31. Nebula

Cloud command-and-control system for multiple servers

Chris Kemp, co-founder of Nebula.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Chris Kemp, co-founder of Nebula.

Founders: Chris Kemp, Steve O'Hara
CEO: Gordon Stitt
Date launched: 2011
$28.5 million
Industries disrupted:
Enterprise Technology, Software, Tech Hardware
Disrupting: Amazon, Google, Microsoft
Competition: Egnyte, Nutanix, Pure Storage

Enterprise cloud computing may sound like a bit of a contradiction—after all, enterprise suggests internal locked-down systems, and the cloud is, well, the opposite. But that's exactly how Nebula bills itself. The Palo Alto, California-based company was started by Chris Kemp, a former chief information officer at NASA, to give companies the same cloud-computing power as giants such as Amazon and Google.

With nearly $30 million in venture funding from a platinum list of backers—including the trio of billionaires who made the first investment in Google and Comcast Ventures—the company introduced its first product, called Nebula One. The size of a 4-inch-tall pizza box, this piece of hardware essentially enables a company to tie together dozens of their traditional servers and consolidate their power for computing, storage and networking into one machine controlled by a single person and a mouse. This is possible because the technology is based on OpenStack (open source cloud-computing technology).


Nebula charges companies $100,000 for Nebula One, a fraction of what systems have cost to date. The company says customers include financial services companies, government agencies, such as the Palo Alto Research Center, and a large undisclosed biotech firm.

On the company's disruptive impact:

"We will deliver the Web-scale, cloud-computing infrastructure that’s been enjoyed by a small number of elite Internet companies to every business in America." -Chris Kemp, Co-founder and chief strategy officer


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