In the year 2021, which one could accurately title the year of the cloud, it was found that 92% of enterprises are employing a multi-cloud strategy and 82% a hybrid cloud strategy. What is more, this marks the fifth year in a row that cloud cost optimization is a top priority for businesses, with 61% of companies overall using cost efficiency and cost savings to measure cloud progress.

The savings, and heartache, thanks to cloud savings are undeniable. This somewhat demands constantly evolving innovation—catalyzing a bit of an arms race for leaders in the cloud space to think of the next best thing since sliced bread. Here are 150sec’s 2021 leaders in the cloud.

1- Adam Selipsky, AWS 

We will T things off first with the most well-known and widely used cloud-based platform, AWS. An early leader in public cloud computing—AWS has since become a major player in AI, database, machine learning, and serverless deployments. Setting the pace in the cloud, AWS was the first to offer cloud computing infrastructure as a service in 2008 and has never looked back. 

Having previously led AWS marketing, sales, and support for 11 years, Adam Selipsky helped launch and grow AWS from a startup into a multi-billion dollar business from 2005-2016 and now rejoins AWS in 2021. Selipsky works from the previous experience of being president and CEO of Tableau Software, leading its acquisition by Salesforce, and making for the third-largest software industry attainment to date. 

AWS offers a myriad of tools and solutions for enterprises and software developers that are currently employed in data centers in up to 190 countries. Groups such as government agencies, education institutions, nonprofits, and private organizations use AWS services—with big players from businesses such as Netflix, Airbnb, and Spotify.

2- Shihab Muhammed, SurveySparrow

Realizing that he hadn’t met many, if any, people that seemed enthusiastic about filling in surveys was the ultimate “aha” moment for founder and CEO of SurveySparrow, Shihab Muhammed. As a software as a service (SaaS) entrepreneur and growth leader who has built and scaled multi-million dollar SaaS products—Muhammed thought long and hard about how he might be able to change the HR survey runaround. 

Initial troubleshooting started with putting together a feedback tool that took the “boring” out of surveys. Inspired to keep the forms as conversational and intuitive as possible, Muhammed drew inspiration from WhatsApp’s chat interface, and thus SurveySparrow was born. The platform has extended and is continuously improving every aspect, guaranteeing 40% more response rates, with a cloud initiative that introduces the world’s first chat surveys. 

SurveySparrow has since grown from a feedback tool to a complete omnichannel experience platform as Muhammed works passionately to build one of the most user-friendly SaaS platforms out there.

3- Rahul Bhavsar, CloudBlue

A serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in developing and scaling self-sustainable SaaS and technology services companies across India, the Middle East, and Africa—Rahul Bhavsar brings a lot to the table for leading ecosystem orchestration platform CloudBlue.

As the global platform strategy leader for CloudBlue, he helps to define the vision and the go-to-market strategy for CloudBlue’s end-to-end digital supply chain platforms. This connects vendor and go-to-market platforms by automating the distribution of traditional and digital products and services across partners in the value chain. 

Bhavsar specializes in product strategy, product monetization, SaaS solutions and services, channel enablement, and GTM strategy and planning. This intel helps him to be a liaison to CloudBlue’s 180+ client companies around the globe—making for the world’s largest cloud B2B marketplace, representing 30 million B2B cloud subscriptions, and proving that CloudBlue truly leads the way in B2B cloud innovation.

4- Sashank Purighalla, BOS Framework

BOS Framework is an end-to-end automation platform that is form-fitted to Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure infrastructure. As the simplest and fastest way to bring security and continuous regulatory compliance to your entire product ecosystem, BOS eliminates a business’ need to constantly update niche tools and licenses that seem to change on the minute in the modern day. 

BOS framework’s CEO and founder Sashank Purighalla, a technology leader with a strong product development background, brings 20 years of experience working with various organizations across North America, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and India. Having led several startups and enterprises in a multitude of industries, he has a keen eye for business efficiencies when it comes to applying the right technology solutions quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

BOS Is a scalable, flexible, and extensible platform that can launch technology products quickly by securely layering the ideas the clients bring to the table. This allows clients to enjoy quick time to market and lower development costs by streamlining and utilizing multiple applications that work for them in a customized way. While still fostering the capacity to independently source, BOS also brings hands-free maintenance to the cloud sphere.

5- Johnny Boufarhat, Hopin

Hopin is a platform that supports virtual, hybrid, and in-person events all on one easy-to-use platform. This has enabled customers from Twitch to the New York Jets to create online events by mimicking in-person ones—custom-fitted to the client and their participants’ needs. The genesis of the idea behind Hopin came from the fact that founder Johnny Boufarhat has an autoimmune disease that forced him to be at home most of the time in the twilight years of his diagnosis. He wanted to create a way in which he could continue to network without in-person interaction—something that naturally boomed in the pandemic. 

The 27-year-old London-based engineer now steers one of the fastest-growing companies in history. When the COVID-19 entered the picture, his small video conferencing startup had just six employees and now has more than 1,000 and is valued at almost $8 billion. Transitioning from an at-home entrepreneur to the CEO of a leading events platform in a little over two years—Boufarhat has had to think quickly on his feet.

Designed for its clients to custom-build any event, Hopin makes planning, producing, and reliving event experiences easier than ever. Hopin includes features like reception, expo, networking, and more. Annual recurring revenue already topped $85 million in the past 12 months, and the company has attracted more than $1 billion from top-tier investors.

6- Suren Ayriyan, TEMPO

With globalization increasing rapidly, the need to securely send money across borders is becoming more and more of a necessity. TEMPO is a cloud platform that works to make money transfers more available to a larger number of users—regardless of nationality and location. With a focus on digitalization and development, this platform is designed to enable clients to send and receive money within a few clicks and reduce transfer costs.

President and CEO of TEMPO, Suren Ayriyan is an experienced fintech entrepreneur with a long track record of working in the financial services industry. With a myriad of skills across the specialties of negotiation, business planning, electronic payments, banking, and credit cards—Ayriyan has a strong savvy for business development.

With many banks and payment systems overcharging and underserving, TEMPO uses a partner network worldwide to reduce transaction fees worldwide.TEMPO’s team is constantly innovating and exploring new technological breakthroughs to make life easier for clients and partners—manifesting a needed innovative financial niche in the cloud space.

7- Brandee Daly, SMX

SMX strives to assist businesses in feeling confident in their cloud services, promising a cloud initiative with a focus on accelerating business transformation securely, efficiently, and effectively. Having driven cloud modernization since its earliest days, SMX shares strategies, shortcuts, and avoidable roadblocks to their customers—along with where, when, and how to enable the right technologies for optimal performance. 

With more than 25 years of experience leveraging technological innovation, Brandee Daly has driven program improvement and strategy to build successful teams and businesses. As CEO at SMX, she has helped dozens of businesses and public sector organizations successfully migrate, manage, and optimize their technology and cloud infrastructure.

Their five-stage Cloud Assured Framework ensures to support companies at every step of their cloud transition, no matter where they are in their journey. From application re-development to multi-cloud implementations, to design and integration, SMX positions you to be more competitive and agile, today and in the future.

8- Jean-Paul Smets, Rapid.Space

Currently, vendor lock-in dominates the cloud sphere, but this particular innovative cloud provider looks to instead help increase competition in the market. Rapid.Space is a unique “fully open” cloud provider focusing on openness, transparency, and reversibility.

Jean-Paul Smets, the CEO, and founder of Rapid.Space, has more than 20 years in the telecommunication industry, and his expertise covers Edge, Cloud, Open Source, Open Compute, and virtualized radio access network (vRAN).

Rapid.Space is a high-performance ethical cloud platform entirely based on open source, open hardware, and open process. By allowing users to copy its cloud platform and adopt the same operation management processes, Rapid.Space encourages strategic autonomy, fair pricing, and fair competition without vendor lock-in.

9- Dave McJannet, HashiCorp

HashiCorp is a cloud company that sticks to the guiding principle that infrastructure enables innovation. The company strives to help organizations operate that infrastructure with a suite of multi-cloud infrastructure automation products. HashiCorp supports eight of the Fortune 10, well over 100 of the Fortune 500, a material proportion of the Global 2000, and most of the world’s largest cloud-native organizations.

CEO of HashiCorp, Dave McJannet, has more than 20 years of experience spanning product management, operations, finance, and marketing with a focus on open-source and infrastructure software. Prior to HashiCorp, he ran marketing at GitHub and Hortonworks, with previous experience at both SpringSource and Microsoft as well. 

With open-source projects at their core, HashiCorp underpins the most important applications for the largest enterprises in the world. From well-known brands to ambitious startups, companies all along the spectrum rely on Hashicorp’s solutions to provision, secure, connect, and run their business-critical applications. Enabling organizations to adopt the (multi-) cloud operating model for infrastructure, this cloud platform gives businesses the capacity to deliver essential services, communications tools, and entertainment platforms worldwide.

10- Marc Meyer, Transmetrics

The supply chain is one of the most buzz-worthy topics right now, mostly because it is in the midst of a huge (and much needed) transition from its antiquated ways. Transmetrics is a state-of-the-art AI cloud platform developed exclusively for the supply chain to support this needed shift, but skyrocket the whole transportation network into the future. 

Helping to blaze the trail for this company is CCO Marc Meyer, who started as head of marketing and moved into this higher leadership role within the last year. He embraces hands-on commercial strategies and translates business strategies into objective actions. Bringing in experience from both startups and corporates alike, Meyer has helped to increase success in upscaling, lead generation, strategic deal-making, and brand building at Transmetrics.

Transmetrics has strategic locations in Sofia, Bulgaria, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Dubai, UAE—connecting international markets and opening new ones through integrated marketing and sales strategies. This cloud contender optimizes transport planning by leveraging the power of predictive analytics, with top-tier logistics companies worldwide that have experienced an up to 25% reduction in transport costs while increasing their fleet utilization up to 14%. 

11- John Street, Pax8

Pax8, a (US) Colorado-based provider of cloud management technologies, simplifies the way organizations buy, sell, and manage cloud solutions—empowering their partners to achieve more with cloud technology. Their born-in-the-cloud platform modernizes the channel’s cloud journey with consolidated billing, automated provisioning, and industry-leading PSA integrations—providing the resources companies need to grow their cloud business.

CEO of Pax 8, John Street, is an experienced startup leader across multiple industries, including telecom, IT, and biotech. His leadership specialties include Managed Services, Channel Development, Business IT Systems, and Sales Process. Street has founded eight successful businesses that have appeared on the Inc. 500 seven times and been recognized for many prestigious awards, including EY Entrepreneur of the Year recipient, Top Channel “Disrupter” by CRN, and a Grammy Award finalist. 

Pax8 focuses on automation and simplicity for partners, while simultaneously embracing a rigorous process to approve vendors—with vendor applicants going through a more than 150-step process before launching with the company. This unique approach tightly couples their technology platform with unparalleled customer service, simplifying cloud adoption for businesses. 

12- Rodrigo Tumaián, Prometeo

Providing the largest open banking platform in Latin America, Prometeo provides a single point of access to 64 financial institutions across 9 countries in the region. With 100% digital and scalable financial solutions, the company uses the cloud to help businesses access users’ key information, helping them develop the integrations they need in half the time.

Rodrigo Tumaián, co-founder and CEO of Prometeo, brings more than 12 years of experience in computer security in working for both national and international companies. Bringing the benefits he has realized in his work history from both multinational and small companies, he seeks to build companies with the flexibility to grow and adapt to changes while maintaining clear processes to generate a clear and orderly framework.

Making APIs simple, Prometeo connects to financial institutions using JSON format as text structure for simple data exchange. It’s easy to read and process by any system, no matter the language or framework. Prometeo connects a company’s bank accounts to any management or administration software, helping businesses manage multiple bank accounts with ease via the cloud.

13- Aidas Kavalis, Amberlo

Amberlo is a cloud-based case management software built for legal professionals, providing all the essential tools needed to help lawyers around the world organize, secure, and optimize their processes and information. Lawyers can use Amberlo to manage legal cases, contacts, and documents, plan activities, organize communication, take notes, track hours and expenses, issue invoices and get them paid on time—helping modern-day legal practice to run efficiently. 

Co-Founder Aidas Kavalis, has over 20 years of experience in designing and implementing cloud-based software for international enterprises from multiple industries. In the past 10 years, he has been focusing on legal solutions and is responsible for business and product strategy at Amberlo.

All of the sensitive data and network traffic between you and Amberlo servers is encrypted and protected from unauthorized access. Sensible data like passwords are fortified with end-to-end encryption and are only accessible by the client companies themselves. Amberlo is trusted by more than 1,000 legal professionals from more than 20 countries.

14- John L. Dusett, Ingram Micro Cloud

IT services providers around the world turn to Ingram Micro Cloud to help build and deliver the cloud solutions that power their businesses. Today, Ingram Micro Cloud delivers the broadest, fully automated marketplace of cloud services. The Ingram Micro Cloud community of IT resellers grow faster than any others by leveraging a hyper-scale cloud platform combined with an infinite ecosystem of innovative cloud solutions—including SaaS, IaaS, UCaaS, IoT, and cybersecurity—on top of expertise in go-to-market support.

John L. Dusett, who is the Sr. Executive in B2B Technology for Ingram Micro Cloud, has a passion for the challenges that B2B tech companies solve, leading teams that solve these challenges for clients. He boasts direct experience in predictive data analytics, business development, go-to-market strategy, demand generation, marketing automation, staffing/outsourcing, process improvement, and cost-effective service delivery, and has invested extensive time in “technology to services” transformation. 

Leading a dedicated team of cloud professionals serving MSPs and IT resellers in their pursuit of taking their clients to the cloud—Ingram Micro Cloud is comprised of industry experts in sales, marketing, product management, vendor management, customer service, and operations. Helping firms transform from “products” to “services”, Ingram Micro Cloud leads in the marketplace of the cloud.

15- Melanie Perkins, Canva

Canva is a disruptive online design and publishing tool and has been growing rapidly since its launch in August 2013. Now empowering millions of people from every corner of the globe to create great designs and reach their design goals, the cloud platform encompasses everything from greeting cards, PowerPoint presentations to posters, and websites to calendars. Originally Canvas Chef, CEO, and co-founder Melanie Perkins wanted to bring together all of the ingredients for beautiful designs into one platform.

Perkins raised one of Australia’s largest early-stage investment rounds with Canva. Her first company, Fusion Books, is an online design system for schools to create their yearbooks and  inspired the premise of Canva. Fusion Books is now the largest yearbook publisher in Australia and recently expanded to France and New Zealand. Perkins aims to make life easier for organizations of all sizes, from small businesses to Fortune 500s, and for individuals who need to communicate their ideas effectively in this ever-growing visual world.

As an online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere, Canva works to increase design literacy. Whether that’s landing a job with a stylish resume, getting a business off the ground by creating great marketing materials, or connecting with their community by designing great social media graphics—design savvy can take you a long way in 2021.

Cloud environments allow for easier integration with all other digital applications through the use of an interactive, robust, and multi-tenant platform. When applied strategically, cloud initiatives can propel businesses across industries into the future and bolster their success for years to come. 

Disclosure: This article features a client of an Espacio portfolio company.