As private equity firms and strategic buyers pounce on the M&A opportunities within cloud computing, a handful of venture capital-backed startups are focusing on helping companies migrate traditional legacy systems to the cloud.

These startups may soon attract buyers. "As these companies and others continue to mature, we will see strategics and private equity firms show interest in owning them," says Devin Matthews, a partner with ParkerGale Capital. "These are technologies that are emerging and will be important to the landscape moving forward." Here’s a trio of cloud migration startups to keep an eye on:

* Apprenda is a Troy, New York-based software company looking to transform legacy infrastructure into a hybrid cloud application platform. It's a platform that an enterprise can install on existing hardware under existing applications. It makes all hardware in an organization feel like a single platform for applications to run on. The software developer has raised $16 million from Safeguard Scientifics, Ignition Partners and New Enterprise Associates.

* Cloudhouse Technologies liberates existing Windows client and server applications by allowing them to run on modern 64-bit operating systems and remote deployment environments, such as cloud, without changes to application code and with no detrimental impact to end users. In November 2013, the Atherton, California-based business was named one of three finalists for the Up-Start Cloud Award for Best Application Platform.

* Corent has developed a platform for software-as-a-service (SaaS) enabled software applications that saves development time and cost by determining if and how best the existing software can be moved to the cloud, repackaging the software for the cloud and then automatically moving it to the cloud, and transforming the software into SaaS so it can be deployed as a cost effective subscription service. At the end of December 2014, the Aliso Viejo, California-based company raised $2.1 million from Foley Ventures, the investment arm of national law firm Foley & Lardner.

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