If you asked your average techies what they think of enterprise tech, you're likely to get a dismissive yawn.
The same can't be said for investors.
Venture capitalists and Wall Street alike have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars over the last few years into companies making the next generation of hardware and software powering our cloud-based future.
From storage makers that will let you run any application from any device to open-source companies powering the big data revolution, these are the companies that have everyone--Silicon Valley and Wall Street alike--excited for their initial public offerings.
Box: A Valley star on a roll.
File-sharing and collaboration startup Box was on a roll in 2013, and the company is expected to go public in 2014, having confidentially filed for an offering with the SEC in January.
In December, Box raised another huge round of funding, $100 million, with a valuation of $2 billion. It has raised more than $400 million so far from a who's-who roster of investors.
In addition to funding, Box made four acquisitions in 2013 and now claims over 20 million users.
MongoDB: Open-source databases bring in millions.
Since changing to an open-source business model in 2009, the site has become a go-to technology for companies that need powerful, scalable technologies, like Foursquare, Craigslist and The New York Times.
The company has raised approximately $223 million in funding since its inception, $150 million of which it brought in during a massive funding round late last year that brought its valuation to roughly $1.2 billion.
Dropbox: A storage company going mainstream.
When Apple failed to acquire the company years ago, Steve Jobs threatened to kill the company outright. They're now valued at a whopping $10 billion.
Thanks to Google selling Motorola to Lenovo, the company was even able to snag former Googler Dennis Woodside as its first COO back in February.
Zendesk: Making a killing helping companies help their customers.
Founded in 2007, Zendesk is a cloud-based customer support platform.
The company has more than 40,000 customers including Box, Groupon, OpenTable, Adobe and many more.
Like Dropbox, the company was able to pick up a major hire thanks to Google and Motorola going separate ways. In January, the company hired Motorola Mobility Vice President of Engineering Gilles Drieu to serve in the same role at Zendesk.
Tintri: Making it easier to run powerful software on anything.
Tintri makes what it calls "smart hybrid-flash storage." That means it combines flash storage--the same kind of storage used in a smartphone or thumbdrive--with the classic computer hard drives.
The company specializes in storage for virtual desktops--services that let you run a powerful Windows (or Linux) operating environment from a cheap device like a Chromebook.
Tintri recently raised $75 million at a $600 million valuation, which the CEO hopes will be enough to spring the company into an IPO in 2015.
Atlassian: Helping IT pros work together.
Atlassian offers tools that help enterprise developers track and manage software projects. Comparatively speaking, the company hasn't raised a lot of venture funds--$60 million in 2010 from one VC, Accel Partners.
That's because it's profitable. And because it has a unique business model where it doesn't use any sales people. It makes the sales process so easy that customers simply sign up via its website.
Many insiders think it will go public in 2014.
GitHub: The place for open-source development projects.
GitHub offers software and a cloud service for hosting and collaborating on open-source software projects.
GitHub's founders famously bootstrapped the company into a profitable business and then shocked the tech world by accepting a $100 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz in 2012--a record for the biggest one-VC software investment at the time.
GitHub has continued to go gangbusters, hosting about 10 million software projects (a number that doubled in 2013 alone) and working in one of the coolest offices in Bay Area where employees enjoy great perks.
Cloudera: Powering the big data revolution.
Founded by engineers from Google, Yahoo, and Facebook Cloudera is one of the most watched big data startups in the Valley.
It's the company that develops and distributes Hadoop, the open-source software that powers the data processing engines of the world’s largest and most popular websites.
Last June, the company tapped Tom Reilly to serve as CEO. Reilly has experience taking companies public -; he previously served as chief executive at ArcSight, an Internet security company, when it went public and then went on to be acquired by HP for $1.5 billion, a 24% premium.
Pure Storage: Designing storage based on today's technology.
Pure Storage makes storage for companies that need to move lots of data very quickly, focusing solely on flash-based storage.
The company has raised an exceptionally large amount of money for a storage startup, including a "strategic investment" last May from In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital firm, and a huge $150 million funding round led by T. Rowe Price last August.
AppDynamics: Helping companies make their apps better.
AppDynamics makes an app-monitoring tool that lets companies see how people are using their apps once they download them.
While that doesn't sound like the most exciting technology, it's quickly becoming a must-have tool for every enterprise. The company doubled its growth in the first half of 2013, it says, and is nearing $100 million in revenue, reports Businessweek. It's testing the waters for an IPO soon.
AppDynamics has raised almost $87 million so far, including $50 million in 2013.
HubSpot: A great place to work.
HubSpot makes marketing software that helps companies use websites to attract customers and make sales.
It's also known for a corporate culture that's so warm, friendly, and productive, an MIT professor has studied it.
HubSpot employees are showered with perks, and the company treats workers as if they were co-founders, CTO Darmesh Shah told Business Insider.
HubSpot has raised $131 million from investors.
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