14. Cloudera

Managing big data

Founders: Mike Olson, Amr Awadallah, Jeff Hammerbacher, Christophe Bisciglia
Launched: 2008
Funding: $1 billion
Valuation: $4.1 billion
Disrupting: Big data
Rival: N/A

(Left to right) Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly and co-founder and CSO Mike Olson
Source: Cloudera
(Left to right) Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly and co-founder and CSO Mike Olson

The amount of data that companies collect, use and store is growing exponentially. And with this reality comes the challenge of how to effectively and efficiently manage it all. That's where Cloudera comes in. The Palo Alto, California-based company was started in 2008 and offers companies software for business-critical data challenges, including storage, access, management, analysis, security and search. By tapping into new volumes and varieties of data, companies can use that data to deliver a better customer experience. Additionally, with improved insight into how products are made, a company can use this data to identify manufacturing inefficiencies that, when fixed, can potentially help cut operating costs.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2016 DISRUPTOR 50

Cloudera claims there are more than 20,000 companies using its software globally, including MasterCard, Cisco Systems, and Caesars Entertainment.

"We're already helping doctors diagnose and cure deadly diseases, farmers feed more people with fewer chemicals, and energy companies produce and distribute cleaner power." -Mike Olson, co-founder and chief strategy officer

The company was co-founded by Amr Awadallah, who was born and educated in Egypt and came to the United States to earn a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 2007. He's now Cloudera's chief technology officer.

The company has raised a whopping $1 billion in venture capital from Intel, Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, yet rumors still swirl that CEO Tom Reilly was brought in in 2013 to ready the company for a sale. The company denies that's the case and said an IPO will eventually happen but isn't in any rush to get the process under way.

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