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45 enterprise startups that will soar in 2021, according to venture capitalists

enterprise startups vcs
  • We asked a group of investors at successful venture capital firms to name the startups set for big success next year from inside and outside their portfolios.
  • VC named so many enterprise startups — those that make tech for businesses — that we couldn't include them all our main list. (Read 81 startups that will boom in 2021.)
  • Some of these startups are experiencing rapid growth because of the pandemic, others in spite of it.
  • The result is this exciting list of enterprise startups that are sure to boom in 2021.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

2020 has reshaped the way companies across the globe do business - and those changes are will stretch into 2021 and beyond.

Amid the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a crop of startups has risen in prominence to help businesses adapt to the changing landscape. At the same time, other startups are succeeding irregardless of the pandemic because they provide new innovations that solve age-old problems faced by companies.

Business Insider asked a select group of venture capitalists about the startups they believe are likely to experience big growth in the coming year. They were asked to name startups inside and outside of their portfolios, meaning startups that their firms had invested in as well as ones with which they have no financial relationship.

We published one big list of 81 startups that will boom in 2021 but VCs nominated so many enterprise startups that we couldn't include them all in that larger list.

So we created the following list, organized alphabetically, of the promising venture-backed companies serving the $4 trillion a year business-to-business tech market, as named by VCs. We included the estimates of their total funding according to deal database Pitchbook.

Here are the 45 enterprise startups that VCs say are set to make it big in 2021.

Abacus.ai: AI-powered data science for companies
Satish Dharmaraj
Satish Dharmaraj, Redpoint Ventures

Startup: Abacus.ai

VC: Satish Dharmaraj, Redpoint

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.  

Total funding raised: $40.25 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: helps companies make accurate predictions using AI in any system that collects data.

Why it will boom in 2021: Abacus brings "state-of-the-art AI techniques to companies of all sizes," said Dharamaraj. "Their technology is especially helpful where there is noisy, incomplete, or little training data, and with companies pulling in more data sources than ever before, they are destined to have a big year next year," he added.

Ally.io: Productivity software for offices
S. Somasegar, Madrona Venture Group
Soma Somasegar

Startup: Ally.io

VC: Soma Somasegar, Madrona

Relationship: No relation, VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $26 million

Headquarters: Bellevue, WA

What it does: Makes productivity software for companies to internally track objectives and key results.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Particularly in an environment where the vast majority of employees are operating remotes, this is a great tool for teams to operate in a high performance environment with the right level of agility," Somasegar said.

Anyscale: distributed computing projects
jerry chen
Jerry Chen, Greylock Partners

Startup: Anyscale

VC: Jerry Chen, Greylock

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $60.74 million

Headquarters: Berkeley, CA

What it does: helps run distributed computing projects through an open-source project called Ray.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Anyscale is the next step in cloud computing evolution, allowing developers to easily build distributed applications across the cloud. It effectively turns the cloud into one giant computer," Chen said.

AuditBoard: A cloud-based platform for compliance
tyler sosin
Tyler Sosin, Menlo Ventures

Startup: AuditBoard

VC: Tyler Sosin, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $46.31 million

Headquarters: Cerritos, CA

What it does: Provides a platform for enterprises to conduct internal audits and make sure they're in compliance with government regulations.

Why it will boom in 2021: The platform is already widely used by financial firms to ensure they're compliant with federal laws, Sosin said, adding that AuditBoard is "growing extremely quickly and efficiently."

Benchling: Cloud services for pharma companies
Nina Achadjian
Nina Achadjian, Index Ventures

Startup: Benchling

VC: Nina Achadjian, Index Ventures

Relationship: No relation, Achadjian just thinks Benchling is cool. She's previously written about Benchling on her blog.

Total funding raised: $111.8 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Research and development cloud services for pharma companies.

Why it will boom in 2021: "COVID has dramatically accelerated the need for the 'lab of the future,' one powered by centralized data, powerful tools, and a collaboration platform. This is a permanent tailwind that will continue to drive large pharma customers to Benchling," Achadjian said.

BuildBuddy: Open source tools for software developers
Elizabeth Weil
Elizabeth Weil, Scribble Ventures

Startup: BuildBuddy

VC: Elizabeth Weil, Scribble Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $3 million

Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

What it does: Provides open-source tools for developers using Bazel, a software build-and-test system.

Why it will boom in 2021: "BuildBuddy represents an opportunity to get double digit efficiency gains on the most important investment companies make, and early interest from outstanding companies like Apple and Stripe show this," Weil said.

Cloud Agronomics: Data for sustainable farming
Ludwig Schulze
Ludwig Schulze, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Cloud Agronomics

VC: Ludwig Schulze, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $10.74 million

Headquarters: Boulder, CO

What it does: Provides data and analysis to farms in order to increase sustainability and fight climate change.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Cloud Agronomics is making agriculture more sustainable and data driven, which is vital to support a growing population and combat climate change," Schulze said. "Carbon sequestration will be a major focus for policymakers in 2021."

Codat: An interface connecting businesses to banks
Jesse Wedler, CapitalG
Jesse Wedler, CapitalG

Startup: Codat

VC: Jesse Wedler, CapitalG

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $12.15 million

Headquarters: London

What it does: Provides an interface for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to connect with financial institutions.

Why it will boom in 2021: "By capturing data from different internal systems, Codat can power access to multiple solutions spanning lending, finance solutions and insurance for SMBs," Wedler said. 

Coder Technologies: Cloud software development tools
Ethan Kurzweil
Ethan Kurzweil, Bessemer Venture Partners

Startup: Coder Technologies

VC: Ethan Kurzweil, Bessemer Venture Partners

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $44.78 million

Headquarters: Austin, TX

What it does: Cloud-based platform for managing and collaborating around software development.

Why it will boom in 2021: "The software world is increasingly a cloud-based one," Kurzweil said. "However, the actual development environment where programmers do their work is still dominated by local tools that are installed and saved locally." 

Coder offers "the benefits of the scalability of the cloud" without sacrificing security, he said.

CodeSignal: Automating technical job interviews
JP Sanday
Jean-Paul Sanday, Menlo Ventures

Startup: CodeSignal

VC: Jean-Paul Sanday, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $40 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Provides cloud software that helps companies to automate and assess technical interviews.

Why it will boom in 2021: "More companies are becoming software companies and need to hire technical talent at scale and (increasingly) all over the world," Sanday said. "CodeSignal allows companies to go beyond resumes and assess candidates based on skill and aptitude, something very important for creating a high-performing and diverse workforce."

CommandE: Keyboard shortcuts to make cloud computing tools easier
JP Sanday
Jean-Paul Sanday, Menlo Ventures

Startup: CommandE

VC: Jean-Paul Sanday, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $6.52 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Keyboard shortcuts for businesses using software-as-a-service and cloud computing tools that make it easier to navigate and search from the cloud. 

Why it will boom in 2021: "With the onset of business SaaS tools users have to log into so disparate systems to get their jobs done and a tool like this helps bring it all together and produce huge gains in productivity," Sanday said.

Cresta: AI for customer service
Saam Motamedi
Saam Motamedi, Greylock Partners

Startup: Cresta

VC: Saam Motamedi, Greylock Partners

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $21 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: AI that provides real-time coaching and automation for contact center agents.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Every company with a contact center will need a platform like Cresta to transform and bring their contact center into the future," Motamedi predicts.

Eclypsium: Cloud-based device security
Steve Greenberg, Triphammer
Steve Greenberg, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Eclypsium

VC: Steven Greenberg, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $24.05 million 

Headquarters: Portland, OR

What it does: A cloud-based security service that protects any device that connects to the corporate network from hackers, right down to the firmware, including corporate laptops, network equipment and servers in data centers.

Why it will boom in 2021: "As data privacy and security continues to become more and more important to large enterprises, Eclypsium is positioned well to challenge hackers who are become more sophisticated and looking for exploitable loopholes in firmware," Greenberg said.

Divvy: corporate credit cards that help employees with expense reports
ben narasin
Ben Narasin, New Enterprise Associates

Startup: Divvy

VC: Ben Narasin, NEA

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $1 billion

Headquarters: Draper, Utah

What it does: Divvy provides corporate credit cards to a company's individual employees, and helps employees automatically fill out their expense forms.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Divvy will explode next year as companies scramble to get control of their remote workers and use Divvy for corporate cards tied to real time expense management and budgeting," Narasin said.

"Swipe your card or pay with your phone and the charge feeds instantly to your expense account, saving time and improving management visibility and control," he added. 

Drivewealth: Easily adds trading functionality for fintech firms
mercedes bent
Mercedes Bent, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Startup: Drivewealth

VC: Mercedes Bent, Lightspeed Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $103.82 million

Headquarters: Chatham, NJ

What it does: Provides a cloud-based interface that allows fintech firms to easily embed  investing and trading services into their offerings.

Why it will boom in 2021: "I love Drivewealth because they're making it easier for anyone to start a trading platform," Bent said. "Investing functionality is becoming a core feature of many consumer and commerce experiences, fintech or not. Social investing mindset is reaching its zeitgeist moment."

Docsend: secure document sharing platform
Ben Ling
Bling Capital founder Ben Ling

Startup: Docsend

VC: Ben Ling, Bling Capital

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool

Total funding raised: $14.70 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: a secure document-sharing platform that lets users know when documents are opened and read.

Why it will boom in 2021: Ling said that DocSend has become "the standard for investor communication and fundraising." 

Envoy: tracking who is in the office
matt murphy
Matt Murphy, Menlo Ventures

Startup: Envoy

VC: Matt Murphy, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $59.5 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Envoy helps companies track who is in the office on a given day and manages routine office tasks, like notifications for things like when a conference rooms runs out of sanitizer. 

Why it will boom in 2021: "Even post pandemic, many workers will only be in the office part-time, and Envoy will help companies best use their office footprint for the flexibility expected by tomorrow's workforce," Murphy said. 

Esper.io: Software for companies to manage workers' Android devices
Tim Porter
Tim Porter, Madrona Venture Group

Startup: Esper.io

VC: Tim Porter, Madrona

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $11.72 million

Headquarters: Bellevue, WA

What it does: Makes software for companies to manage Android devices.

Why it will boom in 2021: "This is a huge and growing market as more and more intelligent edge devices are deployed — from exercise bikes to food delivery tablets to intelligent signs — nearly all of which now run Android," Porter said.

Extend: Personalized warranty plans for product makers
David Beazley, PurpleArch
David Beazley, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Extend

VC: David Beazley, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $60.65 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Software that allows companies to easily offer warranties and protection plans for products of any kind.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Ecommerce sales of consumer durables still has a lot of runway ahead and buyers are more interested than ever in using innovative fintech solutions that are customized to their needs," Beazley said.

Hivecell: Platform-as-a-service for edge computing
Annelies Gamble
Annelies Gamble, Scribble Ventures

Startup: Hivecell

VC: Annelies Gamble, Scribble Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $2 million

Headquarters: Beacon, NY

What it does: Provides a low-cost hardware device for so-called edge computing, which brings some parts of cloud computing computing power and storage to the location where it's needed to increase speeds.

Why it will boom in 2021: "According to Gartner, by 2022, more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud," Gamble said. "As this market grows, more and more customers are going to look for ways to experiment with moving to the edge."

Kandji: A way for large companies to manage employees' Apple devices
Josh Kopelman
Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital

Startup: Kandji

VC: Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $28.44 million

Headquarters: San Diego, CA

What it does: Provides mobile-device-management software for large companies to manage employees' Apple devices.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Given the recent adoption of remote and work from home culture, Kandji stands to gain by providing the most robust and flexible [device management] solution on the market," Kopelman said.

KitchenMate: Food-as-a-service for offices
Ed Yip, Norwest
Ed Yip, Norwest Venture Partners

Startup: KitchenMate

VC: Ed Yip, Norwest Venture Partners

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $6.76 million

Headquarters: Toronto

What it does: Offers businesses an alternative to hot pantry cafeterias with "smart meal-pods" that are heated in a "smart cooker."

Why it will boom in 2021: "While it might not seem like the right time for any sort of office service, KitchenMate is heating up among essential industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and distribution who need onsite meal options while nearby restaurants and food services remain closed," Yip said.

Malomo: marketing platform built into online stores' shipment tracking
Gabby Cazeau
Gabby Cazeau, Harlem Capital

StartupMalomo

VC: Gabby Cazeau, Harlem Capital

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $5.42 million

Headquarters: Indianapolis

What it does: Lets e-commerce brands turn customers' shipment tracking into a brand marketing channel.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Through the pandemic, we've seen a massive shift towards e-commerce that will be the norm in the post-COVID era," Cazeau said, adding that Malomo lets companies "deliver on their brand promise through a delightful user experience post purchase."

Materialize: Data streaming for app developers
Bucky Moore, Kleiner Perkins
Bucky Moore, Kleiner Perkins

Startup: Materialize

VC: Bucky Moore, Kleiner Perkins

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $40.5 million

Headquarters: New York

What it does: Processes complex analytics over streaming datasets for developers building internal tools and customer-facing products.

Why it will boom in 2021: "For the first time, any employee with fluency in SQL can ask questions of their data and get correct answers, in real-time. This is a revolutionary capability, and where the industry is inevitably headed," Moore said.

Melio Payments: bill payment platform for small businesses
lauren kolodny
Lauren Kolodny, Acrew Capital

StartupMelio Payments

VC: Lauren Kolodny, Acrew Capital

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $143.5 million

Headquarters: New York

What it does: Provides a one-stop platform for small businesses to pay vendors and contractors.

Why it will boom in 2021: While peer-to-peer payments companies like Venmo and CashApp have seen booming popularity, Melio brings a similar function to business-to-business transactions for small and midsize business (SMBs).

"With the majority of SMBs payments still happening via check, there's still a huge opportunity for digitization here," Kolodny said.

Observe.ai: AI for monitoring customer service
Steve Sloane
Steve Sloane, Menlo Ventures

Startup: Observe.ai

VC: Steve Sloane, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $88.19 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Provides AI that monitors call center interactions so companies can keep tabs on customer service.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Enduring shift to remote-work and cloud in the call-center space makes the software a must-have going forward," Sloane said.

Particle Health: parsing medical data for healthcare companies
Sumi Das
Sumi Das, CapitalG

Startup: Particle Health

VC: Sumi Das, CapitalG and Greg Yap, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Yap is an investor. Das has no relation and just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $14.34 million

Headquarters: New York

What it does: Provides APIs for healthcare companies to access and parse through comprehensive medical datasets. 

Why it will boom in 2021: "Just as we're seeing an open banking renaissance within fintech, we're also seeing the healthcare industry beginning to demand improved data communications and interoperability," Das said.

"I believe 2021 will mark the turning point in health data interoperability and that Particle Health will play a key role in the solution," Yap added.

Promise: A platform for government payments
Bill Trenchard
Bill Trenchard, First Round Capital

Startup: Promise

VC: Bill Trenchard, First Round Capital

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $3.12 million

Headquarters: Mountain View, CA

What it does: Provides a platform for government agencies — as well as some private-sector clients — to track outstanding payments on tickets, restitution, program fees, child support, and other charges.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Promise is closing deals at incredibly fast rate for Govtech. The current record is four days from first meeting to approval vote," Trenchard said, adding that "COVID creates an economic window in which government agencies want and/or need Promise's offering."

Refraction AI: Robots that deliver packages
David Beazley, PurpleArch
David Beazley, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Refraction AI

VC: David Beazley, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $6.5 million

Headquarters: Ann Arbor, MI

What it does: Builds robots for last-mile logistics and deliveries.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Refraction hasn't been able to grow its fleet of local delivery robots fast enough to keep up with demand for last-mile delivery services in its pilot market," Beazley said. "Restaurants, retailers and online delivery services are desperate to keep up with demand but they have had to rely on cars and gig workers."

Rheaply: Software for recycling and selling unused items
Shardul Shah
Shardul Shah, Index Ventures

Startup: Rheaply

VC: Shardul Shah, Index Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $2.52 million

Headquarters: Chicago

What it does: Provides software-as-a-service that helps businesses track and recycle unused items, or sell them to other businesses.

Why it will boom in 2021: Rheaply "builds new economic capital through regeneration, giving businesses a competitive advantage," Shah said, adding that it "combines resource exchange, asset management, disposition and sustainability metrics."

ShipBob: Warehousing, packaging, and shipping for ecommerce
Shawn Carolan, Menlo Ventures
Shawn Carolan, Menlo Ventures

Startup: ShipBob

VC: Shawn Carolan, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $130.67 million

Headquarters: Chicago

What it does: Handles warehousing, packaging, and shipping for small and medium businesses.

Why it will boom in 2021: "The rise of Shopify has put millions of new e-commerce storefronts and brands on the web, selling direct to customers," Carolan said, adding that all of the market for package delivery grows.

Shogun: Web design that doesn't require coding know-how
Ethan Choi Accel
Ethan Choi, Accel

Startup: Shogun

VC: Ethan Choi, Accel

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $14 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Provides a no-code platform for businesses to build websites.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Amidst an explosion in e-commerce, merchants are looking to become 'headless' where they decouple their website with the rest of their technology stack, primarily for faster site speed," Choi said.

Snorkel.ai: Data sets used to train AI
Tim Porter
Tim Porter, Madrona Venture Group

Startup: Snorkel.ai

VC: Tim Porter

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $18.25 million

Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

What it does: Provides synthetic data sets used to train artificial intelligence algorithms.

Why it will boom in 2021: "As machine learning applications continue to proliferate, the need for high-quality training data also is growing exponentially," Porter says.

Solv Health: Doctors' appointments booking software
Theresia Gouw
Theresia Gouw, Acrew Capital

Startup: Solv Health

VC: Theresia Gouw, Acrew Capital

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $50.5 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Appointment booking and telemedicine software for healthcare institutions.

Why it will boom in 2021: Solv has already made inroads with agencies like the city of Seattle and the state of Michigan as a platform for booking COVID-19 tests, and Guow says she expects the startup to continue to expand large-scale public contracts.

Sonrai Security: securing public cloud computing for businesses
Venky Ganesan
Venky Ganesan, Menlo Ventures

StartupSonrai Security

VC: Venky Ganesan, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $38.5 million

Headquarters: New York

What it does: Sonrai's software finds security holes in companies' infrastructure when using public cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Sonrai Security solves a pervasive problem that will only become more prevalent as the trend towards public cloud usage grows in 2021 and beyond," Ganesan said.

Sorcero: AI that rapidly reads and processes scientific papers
Chris Sklarin
Chris Sklarin, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Sorcero

VC: Chris Sklarin, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $5.46 million

Headquarters: Washington, DC

What it does: Sorcero's language intelligence platform rapidly reads and digests large amounts of scientific and medical publications, producing insights for its client base of insurance firms and life science companies.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Sorcero has incredible insights into markets and how to build technology that is powerful and differentiated. They move fast, are very quick to course correct and are capital efficient," Skarlin said.

"In 2021, I expect them to smash through their targets and make serious strides towards transforming decision-making for key technical industries that power the world," he said.

Tailscale: New-age virtual private networks for businesses
Amit Kumar, Accel
Amit Kumar, Accel

Startup: Tailscale

VC: Amit Kumar, Accel

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $17.26 million

Headquarters: Toronto

What it does: Enables the easy creation and management of virtual private networks (VPNs) for businesses.

Why it will boom in 2021: "COVID has radically accelerated the shift towards remote and distributed teams, forcing organizations of every size to reconsider their security and access posture. Tailscale's world-class engineering team has built a leapfrog product, based on the widely adopted open-source Wireguard protocol and has unmistakable early buzz in the developer community," Kumar said.

Temporal: helps developers fix issues in microservices
Bogomil Balkansky
Bogomil Balkansky, Sequoia

StartupTemporal

VC: Bogomil Balkansky, Sequoia; Jerry Chen, Greylock; Sudip Chakrabarti, Madrona; and Aaron Jacobson, NEA

Relationship: Balkansky and Chakrabarti are investors. Chen and Jacobson have no relation and just think it's cool.

Total funding raised: $25.5 million

Headquarters: Bellevue, WA

What it does: App developers are increasingly adopting a "microservice" architecture, in which a large app with lots of features is broken up into small, independent parts that talk to one another. Temporal's software makes it easier for developers to fix problems when one of their microservices fails.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Creating software applications that handle failures gracefully is a very complex and time-consuming engineering problem,"Balkansky said. "Temporal solves this." 

With customers like Snap, Box, Coinbase and Checkr, "we anticipate greater demand next year as more companies continue to migrate to microservice architectures," he added.

Chakrabarti said that Temporal helps "developers build invincible applications."

By hiding complex data engineering from developers, Temporal is "making it easy to build and orchestrate these apps," Chen said.

"Temporal's open-source 'workflow-as-code' solution bakes in resiliency from the start, freeing up developers to focus on writing impactful business logic code," Jacobson said.

Tines: A no-code platform for automated security
sarah guo
Sarah Guo, Greylock Partners

Startup: Tines

VC: Sarah Guo, Greylock Partners

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks they're cool. 

Total funding raised: $15.1 million

Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland

What it does: Tines lets security teams automate their repetitive tasks using its no-code dashboard.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Investing in automation remains a top priority for security teams," Guo said, but that automation typically requires coding upfront. Tines makes automation more accessible with its no-code platform.

Trace Data: tools for sending and tracking sensitive data
Matt Howard
Matt Howard, Norwest Ventures

StartupTrace Data

VC: Matt Howard, Norwest Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks they're cool.

Total funding raised: $5 million

Headquarters: Wilmington, DE

What it does: Trace Data's software lets companies see where their data is being accessed and used to ensure it's kept private and secure.

Why it will boom in 2021: Amid remote work, "managing and securing data has never been a bigger priority," Howard said. "Trace Data keeps all data secure in connected systems with a single platform, making it easier to manage all data at once."

Universe: tools for building mobile-first ecommerce sites
mg siegler
M.G. Siegler, Google Ventures

Startup: Universe

VC: M. G. Siegler, Google Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $17.32 million

Headquarters: Brooklyn, NY

What it does: Universe's platform lets merchants build ecommerce sites from their smartphones.

Why it will boom in 2021: "The company took the time during the unfortunate reality of COVID during 2020 to hone in on and focus on a core mission: to enable anyone and everyone to build on the web and to build businesses while doing it," Siegler said. "While we all hope COVID starts to dissipate in 2021, these types of businesses should be here to stay."

Uptycs: security analytics platform for preventing and detecting hacks
Venky Ganesan
Venky Ganesan, Menlo Ventures

StartupUptycs

VC: Venky Ganesan, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $40.25 million

Headquarters: Waltham, MA

What it does: Uptycs' platform provides a dashboard for security teams that lets them monitor what's happening across their company and investigate unauthorized intrusions.

Why it will boom in 2021: Cybersecurity teams need to be able to rapidly gauge potential security threats, Ganasan said, especially as they increasingly rely on cloud computing and shifting endpoints amid remote work.

Uptycs has applied advanced modeling and database techniques for "real-time pipeline processing," Ganesan said, meaning it can crunch through tons of security-related data quickly.

The result is "a security analytics platform for visibility and accelerated time to insight," he said.

Userleap: tools for product developers to "micro-survey" their users
Bill Trenchard
Bill Trenchard, First Round Capital

StartupUserLeap

VC: Bill Trenchard, First Round and Sarah Guo, Greylock

Relationship: Trenchard is an investor. Guo has no relation and just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $20 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: UserLeap lets product teams build "micro-surveys" into their products that quickly gather feedback from people while they're using the product.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Every company needs a way to understand their customers in real time, and they don't have that capability right now. UserLeap fills that gap," Trenchard said.

"As businesses are increasingly dependent on digital experiences, we believe real-time qualitative data from users will become an competitive advantage," Guo added.

Utmost: software for managing contractors and non-employees
sarah guo
Sarah Guo, Greylock Partners

StartupUtmost

VC: Sarah Guo, Greylock

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $11.2 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Utmost provides a tool for HR to find, track, and pay contractors and non-employees.

Why it will boom in 2021: "COVID has, of course, driven companies to completely rethink their approach to global talent, and their ties to physical office," Guo said.

"COVID-catalyzed digital transformation intensifies the turnover in workforce skills; the extended workforce is serving as a competitive advantage to companies going on the offensive in the post-COVID era," she added.

Wheel: Telemedicine and compliance for health startups
greg yap
Greg Yap, Menlo Ventures

Startup: Wheel

VC: Greg Yap, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $16.1 million

Headquarters: Austin, TX

What it does: Provides telemedicine software and a marketplace that helps startups find healthcare providers and quickly ramp up virtual offerings.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Demand for virtual care and telemedicine has accelerated during the pandemic, but building and managing national pools of physicians and other healthcare professionals is difficult," Yap said.

"Wheel has built a platform to efficiently attract health care providers and enable digital health companies to staff up quickly and flexibly," he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

45 enterprise startups that will soar in 2021, according to venture capitalists

enterprise startups vcs
  • We asked a group of investors at successful venture capital firms to name the startups set for big success next year from inside and outside their portfolios.
  • VC named so many enterprise startups — those that make tech for businesses — that we couldn't include them all our main list. (Read 81 startups that will boom in 2021.)
  • Some of these startups are experiencing rapid growth because of the pandemic, others in spite of it.
  • The result is this exciting list of enterprise startups that are sure to boom in 2021.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

2020 has reshaped the way companies across the globe do business - and those changes are will stretch into 2021 and beyond.

Amid the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a crop of startups has risen in prominence to help businesses adapt to the changing landscape. At the same time, other startups are succeeding irregardless of the pandemic because they provide new innovations that solve age-old problems faced by companies.

Business Insider asked a select group of venture capitalists about the startups they believe are likely to experience big growth in the coming year. They were asked to name startups inside and outside of their portfolios, meaning startups that their firms had invested in as well as ones with which they have no financial relationship.

We published one big list of 81 startups that will boom in 2021 but VCs nominated so many enterprise startups that we couldn't include them all in that larger list.

So we created the following list, organized alphabetically, of the promising venture-backed companies serving the $4 trillion a year business-to-business tech market, as named by VCs. We included the estimates of their total funding according to deal database Pitchbook.

Here are the 45 enterprise startups that VCs say are set to make it big in 2021.

Abacus.ai: AI-powered data science for companies
Satish Dharmaraj
Satish Dharmaraj, Redpoint Ventures

Startup: Abacus.ai

VC: Satish Dharmaraj, Redpoint

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.  

Total funding raised: $40.25 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: helps companies make accurate predictions using AI in any system that collects data.

Why it will boom in 2021: Abacus brings "state-of-the-art AI techniques to companies of all sizes," said Dharamaraj. "Their technology is especially helpful where there is noisy, incomplete, or little training data, and with companies pulling in more data sources than ever before, they are destined to have a big year next year," he added.

Ally.io: Productivity software for offices
S. Somasegar, Madrona Venture Group
Soma Somasegar

Startup: Ally.io

VC: Soma Somasegar, Madrona

Relationship: No relation, VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $26 million

Headquarters: Bellevue, WA

What it does: Makes productivity software for companies to internally track objectives and key results.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Particularly in an environment where the vast majority of employees are operating remotes, this is a great tool for teams to operate in a high performance environment with the right level of agility," Somasegar said.

Anyscale: distributed computing projects
jerry chen
Jerry Chen, Greylock Partners

Startup: Anyscale

VC: Jerry Chen, Greylock

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $60.74 million

Headquarters: Berkeley, CA

What it does: helps run distributed computing projects through an open-source project called Ray.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Anyscale is the next step in cloud computing evolution, allowing developers to easily build distributed applications across the cloud. It effectively turns the cloud into one giant computer," Chen said.

AuditBoard: A cloud-based platform for compliance
tyler sosin
Tyler Sosin, Menlo Ventures

Startup: AuditBoard

VC: Tyler Sosin, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $46.31 million

Headquarters: Cerritos, CA

What it does: Provides a platform for enterprises to conduct internal audits and make sure they're in compliance with government regulations.

Why it will boom in 2021: The platform is already widely used by financial firms to ensure they're compliant with federal laws, Sosin said, adding that AuditBoard is "growing extremely quickly and efficiently."

Benchling: Cloud services for pharma companies
Nina Achadjian
Nina Achadjian, Index Ventures

Startup: Benchling

VC: Nina Achadjian, Index Ventures

Relationship: No relation, Achadjian just thinks Benchling is cool. She's previously written about Benchling on her blog.

Total funding raised: $111.8 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Research and development cloud services for pharma companies.

Why it will boom in 2021: "COVID has dramatically accelerated the need for the 'lab of the future,' one powered by centralized data, powerful tools, and a collaboration platform. This is a permanent tailwind that will continue to drive large pharma customers to Benchling," Achadjian said.

BuildBuddy: Open source tools for software developers
Elizabeth Weil
Elizabeth Weil, Scribble Ventures

Startup: BuildBuddy

VC: Elizabeth Weil, Scribble Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $3 million

Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

What it does: Provides open-source tools for developers using Bazel, a software build-and-test system.

Why it will boom in 2021: "BuildBuddy represents an opportunity to get double digit efficiency gains on the most important investment companies make, and early interest from outstanding companies like Apple and Stripe show this," Weil said.

Cloud Agronomics: Data for sustainable farming
Ludwig Schulze
Ludwig Schulze, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Cloud Agronomics

VC: Ludwig Schulze, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $10.74 million

Headquarters: Boulder, CO

What it does: Provides data and analysis to farms in order to increase sustainability and fight climate change.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Cloud Agronomics is making agriculture more sustainable and data driven, which is vital to support a growing population and combat climate change," Schulze said. "Carbon sequestration will be a major focus for policymakers in 2021."

Codat: An interface connecting businesses to banks
Jesse Wedler, CapitalG
Jesse Wedler, CapitalG

Startup: Codat

VC: Jesse Wedler, CapitalG

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $12.15 million

Headquarters: London

What it does: Provides an interface for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to connect with financial institutions.

Why it will boom in 2021: "By capturing data from different internal systems, Codat can power access to multiple solutions spanning lending, finance solutions and insurance for SMBs," Wedler said. 

Coder Technologies: Cloud software development tools
Ethan Kurzweil
Ethan Kurzweil, Bessemer Venture Partners

Startup: Coder Technologies

VC: Ethan Kurzweil, Bessemer Venture Partners

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $44.78 million

Headquarters: Austin, TX

What it does: Cloud-based platform for managing and collaborating around software development.

Why it will boom in 2021: "The software world is increasingly a cloud-based one," Kurzweil said. "However, the actual development environment where programmers do their work is still dominated by local tools that are installed and saved locally." 

Coder offers "the benefits of the scalability of the cloud" without sacrificing security, he said.

CodeSignal: Automating technical job interviews
JP Sanday
Jean-Paul Sanday, Menlo Ventures

Startup: CodeSignal

VC: Jean-Paul Sanday, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $40 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Provides cloud software that helps companies to automate and assess technical interviews.

Why it will boom in 2021: "More companies are becoming software companies and need to hire technical talent at scale and (increasingly) all over the world," Sanday said. "CodeSignal allows companies to go beyond resumes and assess candidates based on skill and aptitude, something very important for creating a high-performing and diverse workforce."

CommandE: Keyboard shortcuts to make cloud computing tools easier
JP Sanday
Jean-Paul Sanday, Menlo Ventures

Startup: CommandE

VC: Jean-Paul Sanday, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $6.52 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Keyboard shortcuts for businesses using software-as-a-service and cloud computing tools that make it easier to navigate and search from the cloud. 

Why it will boom in 2021: "With the onset of business SaaS tools users have to log into so disparate systems to get their jobs done and a tool like this helps bring it all together and produce huge gains in productivity," Sanday said.

Cresta: AI for customer service
Saam Motamedi
Saam Motamedi, Greylock Partners

Startup: Cresta

VC: Saam Motamedi, Greylock Partners

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $21 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: AI that provides real-time coaching and automation for contact center agents.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Every company with a contact center will need a platform like Cresta to transform and bring their contact center into the future," Motamedi predicts.

Eclypsium: Cloud-based device security
Steve Greenberg, Triphammer
Steve Greenberg, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Eclypsium

VC: Steven Greenberg, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $24.05 million 

Headquarters: Portland, OR

What it does: A cloud-based security service that protects any device that connects to the corporate network from hackers, right down to the firmware, including corporate laptops, network equipment and servers in data centers.

Why it will boom in 2021: "As data privacy and security continues to become more and more important to large enterprises, Eclypsium is positioned well to challenge hackers who are become more sophisticated and looking for exploitable loopholes in firmware," Greenberg said.

Divvy: corporate credit cards that help employees with expense reports
ben narasin
Ben Narasin, New Enterprise Associates

Startup: Divvy

VC: Ben Narasin, NEA

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $1 billion

Headquarters: Draper, Utah

What it does: Divvy provides corporate credit cards to a company's individual employees, and helps employees automatically fill out their expense forms.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Divvy will explode next year as companies scramble to get control of their remote workers and use Divvy for corporate cards tied to real time expense management and budgeting," Narasin said.

"Swipe your card or pay with your phone and the charge feeds instantly to your expense account, saving time and improving management visibility and control," he added. 

Drivewealth: Easily adds trading functionality for fintech firms
mercedes bent
Mercedes Bent, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Startup: Drivewealth

VC: Mercedes Bent, Lightspeed Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $103.82 million

Headquarters: Chatham, NJ

What it does: Provides a cloud-based interface that allows fintech firms to easily embed  investing and trading services into their offerings.

Why it will boom in 2021: "I love Drivewealth because they're making it easier for anyone to start a trading platform," Bent said. "Investing functionality is becoming a core feature of many consumer and commerce experiences, fintech or not. Social investing mindset is reaching its zeitgeist moment."

Docsend: secure document sharing platform
Ben Ling
Bling Capital founder Ben Ling

Startup: Docsend

VC: Ben Ling, Bling Capital

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool

Total funding raised: $14.70 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: a secure document-sharing platform that lets users know when documents are opened and read.

Why it will boom in 2021: Ling said that DocSend has become "the standard for investor communication and fundraising." 

Envoy: tracking who is in the office
matt murphy
Matt Murphy, Menlo Ventures

Startup: Envoy

VC: Matt Murphy, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $59.5 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Envoy helps companies track who is in the office on a given day and manages routine office tasks, like notifications for things like when a conference rooms runs out of sanitizer. 

Why it will boom in 2021: "Even post pandemic, many workers will only be in the office part-time, and Envoy will help companies best use their office footprint for the flexibility expected by tomorrow's workforce," Murphy said. 

Esper.io: Software for companies to manage workers' Android devices
Tim Porter
Tim Porter, Madrona Venture Group

Startup: Esper.io

VC: Tim Porter, Madrona

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $11.72 million

Headquarters: Bellevue, WA

What it does: Makes software for companies to manage Android devices.

Why it will boom in 2021: "This is a huge and growing market as more and more intelligent edge devices are deployed — from exercise bikes to food delivery tablets to intelligent signs — nearly all of which now run Android," Porter said.

Extend: Personalized warranty plans for product makers
David Beazley, PurpleArch
David Beazley, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Extend

VC: David Beazley, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $60.65 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Software that allows companies to easily offer warranties and protection plans for products of any kind.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Ecommerce sales of consumer durables still has a lot of runway ahead and buyers are more interested than ever in using innovative fintech solutions that are customized to their needs," Beazley said.

Hivecell: Platform-as-a-service for edge computing
Annelies Gamble
Annelies Gamble, Scribble Ventures

Startup: Hivecell

VC: Annelies Gamble, Scribble Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $2 million

Headquarters: Beacon, NY

What it does: Provides a low-cost hardware device for so-called edge computing, which brings some parts of cloud computing computing power and storage to the location where it's needed to increase speeds.

Why it will boom in 2021: "According to Gartner, by 2022, more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud," Gamble said. "As this market grows, more and more customers are going to look for ways to experiment with moving to the edge."

Kandji: A way for large companies to manage employees' Apple devices
Josh Kopelman
Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital

Startup: Kandji

VC: Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $28.44 million

Headquarters: San Diego, CA

What it does: Provides mobile-device-management software for large companies to manage employees' Apple devices.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Given the recent adoption of remote and work from home culture, Kandji stands to gain by providing the most robust and flexible [device management] solution on the market," Kopelman said.

KitchenMate: Food-as-a-service for offices
Ed Yip, Norwest
Ed Yip, Norwest Venture Partners

Startup: KitchenMate

VC: Ed Yip, Norwest Venture Partners

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $6.76 million

Headquarters: Toronto

What it does: Offers businesses an alternative to hot pantry cafeterias with "smart meal-pods" that are heated in a "smart cooker."

Why it will boom in 2021: "While it might not seem like the right time for any sort of office service, KitchenMate is heating up among essential industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and distribution who need onsite meal options while nearby restaurants and food services remain closed," Yip said.

Malomo: marketing platform built into online stores' shipment tracking
Gabby Cazeau
Gabby Cazeau, Harlem Capital

StartupMalomo

VC: Gabby Cazeau, Harlem Capital

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $5.42 million

Headquarters: Indianapolis

What it does: Lets e-commerce brands turn customers' shipment tracking into a brand marketing channel.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Through the pandemic, we've seen a massive shift towards e-commerce that will be the norm in the post-COVID era," Cazeau said, adding that Malomo lets companies "deliver on their brand promise through a delightful user experience post purchase."

Materialize: Data streaming for app developers
Bucky Moore, Kleiner Perkins
Bucky Moore, Kleiner Perkins

Startup: Materialize

VC: Bucky Moore, Kleiner Perkins

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $40.5 million

Headquarters: New York

What it does: Processes complex analytics over streaming datasets for developers building internal tools and customer-facing products.

Why it will boom in 2021: "For the first time, any employee with fluency in SQL can ask questions of their data and get correct answers, in real-time. This is a revolutionary capability, and where the industry is inevitably headed," Moore said.

Melio Payments: bill payment platform for small businesses
lauren kolodny
Lauren Kolodny, Acrew Capital

StartupMelio Payments

VC: Lauren Kolodny, Acrew Capital

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $143.5 million

Headquarters: New York

What it does: Provides a one-stop platform for small businesses to pay vendors and contractors.

Why it will boom in 2021: While peer-to-peer payments companies like Venmo and CashApp have seen booming popularity, Melio brings a similar function to business-to-business transactions for small and midsize business (SMBs).

"With the majority of SMBs payments still happening via check, there's still a huge opportunity for digitization here," Kolodny said.

Observe.ai: AI for monitoring customer service
Steve Sloane
Steve Sloane, Menlo Ventures

Startup: Observe.ai

VC: Steve Sloane, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $88.19 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Provides AI that monitors call center interactions so companies can keep tabs on customer service.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Enduring shift to remote-work and cloud in the call-center space makes the software a must-have going forward," Sloane said.

Particle Health: parsing medical data for healthcare companies
Sumi Das
Sumi Das, CapitalG

Startup: Particle Health

VC: Sumi Das, CapitalG and Greg Yap, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Yap is an investor. Das has no relation and just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $14.34 million

Headquarters: New York

What it does: Provides APIs for healthcare companies to access and parse through comprehensive medical datasets. 

Why it will boom in 2021: "Just as we're seeing an open banking renaissance within fintech, we're also seeing the healthcare industry beginning to demand improved data communications and interoperability," Das said.

"I believe 2021 will mark the turning point in health data interoperability and that Particle Health will play a key role in the solution," Yap added.

Promise: A platform for government payments
Bill Trenchard
Bill Trenchard, First Round Capital

Startup: Promise

VC: Bill Trenchard, First Round Capital

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $3.12 million

Headquarters: Mountain View, CA

What it does: Provides a platform for government agencies — as well as some private-sector clients — to track outstanding payments on tickets, restitution, program fees, child support, and other charges.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Promise is closing deals at incredibly fast rate for Govtech. The current record is four days from first meeting to approval vote," Trenchard said, adding that "COVID creates an economic window in which government agencies want and/or need Promise's offering."

Refraction AI: Robots that deliver packages
David Beazley, PurpleArch
David Beazley, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Refraction AI

VC: David Beazley, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $6.5 million

Headquarters: Ann Arbor, MI

What it does: Builds robots for last-mile logistics and deliveries.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Refraction hasn't been able to grow its fleet of local delivery robots fast enough to keep up with demand for last-mile delivery services in its pilot market," Beazley said. "Restaurants, retailers and online delivery services are desperate to keep up with demand but they have had to rely on cars and gig workers."

Rheaply: Software for recycling and selling unused items
Shardul Shah
Shardul Shah, Index Ventures

Startup: Rheaply

VC: Shardul Shah, Index Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $2.52 million

Headquarters: Chicago

What it does: Provides software-as-a-service that helps businesses track and recycle unused items, or sell them to other businesses.

Why it will boom in 2021: Rheaply "builds new economic capital through regeneration, giving businesses a competitive advantage," Shah said, adding that it "combines resource exchange, asset management, disposition and sustainability metrics."

ShipBob: Warehousing, packaging, and shipping for ecommerce
Shawn Carolan, Menlo Ventures
Shawn Carolan, Menlo Ventures

Startup: ShipBob

VC: Shawn Carolan, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $130.67 million

Headquarters: Chicago

What it does: Handles warehousing, packaging, and shipping for small and medium businesses.

Why it will boom in 2021: "The rise of Shopify has put millions of new e-commerce storefronts and brands on the web, selling direct to customers," Carolan said, adding that all of the market for package delivery grows.

Shogun: Web design that doesn't require coding know-how
Ethan Choi Accel
Ethan Choi, Accel

Startup: Shogun

VC: Ethan Choi, Accel

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $14 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Provides a no-code platform for businesses to build websites.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Amidst an explosion in e-commerce, merchants are looking to become 'headless' where they decouple their website with the rest of their technology stack, primarily for faster site speed," Choi said.

Snorkel.ai: Data sets used to train AI
Tim Porter
Tim Porter, Madrona Venture Group

Startup: Snorkel.ai

VC: Tim Porter

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $18.25 million

Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

What it does: Provides synthetic data sets used to train artificial intelligence algorithms.

Why it will boom in 2021: "As machine learning applications continue to proliferate, the need for high-quality training data also is growing exponentially," Porter says.

Solv Health: Doctors' appointments booking software
Theresia Gouw
Theresia Gouw, Acrew Capital

Startup: Solv Health

VC: Theresia Gouw, Acrew Capital

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $50.5 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Appointment booking and telemedicine software for healthcare institutions.

Why it will boom in 2021: Solv has already made inroads with agencies like the city of Seattle and the state of Michigan as a platform for booking COVID-19 tests, and Guow says she expects the startup to continue to expand large-scale public contracts.

Sonrai Security: securing public cloud computing for businesses
Venky Ganesan
Venky Ganesan, Menlo Ventures

StartupSonrai Security

VC: Venky Ganesan, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $38.5 million

Headquarters: New York

What it does: Sonrai's software finds security holes in companies' infrastructure when using public cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Sonrai Security solves a pervasive problem that will only become more prevalent as the trend towards public cloud usage grows in 2021 and beyond," Ganesan said.

Sorcero: AI that rapidly reads and processes scientific papers
Chris Sklarin
Chris Sklarin, Alumni Ventures Group

Startup: Sorcero

VC: Chris Sklarin, Alumni Ventures Group

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $5.46 million

Headquarters: Washington, DC

What it does: Sorcero's language intelligence platform rapidly reads and digests large amounts of scientific and medical publications, producing insights for its client base of insurance firms and life science companies.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Sorcero has incredible insights into markets and how to build technology that is powerful and differentiated. They move fast, are very quick to course correct and are capital efficient," Skarlin said.

"In 2021, I expect them to smash through their targets and make serious strides towards transforming decision-making for key technical industries that power the world," he said.

Tailscale: New-age virtual private networks for businesses
Amit Kumar, Accel
Amit Kumar, Accel

Startup: Tailscale

VC: Amit Kumar, Accel

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $17.26 million

Headquarters: Toronto

What it does: Enables the easy creation and management of virtual private networks (VPNs) for businesses.

Why it will boom in 2021: "COVID has radically accelerated the shift towards remote and distributed teams, forcing organizations of every size to reconsider their security and access posture. Tailscale's world-class engineering team has built a leapfrog product, based on the widely adopted open-source Wireguard protocol and has unmistakable early buzz in the developer community," Kumar said.

Temporal: helps developers fix issues in microservices
Bogomil Balkansky
Bogomil Balkansky, Sequoia

StartupTemporal

VC: Bogomil Balkansky, Sequoia; Jerry Chen, Greylock; Sudip Chakrabarti, Madrona; and Aaron Jacobson, NEA

Relationship: Balkansky and Chakrabarti are investors. Chen and Jacobson have no relation and just think it's cool.

Total funding raised: $25.5 million

Headquarters: Bellevue, WA

What it does: App developers are increasingly adopting a "microservice" architecture, in which a large app with lots of features is broken up into small, independent parts that talk to one another. Temporal's software makes it easier for developers to fix problems when one of their microservices fails.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Creating software applications that handle failures gracefully is a very complex and time-consuming engineering problem,"Balkansky said. "Temporal solves this." 

With customers like Snap, Box, Coinbase and Checkr, "we anticipate greater demand next year as more companies continue to migrate to microservice architectures," he added.

Chakrabarti said that Temporal helps "developers build invincible applications."

By hiding complex data engineering from developers, Temporal is "making it easy to build and orchestrate these apps," Chen said.

"Temporal's open-source 'workflow-as-code' solution bakes in resiliency from the start, freeing up developers to focus on writing impactful business logic code," Jacobson said.

Tines: A no-code platform for automated security
sarah guo
Sarah Guo, Greylock Partners

Startup: Tines

VC: Sarah Guo, Greylock Partners

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks they're cool. 

Total funding raised: $15.1 million

Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland

What it does: Tines lets security teams automate their repetitive tasks using its no-code dashboard.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Investing in automation remains a top priority for security teams," Guo said, but that automation typically requires coding upfront. Tines makes automation more accessible with its no-code platform.

Trace Data: tools for sending and tracking sensitive data
Matt Howard
Matt Howard, Norwest Ventures

StartupTrace Data

VC: Matt Howard, Norwest Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks they're cool.

Total funding raised: $5 million

Headquarters: Wilmington, DE

What it does: Trace Data's software lets companies see where their data is being accessed and used to ensure it's kept private and secure.

Why it will boom in 2021: Amid remote work, "managing and securing data has never been a bigger priority," Howard said. "Trace Data keeps all data secure in connected systems with a single platform, making it easier to manage all data at once."

Universe: tools for building mobile-first ecommerce sites
mg siegler
M.G. Siegler, Google Ventures

Startup: Universe

VC: M. G. Siegler, Google Ventures

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $17.32 million

Headquarters: Brooklyn, NY

What it does: Universe's platform lets merchants build ecommerce sites from their smartphones.

Why it will boom in 2021: "The company took the time during the unfortunate reality of COVID during 2020 to hone in on and focus on a core mission: to enable anyone and everyone to build on the web and to build businesses while doing it," Siegler said. "While we all hope COVID starts to dissipate in 2021, these types of businesses should be here to stay."

Uptycs: security analytics platform for preventing and detecting hacks
Venky Ganesan
Venky Ganesan, Menlo Ventures

StartupUptycs

VC: Venky Ganesan, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $40.25 million

Headquarters: Waltham, MA

What it does: Uptycs' platform provides a dashboard for security teams that lets them monitor what's happening across their company and investigate unauthorized intrusions.

Why it will boom in 2021: Cybersecurity teams need to be able to rapidly gauge potential security threats, Ganasan said, especially as they increasingly rely on cloud computing and shifting endpoints amid remote work.

Uptycs has applied advanced modeling and database techniques for "real-time pipeline processing," Ganesan said, meaning it can crunch through tons of security-related data quickly.

The result is "a security analytics platform for visibility and accelerated time to insight," he said.

Userleap: tools for product developers to "micro-survey" their users
Bill Trenchard
Bill Trenchard, First Round Capital

StartupUserLeap

VC: Bill Trenchard, First Round and Sarah Guo, Greylock

Relationship: Trenchard is an investor. Guo has no relation and just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $20 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: UserLeap lets product teams build "micro-surveys" into their products that quickly gather feedback from people while they're using the product.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Every company needs a way to understand their customers in real time, and they don't have that capability right now. UserLeap fills that gap," Trenchard said.

"As businesses are increasingly dependent on digital experiences, we believe real-time qualitative data from users will become an competitive advantage," Guo added.

Utmost: software for managing contractors and non-employees
sarah guo
Sarah Guo, Greylock Partners

StartupUtmost

VC: Sarah Guo, Greylock

Relationship: Investor

Total funding raised: $11.2 million

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it does: Utmost provides a tool for HR to find, track, and pay contractors and non-employees.

Why it will boom in 2021: "COVID has, of course, driven companies to completely rethink their approach to global talent, and their ties to physical office," Guo said.

"COVID-catalyzed digital transformation intensifies the turnover in workforce skills; the extended workforce is serving as a competitive advantage to companies going on the offensive in the post-COVID era," she added.

Wheel: Telemedicine and compliance for health startups
greg yap
Greg Yap, Menlo Ventures

Startup: Wheel

VC: Greg Yap, Menlo Ventures

Relationship: No relation. VC just thinks it's cool.

Total funding raised: $16.1 million

Headquarters: Austin, TX

What it does: Provides telemedicine software and a marketplace that helps startups find healthcare providers and quickly ramp up virtual offerings.

Why it will boom in 2021: "Demand for virtual care and telemedicine has accelerated during the pandemic, but building and managing national pools of physicians and other healthcare professionals is difficult," Yap said.

"Wheel has built a platform to efficiently attract health care providers and enable digital health companies to staff up quickly and flexibly," he said.

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This online dashboard shows how many COVID-19 vaccines have been administered and where they’re available

Vaccine

As health agencies across the US rush to distribute the first round of COVID-19 vaccines, a new online tool aims to track their progress.

A dashboard hosted by Johns Hopkins University shows how many doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across the US, according to publicly available data published by state health agencies and aggregated by the Centers for Civic Impact.

The vaccine deployment data is still in the earliest stages of being disclosed, and several states have yet to publish data on how many doses have been administered. The dashboard will be updated as more data becomes available.

Johns Hopkins University vaccine tracker

At least 128,000 people have received doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as of Friday, according to a separate New York Times survey of all 50 states. A second vaccine made by Moderna received FDA approval on Friday and is expected to be distributed to states in the coming week.

Precise data on vaccines administered is difficult to gauge because states are still in the early stages of delivering doses. Additionally, counts were affected by the fact that some hospitals discovered they could sometimes extract more than one dose from vaccine vials shipped by Pfizer.

The federal government is currently aiming to deliver 2.9 million vaccine doses to Americans as part of the first wave of vaccinations, which will prioritize front line health care workers and nursing home residents. It's unclear when the vaccine will be widely available to all Americans. 

Incoming surgeon general Vivek Murthy told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday doses wouldn't be available until summer or fall of 2021, but Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir, who also serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told ABC's "This Week" the Trump administration was confident anyone who wants a vaccine could receive it "by June."

Explore the Johns Hopkins vaccine dashboard here.

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Scammers set up fake websites posing as COVID-19 treatments to trick people into sharing personal information, US officials warn

Medical syringes are seen with Moderna company logo displayed on a screen in the background i
Medical syringes are seen with Moderna company logo displayed on a screen in the background i
  • US Justice Department officials took down two scam websites posing as pharmaceutical companies making COVID-19 treatments, officials said Friday.
  • The sites purported to be created by the healthcare companies Moderna and Regeneron in order to trick people into handing over their personal information.
  • COVID-19-related fraud has proliferated in the past year, with Americans losing over $211 million to scams that invoke the virus.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Scammers set up fake websites posing as pharmaceutical companies making COVID-19 treatments in order to defraud people, US Department of Justice officials said Friday.

The DOJ seized and shut down two websites that purported to belong to Moderna, a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer, and Regeneron, which sells a treatment for the virus, according to the US Attorney for the District of Maryland.

By posing as legitimate healthcare companies, the sites aimed to trick people into handing over personal information that could have been used for identity fraud or leveraged for other phishing scams. The two sites - "mordernatx.com" and "regeneronmedicals.com" - now redirect to a DOJ message stating the web domains have been seized by law enforcement.

The scams come amid a surge in online fraud related to COVID-19. The World Health Organization warned in the early months of the virus' onset that scammers were capitalizing on people's fear and uncertainty about COVID-19 in order to swindle them.

Over the summer, Microsoft announced that it obtained a court's permission to seize and shut down a raft of scam websites claiming to be affiliated with the company and pushing fake alerts about the pandemic.

Vaccines are now being widely distributed in the US and across the globe. DOJ officials warned that people seeking out information about vaccines online should double-check the authenticity of the sites they visit and avoid entering any personal information.

"I urge citizens to remain vigilant. Don't provide personal information or click on websites or links contained in unsolicited e-mails," US Attorney Robert Hur said in a statement. "Don't become a victim."

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$3.5 billion cybersecurity giant FireEye says it was hacked by a ‘nation with top-tier offensive capabilities,’ and the attackers made off with its own hacking tools

FireEye COO Kevin Mandia
FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia
  • FireEye, one of the world's leading cybersecurity firms, disclosed Tuesday that its systems were hacked by "a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities."
  • The firm has been on the forefront of the fight against cybercriminals for years, tracking advanced threat actors and defending companies and government agencies against cyberattacks.
  • The hackers compromised FireEye and stole its internal hacking tools using "a novel combination of techniques not witnessed by us or our partners in the past," CEO Kevin Mandia said in a blog post Tuesday.
  • FireEye did not disclose how or when the attack occured, or who could have been behind it. But the FBI is now investigating Russian state-backed hackers in connection with the attack, the New York Times reported.
  • The FBI confirmed in a statement to Business Insider that the attack is being investigated, adding that it bears signs of "a high level of sophistication consistent with a nation state."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Hackers aligned with a foreign nation-state successfully breached the systems of FireEye, the $3.5 billion Silicon Valley cybersecurity giant, the company said on Tuesday. The attackers stole its proprietary "Red Team" hacking tools, used to assess a client's security and vulnerabilities, the company said.

FireEye has for years been a leader in the fight against cybercrime, producing regular intelligence reports on nation-state hacking and aiding companies and government agencies targeted by hackers. Stock in the company was down over 7% in after-hours trading on Tuesday following the announcement.

That activity has made FireEye a target for an unusually sophisticated attack, FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia wrote in a blog post published Tuesday.

Mandia noted that the attackers' methods bore evidence of "a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities," but did not disclose when the attack took place, how it was carried out, or who specifically could be behind the attack. A FireEye spokesperson declined to comment, redirecting Business Insider to Mandia's blog post.

"This attack is different from the tens of thousands of incidents we have responded to throughout the years," Mandia wrote. "They operated clandestinely, using methods that counter security tools and forensic examination. They used a novel combination of techniques not witnessed by us or our partners in the past."

The firm is now coordinating with the FBI and Microsoft, another private sector heavyweight in the fight against nation-state hackers, Mandia wrote.

FBI cyber division assistant director Matt Gorham confirmed in a statement to Business Insider that the attack is being investigated, adding that it bears signs of "a high level of sophistication consistent with a nation state."

"It is important to note that our adversaries are continuously looking for US networks to exploit.  That is why we are focused on imposing risk and consequences on malicious cyber actors, so they think twice before attempting an intrusion in the first place," Gorham said.

Evidence suggests that the attack could be the work of Russian-backed hackers, according to The New York Times, which reported Tuesday that the FBI is now investigating Russia's possible involvement. FireEye's threat intelligence unit, Mandiant, has previously reported on Russian hacking operations targeting other governments across the globe.

The hackers were able to access some of FireEye's "Red Team" tools used to test its clients' security, Mandia wrote in the blog post, adding that the firm does not know whether hackers have used those tools against others since stealing them. In the meantime, Mandia said FireEye has developed new countermeasures for customers meant to defend against the hacking tools, which have been published on GitHub.

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From fake contact tracing apps to attacks on vaccine makers, COVID-19 will define cyberattacks in 2021, experts say. Here’s how businesses can prepare.

covid isolation
  • The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will continue to pose unique threats and vulnerabilities for businesses fending off cyberattacks in the coming year, Kaspersky cybersecurity analysts predict.
  • Cybercriminals have already started using sophisticated tactics to exploit fear surrounding the pandemic, including fake contact tracing apps that steal people's information. 
  • Others have capitalized on the high-stakes nature of COVID-19 treatment, targeting vaccine research centers and overburdened hospitals for profit.
  • The rise in remote work also grants cybercriminals more opportunities to hack into companies by targeting tools like VPNs used on employees' devices.
  • Kaspersky researchers Ariel Jungheit, David Emm, and Costin Raiu answered questions from Business Insider about their predictions for the coming year and how businesses can prepare.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As COVID-19 rages on, security researchers say attackers are likely to continue to use the pandemic to sow chaos and exploit people's fears for profit in the coming year. 

The pandemic will remain a defining force in cybersecurity in the coming year, according to Kaspersky security researchers Ariel Jungheit, David Emm and Costin Raiu, who answered questions from Business Insider during a Thursday morning briefing on their 2021 cybersecurity predictions published this week.

Hackers are capitalizing on the pandemic by exploiting people's uncertainties to get their attention and trick them into handing over credentials through phishing schemes, which are the most commonly-used hacking tactic, the team said. 

"Criminal groups and threat actors are using COVID-19 largely as a lure in order to hook their victims and get an initial foothold into a target organization," Emm said. "For attackers, it's the gift that keeps on giving because here are so many aspects of it that they can latch onto."

Such schemes have already been sighted in the wild, the researchers noted, including emails posing as health authorities to trick victims into clicking malicious links.

Other cybercriminals have devised even more sophisticated bait, including fake contact tracing apps designed to look like they come from government health authorities that install malware on victims' smartphones — a trend that Jungheit predicts will extend into the coming year.

"Almost every (cybercriminal) campaign in 2020 made use of COVID-19, with each threat actor finding its own angle fitting its geopolitical agenda," Jungheit said.

Overburdened hospitals and COVID-19 vaccine research facilities will be top targets for cyberattacks in the coming year, the researchers predict, building on an uptick in attacks against those sectors in 2020. Vaccine research centers in the UK and several hospital chains in the US have already been hit with cyberattacks in recent months.

It's not clear whether those attacks are motivated by profit or by geopolitical aims, the researchers said — but cybercriminals are targeting them because the high stakes surrounding COVID-19 grants them more leverage over their victims.

"Attackers seek to exploit any situation where there's any form of conflict," Emm said.

Experts say businesses should prepare for an onslaught of attacks targeting remote workers

With the rise of remote work, cybercriminals are devising new ways to crack into companies' systems by targeting employees logging in from home, the researchers said.

One tactic that's expected to grow in 2021 is social engineering schemes that aim to compromise cloud computing platforms or corporate VPNs used by remote workers. Those schemes often incorporate "voice phishing," wherein attackers call victims and pose as technical support with Microsoft Teams, Slack, or a VPN company in order to direct users to log onto a phony site that steals their login credentials.

To counter those attacks, companies should train workers about phishing tactics and warn them to be on the lookout for suspicious calls or emails, Raiu said. He also recommends offices invest in detection tools like YARA, a free service that lets organizations share information about malware.

"All it takes for threat actors to breach your organization [is] getting a foothold, then slowly but surely expanding their access ... so vulnerability tracking is very important," Raiu said. "Altogether these form the right security posture that organizations need to adopt for 2021."

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Police are tapping into residents’ Ring doorbells and home security cameras to stream 24/7 live video

Amazon Ring home security doorbell
  • A handful of police departments across the US are using software that lets them register the locations of people's home security cameras including Amazon Ring doorbells and get residents' permission to stream live video from the cameras.
  • The software is sold by Fusus — a Georgia-based tech firm with no connection to Amazon — that builds dashboards for police departments that combine feeds from public and private security cameras in one place.
  • A pilot program is currently underway in Jackson, Mississippi to persuade residents to let police stream live video from their home security cameras. City officials said it "would save [us] from having to buy a camera for every place across the city."
  • Fusus also has contracts with police departments in Minnesota, Georgia, California, and Illinois, according to its marketing materials.
  • Amazon distanced itself from the practice, telling Business Insider that Ring "is not working with any of the companies" involved and that individual Ring users can choose to share video with police.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A new pilot program in Jackson, Mississippi, will turn participating residents' home security cameras — including Amazon Ring doorbells — into a network of cameras streaming live video that police can access at any time.

The city will ask people to sign waivers allowing police to access live footage from their home security camera in an attempt to fight crime, The Associated Press earlier reported. The pilot is being carried out in partnership with Fusus, a Georgia-based tech firm that sells software that lets police extract live video from private security cameras.

"It would save [us] from having to buy a camera for every place across the city," Jackson mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said in a statement reported by WLBT, a local network. "If someone says, 'I want my Ring door camera to be used,' we'll be able to use it."

The announcement of the pilot program drew swift backlash from privacy advocates, who have long warned that the proliferation of popular home security cameras like Ring could be used by police to widen their surveillance capacities.

"At least in the past [police] were limited by how many cameras they could buy and install. Now we're seeing an end-run around any meaningful democratic process or oversight over community surveillance," Evan Greer, deputy director of the activist nonprofit Fight for the Future, told Business Insider. "It's a worst-case-scenario for civil liberties."

Amazon has distanced itself from the Jackson pilot program. A Ring spokesperson told Business Insider: "This is not a Ring program and Ring is not working with any of the companies or the city in connection with this program," adding that individual Ring owners can choose to share footage with police as they like.

Jackson isn't the only city where police are using Fusus' software to gain access to people's home security cameras. Fusus also sells its Real-Time Crime Center in the Cloud to police in Rialto, California; Oak Lawn, Illinois; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to its website.

In an instructional video uploaded to the Rialto Police Department's website, residents are encouraged to use Fusus' software to register their home security cameras so the police department knows the cameras' location in case they could be used to investigate crimes. After registering, residents are also given the option to grant police permission to stream live video from their home camera.

Fusus did not respond to Business Insider's questions about how many police departments use its software or how many residents have granted permission to stream live video from their home security cameras.

In the past, police have been able to use Ring's Neighbors platform to request footage from Ring owners in a specific area and time frame. But privacy advocates say granting police the ability to stream live footage represents a more serious invasion of privacy.

"Our worst fears have been confirmed," Electronic Frontier Foundation policy analyst Matthew Guariglia said in a statement. "The choices you and your neighbors make as consumers should not be hijacked by police to roll out surveillance technologies. The decision making process must be left to communities."

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A massive hacking network that Microsoft and the US military tried to stop last month is already back — and it could be a bad sign for Election Day

hacker person keyboard cyber security
  • Cybercriminals carried out a string of ransomware attacks against US hospitals last week and could be poised to launch even more, the FBI has warned.
  • The FBI said the attacks were carried out in part using Trickbot, a massive network of bots that has for years evaded efforts by security firms and governments to shut it down.
  • The wave of attacks last week came after Microsoft announced last month that it majorly disrupted the bot network by working with the US military, taking 94% of its infrastructure offline.
  • Cybersecurity experts say the events show the resiliency of ransomware hackers' tactics, and build on longstanding fears that the ransomware could be used to target local elections offices, potentially making it more difficult to count ballots on Election Day.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Last month, Microsoft announced it had won a major victory in the fight against cybercrime. The company said in mid-October that it had thwarted Trickbot — a stubborn malware network that's been used to infect critical computer systems, often shutting them down for ransom. Experts were relieved by the announcement; Trickbot and other ransomware infrastructure, they had warned, could be used to target elections offices and cause chaos on Election Day.

But less than two weeks later, an unprecedented wave of ransomware attacks hit US hospitals — and US officials said Trickbot's developers were to blame.

The FBI said in a warning that cybercriminals used Trickbot in conjunction with other viruses to carry out a wave of attacks against US hospitals last week, disrupting their computer systems and delaying surgeries. More attacks carried out by the same group could be looming, US officials warned.

The wave of ransomware attacks signals that the cybercriminals who built Trickbot are undeterred, and could be quickly adapting to new tools to carry out hacks. While some experts have questioned whether Trickbot itself was used in the attacks against hospitals last week, the ransomware attacks mirrored tactics used by the Russian-speaking cybercrime ring that developed Trickbot.

The recent cyberattacks also raise concerns about Election Day — experts have long warned that ransomware hackers could target voting systems to cause chaos on Election Day, and Microsoft explicitly said that it aimed to disrupt Trickbot near to the election to fend off such attacks. The US Military's Cyber Command also assisted with the effort specifically to protect voting systems from Trickbot, The Washington Post reported.

"Our disruption is intended to disable Trickbot's infrastructure and make it difficult for its operators to enable ransomware attacks, which have been identified as one of the biggest threats to the upcoming U.S. elections," Microsoft VP for security Tom Burt said in a blog post last month, claiming that Microsoft disabled 94% of Trickbot's infrastructure globally.

Burt also warned that even if Trickbot is handicapped, the botnet's developers could quickly find other tactics, noting that "there is not always a straight line to success."

Security experts told Business Insider that the ransomware hackers' resilience is a sign that their operations are unlikely to be completely thwarted by Election Day. It's is also another sign that hackers and their malware have grown more formidable, even against security giants like Microsoft.

Microsoft did not provide an on-the-record statement in response to Business Insider's request for comment. We will update this article if that changes.

Some cybersecurity experts questioned whether Microsoft's announcement on disrupting Trickbot overstated their success at neutralizing the cybercriminals behind the bot network.

"The Trickbot disruption efforts looked more like a PR stunt rather than a takedown operation. By now it's pretty clear to everyone that Trickbot is not going away anytime soon," Stefan Tanase, a cybercrime analyst, told Business Insider.

Other experts say they believe Microsoft's disruption of Trickbot was effective, but that the recent surge in attacks shows hackers' resourcefulness in evading such crackdowns. The FBI said cybercriminals behind the recent attacks on US hospitals used Trickbot in conjunction with a strain of ransomware called Ryuk and a different botnet called BazarLoader, which could ultimately replace long-established botnets like Trickbot.

"There is no doubt that the actions by Microsoft and US Cyber Command significantly disrupted Trickbot. The series of attacks on hospitals may have been the result of old and previously unexploded ordnance being detonated via Trickbot's remaining infrastructure," Brett Callow, a researcher with the cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, told Business Insider.

Hacker groups could also be retaliating against the attempted Trickbot takedown by Microsoft and the US government, according to Caleb Barlow, CEO of the security firm CynergisTek.

"The timing of this threat raises many eyebrows, occurring just two weeks after an attempted takedown of TrickBot by the U.S. government and Microsoft and less than a week out from the Presidential election," Barlow said via email. "TrickBot may have been significantly disrupted but it is also clearly resilient."

These experts and others say they see ransomware as an Election Day threat because they could be used to cause chaos or force local governments to pay hefty ransoms.

The ransomware works by handicapping victims' computer systems to extort them. Cybercriminals send their victims phishing links that appear to be trustworthy in order to get their login credentials; from there, they break into an organizations' computer systems and install the ransomware, which locks down the systems until victims pay a ransom.

There's no indication that hackers would be able to alter vote tallies with the ransomware; rather, cyberattacks could disrupt local elections offices' administrative processes to slow the counting of ballots or make it harder for officials to announce the results of elections. US officials said last month that Russian hackers have targeted local elections offices, stealing voter data from at least two servers, possibly with the intent of disrupting their operations.

The recent string of ransomware attacks appear to be purely profit-motivated, experts said, but cybercriminals may see voting systems on Election Day as a highly profitable target given their crucial function.

"The ransomware business is all about putting pressure on the victim to pay. The more critical the target is, the easier it is for cybercriminals to extort money," Tanase said.

Ransomware attacks have risen by 50% over the past three months, according to security firm Check Point, and experts say ransomware attacks will continue to proliferate as long as victims keep paying ransoms. Some firms have called on lawmakers to ban ransom payments in order to choke out incentives for criminals.

Even if Trickbot were successfully dismantled, cybercriminals would likely find other avenues as long as ransomware hacking remains profitable, according to Kurt Baumgartner, a researcher with cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

"This group came back with a different bot family known as Bazar which is effectively replacing their Trickbot use," Baumgartner said. "Unfortunately, their formula for penetrating networks, disrupting them, and coercing for ransom is one that continues to work for them in the US."

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The Big 4 tech companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google — blew past Wall Street estimates in their latest-quarter earnings reports

Bezos Cook Zuckerberg Pichai
Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai.
  • Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook reported their third-quarter earnings on Thursday.
  • These four, along with Microsoft, are the five most valuable publicly traded companies on the S&P 500.
  • The companies exceeded Wall Street estimates, maintaining strong momentum that boosted revenues in the previous quarter as online business booms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Google and Amazon crushed expectations, while Facebook and Apple squeezed by with earnings just slightly higher than Wall Street predicted.
  • The earnings were reported as the tech companies were under unprecedented scrutiny from US lawmakers and regulators over their market dominance.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Alphabet

Google parent company Alphabet reported revenue of $46.17 billion, an increase of roughly 14% year over year. The revenue beat Wall Street estimates, closing what CEO Sundar Pichai called "a strong quarter, consistent with the broader online environment." The search giant's stock soared by at least 5% in after-hours trading.

  • Revenue: $46.17 billion ($42.88 billion expected, according to analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance)
  • Earnings per share (GAAP): $16.40 ($11.21 expected, according to analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance)
  • Net income: $11.25 billion 
  • Google Cloud revenue: $3.44 billion
  • YouTube ad revenue: $5.03 billion

Facebook

Facebook reported moderate growth, inching past Wall Street estimates for daily active users and reporting 22% revenue growth year over year. However, DAUs and MAUs in the US and Canada declined slightly since the second quarter, which Facebook attributed to changes in browsing behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Facebook stock was slightly down on Thursday after the close of trading.

  • Revenue: $21.47 billion ($19.82 billion expected, according to analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance)
  • Earnings per share (EPS) GAAP: $2.71 ($1.91 expected, according to analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance)
  • Daily active Facebook users: 1.82 billion (1.79 billion expected according to analysts surveyed by FactSet)
  • Monthly active Facebook users: 2.74 billion (2.5 expected according to analysts surveyed by FactSet)

Apple

Apple slightly exceeded Wall Street estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter, powered by international sales, which accounted for 59% of the company's revenue during the quarter. Apple's stock fell in after-hours trading as iPhone sales continued their decline. The company's new iPhone 12, which is expected to kick off an upgrade "supercycle" and bring its iPhone business back to growth, was released later than usual this year, and sales numbers won't be reported until next quarter. 

  • Revenue: $64.7 billion ($63.7 billion expected according to analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance)
  • EPS (GAAP): $0.73 ($0.70 expected according to analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance)
  • iPhone revenue: $26.4 billion
  • Services revenue: $14.5 billion
  • Wearables revenue: $7.8 billion

Amazon

Amazon blew past Wall Street estimates, with $96.1 billion in revenue and sales growth of 37%. Amazon stock was up by as much as 2% in after-hours trading. Its revenue was powered by its Amazon Web Services sales of $11.6 billion for the quarter, up 29% year over year.

  • Revenue: $96.1 billion ($92.7 billion expected according to analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance)
  • EPS (GAAP): $12.37 ($7.41 expected according to analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance)
  • AWS revenue: $11.6 billion
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Republicans used a Senate hearing to criticize tech CEOs for fact-checking Trump’s posts before the election

jack dorsey senate testimony
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey answered questions from senators during a hearing focused on Section 230 on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
  • Senate Republicans berated the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google on Wednesday, claiming that the tech companies discriminated against conservatives with policies against misinformation related to COVID-19 and mail-in voting.
  • The CEOs were subpoenaed to appear at the four-hour hearing, which was nominally focused on rewriting Section 230, a foundational law of the internet that could reshape or destroy the tech companies' businesses if repealed.
  • But Section 230 itself was rarely discussed during the hearing. Instead, it focused on the tech companies' steps to fact-check false claims posted by President Donald Trump, which Republicans said amounted to censorship.
  • Meanwhile, Democrats voiced concerns that tech companies would be too willing to bend to Republicans' wishes in the week leading up to the election.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter were subpoenaed to testify before Congress on Wednesday about Section 230, a foundational law of the internet that both Democrats and Republicans are angling to rewrite.

But Section 230 itself barely came up at the hearing.

Instead, GOP members of the Republican-led Senate Commerce Committee used their time to grill the CEOs about their treatment of President Donald Trump's posts, and how those decisions could impact the results of the general election next week.

The hearing amounted to a political fight in which Republicans broadly accused tech companies of favoring liberal causes — which the CEOs vehemently denied — while Democrats voiced concerns that Republicans were "working the refs" to pressure the companies not to take action against potential false claims made by Trump about the results of the election.

Republican senators needled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey about their decisions to apply fact-checking labels to Trump's posts that include false claims about COVID-19 or mail-in voting, arguing that the labels amount to censorship. 

"I don't like the idea of unelected elites in San Francisco or Silicon Valley deciding whether my speech is permissible on their platform," Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, said.

Republicans also accused the tech companies of systemically censoring or quashing conservative accounts, pointing to anecdotal instances of content moderation despite the fact that data shows conservative outlets regularly generate more engagement on social media. They further claimed that tech companies are primarily staffed by liberal-leaning employees — an assertion that Dorsey and Pichai denied but Zuckerberg said may be true.

And they raised concerns about Twitter's decision to restrict the spread of a recent New York Post article about Hunter Biden for violating its policy against sharing hacked materials. (Twitter reversed the policy within 24 hours of the story's publication and has since allowed the story to be shared.)

"Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear?" Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, said during the hearing.

In response to Republicans' questions, Dorsey, Zuckerberg, and Pichai said that their companies each rely on algorithms and tens of thousands of human content moderators to determine which posts violate their rules, maintaining that their companies do not favor one political party over another. Dorsey went a step further, arguing that he does not believe Twitter — which is used by roughly 22% of US adults — has the capacity to influence the outcome of a US election.

"We are just one part of a spectrum of distribution channels that people have at their disposal," Dorsey said, adding that Twitter should become "much more transparent about our process" for content moderation.

Democrats at the hearing slammed Republicans for their lines of questioning, accusing them of politicizing the hearing to pressure tech companies not to take action against Trump's posts.

"I have never seen a hearing so close to an election on any topic let alone something that is so obviously a violation of our obligation under the law," Sen. Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, said. "There is a good reason we don't call people here to yell at them for not doing our bidding during an election. Its a misuse of tax payer dollars. It is a scar on this committee."

There were occasional glimmers of agreement between Democrats and Republicans during the hearing, especially when the topic turned to Section 230 itself. Senators from both parties argued that the law affords tech companies too much legal immunity, and that new standards should be put in place for transparency in content moderation decisions.

"What can we do is focus on transparency," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat."We need to establish the kind of oversight that we all want to continue to have a diversity of voices."

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