As technology advances and morphs, startups continue to emerge, looking to differentiate themselves from the rest against incredible odds — some 90% of all startups fail, according to Forbes. (That’s in all fields; not just tech startups.) 

Identifying which will ultimately succeed or fail is like trying to find gold in the bottom of a stream. But that’s what the editors of SD Times look for each year: Those companies that have somehow shined more brightly than the others.

In some cases, we’ve found fool’s gold; in others, we’ve struck the mother lode. Having said all, here are the companies we think will pan out and find their pot at the end of the rainbow. (See what we did there?)

What they do: Work orchestration and observability
Why we are watching them: Cutover aims to enhance visibility and reduce risk by enabling software teams to plan, orchestrate, and analyze complex work better and faster.

What they do: DataOps
Why we are watching them: DataKitchen aims to automate and coordinate people, tools and environments of an entire data analytic organization. The company also works to help organizations on applying Agile, DevOps and Lean principles to their data processes with the DataOps Cookbook and manifesto.

What they do: AI-powered code analysis
Why we are watching them: DeepCode’s cloud service reviews code and provides alerts about critical vulnerabilities, with the intent of stopping security bugs from making it into production. The goal is to enable safer, cleaner code and deliver it faster.

What they do: DevOps monitoring
Why we are watching them: The company just released a pre-production monitoring solution that aims to combine security, performance and behavior monitoring. It features the company’s deep passive monitoring technology with its application runtime intelligence engine to find issues and risky and unexpected behavior changes between releases.

What they do: Self-service cloud environments
Why we are watching them: env0 wants to extend Infrastructure as Code capabilities by allowing teams to manage their own environments, governed by their own policies with complete visibility and cost management.  

What they do: Modern static web development
Why we are watching them: Netlify coined the term Jamstack, which stands for JavaScript, API, and markup. The Jamstack process aims to provide faster, more accessible, more maintainable and globally available websites and apps.

What they do: Serverless computing
Why we are watching them: Nuweba is a Function-as-a-Service platform provider with a mission to make serverless technology 10 times faster and safer. 

What they do: Software development productivity
Why we are watching them: The company aims to improve software development productivity. It just released an automated code review service called Sider, which automatically detects problem areas, sends reports to team members, and improves the software quality of code. 

What they do: Machine learning
Why we are watching them: Spell handles the infrastructure aspects of machine learning, which makes it easier for users to start machine learning projects, get results faster, and be more organized and safer than if they had to manage infrastructure on their own.

What they do: Network connectivity
Why we are watching them: Stateless network connectivity technology is designed to simplify how businesses access remote IT services and and cost-effectively use computing resources.

What they do: IoT Security
Why we are watching them: The company says it is taking a different approach to IoT security with embedded integrity verification technology (EIV). EIV puts integrity-based attack prevention directly in the device’s code and protects against remote code execution, USB socket exploitation, communication stack and protocol vulnerabilities, and OTA Update vulnerabilities. 

Symmetry Systems
What they do: Data security
Why we are watching them: Symmetry Systems just recently came out of stealth to help organizations protect sensitive data. Upon its launch, it released DataGuard to provide visibility into data objects across all data stores.
What do they do: Machine learning
Why we are watching them: Tecton wants to make machine learning accessible to everyone. It features an enterprise-ready data platform for developing and deploying high-quality features, building accurate training data sets, monitoring production features, and the ability to share, discover and re-use features across the organization. 

What they do: Managed open source
Why we are watching them: Tidelift helps organizations manage, secure and maintain their open-source software as well as helps compensate open-source maintainers for their projects. The company offers a subscription-based service for offloading licensing, security and maintenance aspects of open-source components. 

What they do: Automation for DevOps
Why we are watching them: Transposit is a next-generation platform for DevOps teams that incorporates human-centric automation to provide better context to incidents and operations. 

What they do: Front-end development
Why we are watching them: Vercel wants to improve the front-end development experience for JavaScript developers by bridging the gap between development feedback and release.