What started as a simple initiative to identify email spam has now transformed into a notable startup success story. Launched in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, Cloudflare continues to work on its primary goal, i.e. to help build a better and safer internet. It offers wide ranging services that seek to boost performance, reliability and security of websites and internet applications. Some of the key services provided by Cloudflare are meant to achieve critical deliverables such as accelerating internet application and mobile experiences, ensuring application availability, curbing DDoS attacks, preventing customer data breaches, and eliminating malicious bot abuse.
The idea for Cloudflare was proposed in 2009, but the primary inspiration came in 2004, when Matthew Prince and Lee Holloway were looking for a way to identify the source of email spam. They developed a system called Honey Pot that would allow website owners to track spammers. As many websites signed up for project Honey Pot, the founders faced the next challenge when they were asked to stop the spammers and not just track them. When Matthew was pursuing his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 2009, he met Michelle Zatlyn. They started discussing the project Honey Pot and soon Michelle realized that the idea has great potential and it can be taken to the next level by developing a new system that would stop email spammers. Subsequently, Cloudflare was launched in 2009.
Over the years, Cloudflare has launched several new products and services and has data centers all across the globe. It has offices in Singapore, Austin, Washington D.C., London, Boston and Champaign. Currently, it carries more web traffic than the combined web traffic of Wikipedia, Apple, Twitter, Bing, Instagram and Amazon. Whenever Cloudflare makes changes to its code to improve web performance and security, it benefits more than 200 million web users globally. Cloudflare is backed by technology giants such as Google, Microsoft, Baidu, and Qualcomm and it’s being used by more than 10 million internet applications and APIs. Some of its top clients include Cisco, IBM, Zendesk, Crunchbase, Udacity, and DigitalOcean.
Cloudflare has received investments worth around $182 million through 5 rounds of funding. Top investors include Fidelity Investments, Pelion Venture Partners, Venrock, New Enterprise Associates, Union Square Ventures, and Greenspring Associates. Matthew Prince, one of the co-founders, currently serves as the CEO of Cloudflare. Co-founder Michelle Zatlyn serves as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and co-founder Lee Holloway is the lead engineer at Cloudflare.