There are few clearer bellwethers as to the imminent direction of technology than where venture capitalists put their money. They're about making money, so they look for industry patterns they think will lead to sure bets. And that means they invest where the tech industry has begun to coalesce its thinking, not on exotic new science fiction. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, VCs have invested a total of $57 billion in startups -- mostly tech ones -- in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
InfoWorld also tracks tech startups but through a different lens. Our concern isn't about a financial investment but about real technology innovation -- what will drive technology forward in ways that could revolutionize some aspect of business IT? That's why for the third year, we have selected the hottest technology startups, with the emphasis on "technology." What did we seek? At least one of three qualities: truly new technologies, innovative approaches within existing technology areas, and technologies applied in new ways to solve different problems.
Here are our winners for 2008, in alphabetical order.
Hot Tech Startup: Aerohive Networks
Tech breakthrough: A centrally managed wireless network built around a controllerless architecture that can scale to thousands of access points.
Business problem addressed: As wireless networking becomes more central to the enterprise, wireless LANs need to become much faster, more scalable, and more resilient at a reasonable price point. By incorporating authentication, access control, and other functions into the access point, Aerohive promises greater flexibility and lower deployment costs than controller-based wireless LAN solutions.