Follow Michelle Zatlyn @Zatyln
“There’s definitely a sense that we’re on to something really big,” says Zatlyn of Internet performance and security company CloudFlare, which she cofounded six years ago with two friends from business school. “We can redefine how the Internet works.” It’s big talk for a company you’ve never heard of—and that’s kind of the point. CloudFlare is like hiring a personal trainer who’s also a bodyguard for your website: It makes sites run faster and smoother, all while keeping viruses and hackers at bay. “We’re a company that runs behind the scenes,” she explains. “If we do our job right, people surfing the Internet don’t even know we exist.”
Zatlyn grew up “in the wheat fields of Saskatchewan.” She was working as a project manager at Toshiba in Toronto when she decided to go to Harvard Business School to pursue her dream “to join a company that was Google before it was Google, Starbucks before it was Starbucks.” Now 35 and married with a two-year-old son, she may have found just that in CloudFlare, which is valued at more than $1 billion and serves more than 2 million websites—Reddit, eHarmony, and Cisco among them.
Article by ANN FRIEDMAN