Here they are! The 19 media/analyst judges have reviewed all the nominees, and we are proud to announce the shortlist of 12 startups for the debut Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize for cloud innovation.

The Clouded Leopards Den recognizes startups in two categories – the earliest stage startups, who might be described as looking for Series A funding, and later-stage pre-IPO startups, who are looking for Series B/C funding. Of course, not all startups, including those in the Clouded Leopards Den, may be looking for funding at this moment. Even so, the judges found this to be a helpful way to make sure they were comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges. (No subtle references to Apple or Orange are implied here — while those companies certainly are innovative, they aren’t startups by any stretch of the imagination.)

The Clouded Leopards Den 2015 competition is sponsored by OpenCloud Connect, a global industry alliance founded to address the need for scaling and enhancing current network technologies to meet the stringent demands of delivering cloud services. The finalists will be announced on Friday, April 10.

 

Without further ado, here is the shortlist, starting with the six early-stage startups:

Innovate Create Limited — Based in Glasgow, Scotland, Innovate Create is developing Zephyr, which it describes as a single place to do all, seamlessly working throughout its customers digital lives, over all devices and integrating with the things they use daily. @inocr8

PeopleChoice — This startup, based in Mexico City, Mexico, is developing a cloud-based human resources platform that will help companies match job applicants to job openings according to their capabilities, accomplishments and skills.

TapLink — TapLink’s mission is to restore trust in passwords by making them unbreakable. This San Jose, Calif.-based company has developed a patent-pending two-pronged system that uses hashes to make it feasibly impossible to recover passwords from a stolen database. @JSpillman

Teowaki Ltd. — The London, U.K. company makes happier development teams by making it easier to share information, best practices and socialization. Teowaki also sponsors Datawaki, which collects technical and business data from Heroku applications to run queries, generate reports and get real-time alerts. @Teowaki

Truedash Ltd. — This London, U.K. firm offers a cloud, simple business intelligence platform, which takes an unlimited amount of data from disparate sources, unifies it, loads that data in to memory and provides powerful tools to visualize, explore and gain insight. @Truedash

VetCloud Ltd. — This Software-as-a-Service company that aims to sit at the center of the animal health ecosystem. Not only an improved health record, CRM tool and business analytics product for veterinarians, VetCloud enables users to actually use the data held within their system in a meaningful way. VetCloud is based in London, U.K. @VetCloud

 

And the six later-stage, pre-IPO startups:

CENX Inc. — CENX offers service orchestration solutions that automate the entire lifecycle of advanced data services in software-defined networks. The company, based in Ottawa, Ontario, changes how service providers build and manage their advanced data networking services by fusing big data analytics, and deep networking expertise. @cexninc

Gurucul — The Los Angeles, Calif.-based company supports enterprise security with user behavior-based machine learning and predictive analytics. Using identity to monitor for threats, Gurucul protects against targeted and under-the-radar attacks. The software proactively detects, prevents, and deters attacks using self-learning, behavioral anomaly detection algorithms. @gurucul

Knodium Ltd. — Knodium is a collaboration tool and cloud platform that enables students, lecturers and academics from universities throughout the world to collaborate openly online around discussion groups and shared resources. The London, U.K.-based company uses the cloud to stream, offer course management workflows, and drive social networking. @knodium

nCrypted Cloud — The company offers a enterprise-grade secure collaboration platform. One of the Boston, Mass. company’s software modules, Infinite Mail, alleviates security concerns that plague today’s enterprise mail users, puts new collaboration and control in the hands of data owners, and delivers the convenience of Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive or Egnyte via email. @nCryptedCloud

Viptela — The San Jose, Calif.-based company removes the leading barriers to adoption of software defined WANs It eliminates security concerns associated with broadband and public networks by providing integrated end-to-end security that encrypts every bit and byte of traffic on the network and enables security services like firewalls to be instantly activated. @Viptela

Waratek — Specializing in application security in the enterprise or cloud, this startup offers its Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP) for server side Java applications using patented Secure Java Containers. The Dublin, Ireland-based company secures Java in the enterprise, hybrid or public cloud with no code changes or agents required. @waratek

There’s the shortlist – congratulations to all 12 of these impressive startups. What do you think? Can you predict the finalists? Join the conversation @CloudLeopardDen. #CloudDenShortlist

The next round of judging, to determine the six finalists, will be announced a week later on Friday, Apr. 10. The top startups will be named at the Global Cloud Innovation Summit, to be held Apr. 23-24 in the San Francisco Bay Area.