: Chef last raised a $40 million Series E funding round back in September 2015 and rumours of an IPO continue to swirl around the company.

Dataiku
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Dataiku

French startup Dataiku has built a collaborative data science platform called Data Science Studio, which allows companies to adopt complex data science techniques like machine learning for their data in a managed, secure environment. Customer include AXA, L'Oreal and Trainline.

Dataiku won the best enterprise startup at The Techies awards 2017.

Funding: The startup raised a massive $101 million Series D investment round in December 2018, led by ICONIQ Capital.

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Tanium

The cybersecurity specialist Tanium was founded in 2007 by father and son duo David and Orion Hindawi after they sold their first business, BigFix, to IBM in 2010. It was at BigFix the pair developed a way to map and manage complex networks, so with Tanium they focused this knowledge on securing large enterprise networks of connected devices.

Instead of firewalls and pre-packaged security software, Tanium takes a network-first approach, mapping an organisation's network endpoints - any internet-enabled piece of hardware on a company network - and then monitoring for breaches at device level.

Read next: How the US cyber security unicorn Tanium plans to crack the UK market

Funding: Tanium shelved any IPO plans after a $200 million fundraising in October 2018, totalling more than $780 million in venture funding to date, including investments from VC heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz, with Ben Horowitz sitting on the Tanium board.

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Graphcore

UK startup Graphcore develops processors specifically designed for AI solutions, which it calls intelligent processing units (IPUs).

CEO and cofounder Nigel Toon said during a Dell event in New York in September 2017 that: "Interest from investors has been to create the next generation of hardware to support machine-intelligent systems."

Dell is an early investor in the company.

"As we get more involved in building systems with higher capability, the networks become more complex," Toon said. "As we need to understand the context of conversations, which implies feedback and memory in the system, to create more intelligent and robust systems.

"This complexity means more complex data structures which don't map well to today's hardware, using clusters of CPUs and GPUs to match that need for compute, so we need new hardware to match this workload."

Funding: Graphcore raised a massive Series D funding round in December 2018 of $200 million, led by BMW i Ventures and Microsoft.

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CloudCheckr

CloudCheckr helps IT departments get a window into their public cloud computing environment, to better manage usage across the enterprise. This helps optimise public cloud spend, eliminate waste, and improve security and compliance.

Somewhat similar to Apptio, which helps CIOs at large enterprises manage their IT spend across an increasing variety of cloud providers and services, CloudCheckr specialises in providing transparency for enterprises running a multi-cloud approach with vendors like AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Read next: AWS vs Azure vs Google: What's the best cloud platform for the enterprise?

Funding: CloudCheckr raised a $50 million Series A funding round in March 2017, led by Level Equity.

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Neo4j

California-based startup Neo4j is best known for its commercialised graph database.

Read next: What is a graph database - and should you care?

The company already counts an impressive host of customers from across industry verticals. Neo's database technology helped the ICIJ organise and present the information leaked in the Panama Papers scandal and has helped Nasa to change the way it stores and shares research material across the organisation.

Funding: Neo4j raised a massive $80 million round led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and One Peak Partners in November 2018, essentially doubling its funding to date.

ProoV
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ProoV

ProoV was created by Israeli entrepreneurs Toby Olshanetsky and Alexey Sapozhnikov after Olshanetsky struggled to convince CIOs to run a proof of concept (PoC) for his previous company, the IT monitoring software maker Neteye.

Olshanetsky calls ProoV a platform for 'Pilot-as-a-Service', where an enterprise can quickly create a PoC environment. It can also generate "deep mirroring" of enterprise data to get the most accurate results possible, and because the PoC runs on ProoV's cloud platform there is no risk of security or regulatory issues.

The enterprise customer can then monitor the PoC and run simulations on the fly so that customers can get a better feel for how the solution will look in a production environment. There is also a marketplace for startups and enterprises to find relevant case studies and PoC opportunities.

ProoV charges depending on the number of PoCs and data volumes involved.

ProoV counts Comcast, AIG and Schneider Electric as customers on its website.

Funding: It has raised $21 million (£16 million) to date with investors including from Mangrove Capital Partners and Helios Capital.

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Natterbox

Croydon-based Natterbox has built a cloud-based private branch exchange (PBX) phone system which can check for 'spam' in the form of cold calls, and smartly categorise and redirect calls the second they come in. This all then links back to a customer's Salesforce CRM system to ease tracking of calls.

Read next: Meet Natterbox: The British tech company linking phone systems with your CRM

Funding: The startup was bootsrapped for years but took a £5 million Series A funding round in April 2018 led by Octopus Investments.

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