Before a startup has a product ready to sell, it usually keeps its mouth shut about what it’s working on. In the tech industry, that’s called “stealth mode.”
Most startups either bootstrap or live on a small seed investment while in stealth mode. They use that time to build the product, get some beta testers, and make a business case. They take all of that to the venture capitalists to raise the funds they need to operate.
But some startups are able to raise huge amounts of cash while still underground.
The folks at CB Insights, which collects data on venture funding startups, recently sifted through its massive database to find the most well-funded startups still in stealth mode.
Company name: ProtectWise
Total raised to date: $US17 million from Crosslink Capital and Trinity Ventures.
What we know about it: ProtectWise is a Denver-based startup doing a cloud-computing product for the computer security market.
It's led by Scott Chasin, founder of MX Logic, which he sold to McAfee for $US140 million in 2009.
Company name: NextBit Systems
Total raised to date: $18 million from Accel Partners and Google Ventures.
What we know about it: NextBit Systems is doing something in mobile, possible a mobile storage product. Cofounded by Tom Moss and Mike Chan. Moss ran the Android Business Development team at Google from 2007 until 2010) and is a board member at Cyanogen, an open version of Android.
Chan was an Android engineer at Google, left for Android security startup 3LM, acquired by Motorola Mobility, and then Google bought Motorola.
Company name: CNEX Labs
Total raised to date: $20 million from IDEA Fund Partners and Sierra Ventures.
What we know about it: CNEX Labs is a San Jose startup working on big data storage. Cofounded by Yiren Huang, a chip engineer formerly of Huawei/Brocade/Cisco and Alan Armstrong, formerly of semi-conductor company Marvell.
Company name: Jut
Total raised to date: $20 million from Accel Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
What we know about it: Jut is working on a 'data analytics' product that makes it easier for people to get insights about their business by asking questions.
Founded by Steven McCanne who launched his career as a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory working in early internet tech. He later founded FastForward Networks (sold for $US1.3 billion in 2000), and Riverbed Technology.
Company name: Layer3 TV
Total raised to date: $21 million from Evolution Media Growth Partners, Genovation Capital, Northbridge Equity Partners.
What we know about it: Layer3 TV is a Boston startup working on some kind of cable TV product that will blend television and social apps.
It was cofounded by Dave Fellows and Jeff Binder. Fellows was CTO of Comcast and CTO of AT&T before that. Binder was previously an exec at Motorola.
Company name: Tyto Life
Total raised to date: $23 million from Mohr Davidow Ventures and other undisclosed investors.
What we know about it: Tyto Life is a Burlingame, California, startup working on consumer products around The Internet of Things, which are everyday devices embedded with chips and sensors that can be controlled with apps over the internet.
It was founded by John Martin and Sam Jadallah, former Microsoft execs during the years when Microsoft employees grew rich on stock options.
Martin went on to work for Apple and Nokia. Jadallah has been an angel investor for decades in companies like Blingo, Elixir, and Blue Kai.
Company name: Qumulo
Total raised to date: $US25 million from Highland Capital Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and Valhalla Partners.
What we know about it: Qumulo is a Seattle-based startup working on enterprise computer storage. Cofounder Peter Godman was an executive of Isilon Systems bought by EMC in 2010 for $US2.25 billion.
Company name: Illumio
Total raised to date: $42 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Data Collective, Formation 8, General Catalyst Partners, and Juniper Networks.
What we know about it: Illumio is a Sunnyvale, California, startup working on securing applications in the cloud. It was founded by Andrew Rubin (not the Android guy), the former CEO of security company Cymtec Systems.
Company name: Primary Data
Total raised to date: $US60 million from Accel Partner, Battery Ventures, Cedar Fund Venture, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Mercato Partners.
What we know about it: Primary Data is a Salt Lake City area startup working on a big data, cloud-computing product, most likely involving computer storage.
It was founded by Fusion-io founders David Flynn and Rick White, who led Fusion-io through a high-flying IPO in 2011. Things went south in 2013, and the founders left and fired up this startup.
It is scheduled to come out of stealth in November.
Company name: Vessel
Total raised to date: $US75 million from Benchmark, Greylock Partners, and Bezos Expeditions.
What we know about it: Vessel is a San Francisco startup working on something to do with internet video. It is cofounded by Jason Kilar, former CEO of Hulu, and an Amazon exec before that. His cofounder is former Hulu CTO Richard Tom.
Company name: Jet.com
Total raised to date: $US80 million from Accel Partners, Bain Capital, MentorTech, New Enterprise Associates, and Silicon Valley Bank.
What we know about it: Jet.com is a New York e-commerce startup cofounded by Marc Lore the former CEO of Diapers.com, which sold to Amazon for $US545 million in 2011.
Company name: Soft Machines
Total raised to date: $96 million from OneAngstrom, Russian Venture Company, and Techfarm Ventures.
What we know about it: Soft Machines is a Santa Clara, California, startup that, despite the huge amount of money raised, and the fact that it was founded a while ago, in 2006, is really under the radar.
Word is, they are ex Intel execs Mohammed Abdallah and Mahesh Lingareddi working on microchips. Abdallah is said to have 30 microchip patents.