There's no scientific formula behind this list: It's just a bunch of new-ish, mainly enterprise-focused computing and networking companies that have launched, received fresh funding of late or otherwise popped onto my radar screen.
I'll give you a brief description of the companies, then links to their respective websites or to stories about them so that you can explore further. Don't read anything into the order in which these companies are presented either: It's basically the order in which I came across them or their latest news. (IDG News Service and Network World staff reporting is included in this article.)
*Tactus: Appearing and disappearing tactile buttons for your otherwise flatscreen tablet or smartphone. Tactus, which got $6 million in Series A funding in December of 2011, announced a mysterious Series B round in January 2014: Weirdly, no financial details disclosed. One founder led JDSU's Optical Communications Division, and the other led development efforts for microfluidic-based programmable transdermal drug delivery systems and advanced optical sensors at Los Gatos Research.
*Confide: Quickly became known as Snapchat for professionals not that Facebook has offered $3 billion for it — because like the popular photo-sharing app Confide is designed for highly secure messaging. Confide messages, on sensitive topics like job inquiries or work conspiracies, disappear upon being read.
*ClearSky Data: This Boston-based startup is enjoying calling itself a stealthy venture on its Twitter account. The Boston Globe has reported that ClearSky's founders previously helped get tech startups CloudSwitch and EqualLogic off the ground. Highland Capital, which along with General Catalyst invested a combined $12 million in ClearSky, describes the newcomer as "working on solving an enterprise infrastructure problem for medium and large enterprises."
*Aorato:This Israeli company, which has received $10 million in funding from Accel Partners and others, calls its offering a firewall designed to protect Microsoft Active Directory shops. A pair of brothers are among the company's founders.
*Nextbit: Rock Star alert! Oh, technical rock stars, from Google, Amazon, Dropbox and Apple, according to the company's skimpy website. The San Francisco company is focused on mobile something or other possibly some sort of mobile OS reinvention — and has received $18 million in funding from Accel and Google.
*Confer:This Waltham, Mass., startup with perhaps the most boring name on this list hopes to make a name for itself nonetheless with software and services aimed at sniffing out malware and attackers targeting enterprise servers, laptops and mobile devices through its application behavior-analysis approach and its cloud-managed threat-intelligence platform.
*Bluebox: The latest in a long line of "Blue" IT companies (Blue Coat, BlueCat, Blue Jeans, Blue Prism, etc.), this startup has received more than $27 million in venture funding to back its mobile security technology. Its "data-wrapping" technology for Apple iOS and Android is designed to give IT control over enterprise apps but leave personal apps...personal.
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