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How Cloudflare Began

In 2004, Matthew Prince and Lee Holloway set out to answer the basic question: “Where does email spam come from?” The two of them built a system that allowed anyone with a website to track how spammers harvested email addresses. Project Honey Pot was born.

Project Honey Pot quietly grew over the years. Lee’s flexible architecture adapted to track more of the threats that web administrators faced. Thousands of websites, from more than 185 countries, signed up to participate in the project. While users loved Project Honey Pot’s ability to track online malicious behavior, they had one repeated request: don’t just track the bad guys, stop them.

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Cloudflare's First Office in Palo Alto

In 2009, Matthew had taken a sabbatical from his full time work to get his MBA from the Harvard Business School. There he met Michelle Zatlyn, now Cloudflare’s Chief Operating Officer. The two were talking one day when Matthew mentioned Project Honey Pot and its amazing community of users. Michelle immediately recognized the opportunity to create a service that would take Project Honey Pot to the next level: not just tracking Internet threats, but stopping them too. The classmates started to work on a business plan.

One of the first orders of business was coming up with a name. The first business plan was titled “Project Web Wall,” but that hardly resonated. A friend of Matthew’s suggested that they were creating a “firewall in the cloud,” so it should be known as Cloudflare. The name immediately felt right and stuck. Matthew and Michelle worked with the faculty at the Harvard Business School to refine the business plan. In the meantime, Lee built the first working prototype in his spare time. In April 2009, Cloudflare won the prestigious Harvard Business School Business Plan competition.

Lee was based in California and, after graduating from HBS, Michelle and Matthew headed west. The three co-founders spent the summer refining the Cloudflare prototype. They felt that Cloudflare solved a real need and set out to take Cloudflare to the next level. In November of 2009, Cloudflare closed its Series A financing with Ray Rothrock, from Venrock, and Carl Ledbetter, from Pelion Venture Partners.

Matthew Prince, Michelle Zatlyn, Lee Holloway

Matthew, Lee, and Michelle began to build the Cloudflare team. Recruiting before you have a product is always tricky, but one thing resonated with everyone: Cloudflare's core mission is to help build a better Internet. That was a project that smart engineers could get passionate about. Soon Cloudflare’s Palo Alto, CA offices began to fill with a talented team who hailed from top companies like Google, Yahoo, PayPal, and Mint.com.

The biggest concern that investors and advisors had was that Cloudflare’s solution, which was originally focused on securing websites, would introduce latency. The team became obsessed with stamping out latency anywhere in the system. In June 2010, Cloudflare quietly launched a private beta to select members of the Project Honey Pot community. The whole team held their breath. Then something surprising happened. Users began writing in that not only was Cloudflare protecting them against online bad guys, but their sites were loading, on average, 30% faster. The efficiency of Cloudflare’s system, the layer of caching for static resources, and the fact that Cloudflare was taking so much garbage traffic off its user’s sites meant Cloudflare not only offered security, it also offered incredible performance.

From the first discussions of Cloudflare back on the Harvard Business School’s campus in 2009, the plan was always to launch at TechCrunch. On September 27, 2010, Cloudflare did just that. The entire Cloudflare team gathered in an auditorium in downtown San Francisco at TechCrunch Disrupt. Early beta users were excited about finally being able to talk about the cool service they’d been using for months. And Matthew and Michelle stepped on stage to announce to the world Cloudflare’s launch. Since then, Cloudflare has launched dozens of products and hundreds of features over the course of 6 years, opened 6 offices across 3 countries, and brought 200 data centers online. All of these efforts have brought Cloudflare's benefits: security, performance, reliability and insights, to millions of customers around the globe.

To read more about what Cloudflare is working on most recently, please visit our blog or our press center.



2004年,Matthew Prince和Lee Holloway着手回答以下基本问题:“垃圾邮件来自何处?”他们两个建立了一个系统,允许拥有网站的任何人跟踪垃圾邮件发送者如何收集电子邮件地址。项目Honey Pot诞生了。

这些年来,Honey Pot项目悄然发展。 Lee灵活的体系结构适用于跟踪Web管理员面临的更多威胁。来自185个国家/地区的成千上万个网站签约参加了该项目。尽管用户喜欢Project Honey Pot的功能来跟踪在线恶意行为,但他们有一个反复的要求:不仅要跟踪坏人,还要阻止他们。


Cloudflare在Palo Alto的第一个办公室

2009年,马修(Matthew)从全职工作中休假,以从哈佛商学院获得MBA学位。在那里,他会见了Cloudflare的首席运营官Michelle Zatlyn。当Matthew提到Project Honey Pot及其令人惊叹的用户社区时,两人正在谈论。 Michelle立即意识到有机会创建一项服务,将Honey Pot项目推向新的高度:不仅跟踪Internet威胁,而且也将其阻止。同学们开始制定商业计划。

最初的业务订单之一就是想出一个名字。第一个业务计划的标题为“ Project Web Wall”,但几乎没有引起共鸣。马修(Matthew)的一位朋友建议,他们正在创建“云中的防火墙”,因此应称为Cloudflare。这个名字立即感觉正确并陷入困境。马修(Matthew)和米歇尔(Michelle)与哈佛商学院的教职员工一起完善业务计划。同时,李在业余时间制造了第一个工作原型。 2009年4月,Cloudflare赢得了著名的哈佛商学院商业计划竞赛。

Lee居住在加利福尼亚州,从HBS毕业后,Michelle和Matthew前往西方。这三位联合创始人在整个夏天都在完善Cloudflare原型。他们认为Cloudflare解决了真正的需求,并着手将Cloudflare提升到一个新的水平。 2009年11月,Cloudflare与Venrock的Ray Rothrock和Pelion Venture Partners的Carl Ledbetter共同完成了A轮融资。

Matthew Prince,Michelle Zatlyn,Lee Holloway


投资者和顾问最担心的是,最初专注于保护网站安全的Cloudflare解决方案会引入延迟。团队沉迷于消除系统中任何位置的延迟。 2010年6月,Cloudflare悄悄启动了一个私人Beta版,以选择Project Honey Pot社区的成员。整个团队屏住了呼吸。然后出乎意料的事情发生了。用户开始写作的原因不仅是Cloudflare可以保护他们免受在线坏人的侵害,而且他们的网站加载速度平均提高了30%。 Cloudflare系统的效率,静态资源的缓存层,以及Cloudflare正在从其用户站点中夺走大量垃圾流量的事实,意味着Cloudflare不仅提供安全性,而且还提供了令人难以置信的性能。

自从2009年在哈佛商学院校园内首次讨论Cloudflare以来,该计划始终是在TechCrunch上启动的。 2010年9月27日,Cloudflare做到了这一点。整个Cloudflare团队都聚集在旧金山市中心TechCrunch Disrupt的礼堂中。早期的Beta版用户很高兴终于能够谈论他们使用了几个月的酷服务。 Matthew和Michelle登上舞台,向世界宣布Cloudflare的发布。此后,Cloudflare在6年的时间里推出了数十种产品和数百种功能,在3个国家/地区开设了6个办事处,并使200个数据中心联机。所有这些努力为全球数百万客户带来了Cloudflare的好处:安全性,性能,可靠性和洞察力。