Winning an innovation award is no guarantee of subsequent business success for early-stage, technology startups, and especially in the broad, yet still crowded ‘cloud’ category. But, analysis shows, no fewer than seven former winners or runners-up in the Cloud category of the Tech Trailblazer Awards have already been acquired since the awards began in 2012.
By another measure of success – investment – Tech Trailblazer cloud category winners and runners-up are also succeeding, having raised over US$882m between them. Two runners-up in the most recent awards  have raised a further US$57m since entering.
Tech Trailblazer ‘Cloud’ category award winners and runners-up that have already proceeded to exit through acquisition are:
- SaaSID, winner in 2012, was acquired by Intermedia in September 2013 for an undisclosed sum
- Perspecsys, a runner-up in 2014, was acquired by Bluecoat in July 2015 for an undisclosed sum
- CloudLock, a runner-up in 2012, was acquired by Cisco in June 2016 for US$293m
- SimpliVity, winner in 2014, was acquired by HP Enterprise in January 2017 for US$650m
- Racemi, a runner-up in 2013, was acquired by DXC Technology in November 2017 for an undisclosed sum
- goBalto, also a runner-up in 2015, was acquired by Oracle in October 2018, for an undisclosed sum
In addition, Nutanix, Cloud Trailblazer winner in 2013, IPO’d in August 2016 raising US$230m with a valuation of US$2.3 billion. The IPO came just weeks are it acquired PernixData, the Storage Trailblazer winner in the same year as Nutanix raised its Trailblazers crown.
A total of 32 investors have invested in 115 funding rounds in Tech Trailblazer Cloud Award winners and runners-up. Measured by number of companies and then by number of rounds, the five most-active investors are:
- Kleiner Perkins: 10 funding rounds in three cloud companies (Apcera, Ripcord, SimpliVity)
- .406 Ventures: six rounds in two companies (Fauna, SimpliVity)
- Telstra Ventures: five rounds in two companies (Ripcord, NS1)
- Foundation Capital: four rounds in two companies (Cloudknox, Zerostack)
- GV: also four rounds in two companies (Fauna, Ripcord)
Rose Ross, founder of the Tech Trailblazers Awards said: “Judging startup companies for their innovations is a difficult, almost invidious task; since ‘Betamax versus VHS’ there have been plenty of examples of the better technology subsequently losing out to rivals. So it’s important to know that the combination of our international panel of expert judges with the public vote really does a great job of spotting business winners as well as award winners. We continue to focus on making sure we identify “long term” winners in all our categories, and that we never have our heads turned simply by the shiniest innovation of the year.”
The Tech Trailblazers Awards was the first independent awards program dedicated to enterprise information technology startups. Every year since 2012, it has identified the most innovative entrants and concepts in enterprise technology: startups are invited to nominate themselves, with shortlists for each category chosen by the Tech Trailblazers Awards’ panel of leading IT industry experts. Winners are identified by a combination of judging panel opinions and public vote.
For the first four years of the Tech Trailblazers Awards, the Cloud category attracted more entries than any other category. For the last three years, it has attracted the second-most number entries for the third year running. The Security category attracted most entries, also for the third consecutive year.
The Tech Trailblazers Awards is supported by sponsors and industry partners including AfriLabs, Amoo Venture Capital Advisory, beSUCCESS, bnetTV, BigDataStartups, China AXLR8R, the Cloud Security Alliance, Computing, ExecEvent, GFT, GoMoNews, The Green Grid, GSMA, The Icehouse, Innovation Warehouse, Internet of Things Events, IP EXPO Europe, Launchpad Europe, L’Informaticien, Lissted, MIT/Stanford Venture Lab, The Next Silicon Valley, Outsource, Prezi, The Register, Silicon Cape Initiative, Skolkovo, StarTau, Startup America, Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), Tech in Asia, TechNode, TiE Silicon Valley, Wazoku, Ventureburn and VMware.