CloudFlare Raises $110M from Microsoft, Google To Protect Web Sites
Founded in 2009, CloudFlare, a company that pledges to "supercharge" Web sites from the network's edge, has just raised $110 million from some big names in tech, including Baidu, Fidelity, Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm. The company also secured $50 million in late 2012.
CloudFlare provides cloud-based security and performance services for Web sites that work at the DNS level, meaning that customers don't need to purchase any new hardware or software. The company has said it provides services for several million Web sites a month.
Based in San Francisco, the company routes customers' incoming traffic through its network of data centers in different parts of the globe. It then checks for potential threats and optimizes content delivery through a combination of analytics, static content caching and high-speed network connections.
Plans To Double Presence in 2016
"At the time of our last fundraising in December 2012, CloudFlare was a team of 37 operating a network in 23 cities and 15 countries," special projects lead Joshua Motta said in a blog post announcing the new round of funding. "[T]oday we number over 200 with a presence in 62 cities and 33 countries."
CloudFlare now handles nearly one trillion page views a month across four million Internet properties and by next year, the company expects to more than double its global presence, he said.
"To sustain this level of growth requires investment," Motta added, noting that's why the company pursued the latest funding round of $110 million. "Beyond the additional capital raised, the broad, strategic participation in the round from many of the world's leading technology firms validates the opportunity ahead of us, and positions us for the next chapter of our growth."
Building on 'Project Honey Pot'
CEO Matthew Prince [pictured] and lead engineer Lee Holloway worked together for several years before co-founding CloudFlare. One of their first ventures was called "Project Honey Pot," a system designed to enable Web sites to track how spammers harvest e-mail addresses.
Prince later met Michelle Zatlyn, currently in charge of user experience for CloudFlare, while the two were enrolled at Harvard Business School. Zatlyn saw an opportunity to develop a more extensive service similar to Project Honey Pot, and -- together with Prince and Holloway -- began working on a prototype and business plan. CloudFlare won the school's business plan competition in 2009.
The company's current vision is now shared with many of the world's leading technology firms and investors, according to Motta. "Each of Fidelity, Microsoft, Baidu, Qualcomm and Google are uniquely positioned to support CloudFlare's evolution in a rapidly evolving environment, and address key questions," he said.
Those questions address issues such as what the company's mobile strategy should be, how it should work with China and with large enterprises, and how CloudFlare could eventually go public, he said. By offering funding without expecting board representation or other controls, CloudFlare's investors will allow the company to make those decisions and execute against its vision without distraction, he added.