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20 Things You Didn't Know about Fastly


Headquartered in San Francisco, cloud computing services provider Fastly aims to empower businesses with its “edge cloud platform”, delivering fast, secure, scalable sites and apps to end-users. While it may not have exploded onto the scene with quite the same fanfare as companies such as Zoom and Pinterest, the fact its services are being embraced by everyone from The New York Times to Kayak means that even if you’ve never heard of Fastly before today, it’s likely you’re benefiting from its tech, nonetheless. Want to find out more about the company behind your faster internet experience and access to real-time data? Then keep reading.

1. Its customers are some of the biggest names in the world

Since its inception, Fastly has been rolling out its product to some of the world’s biggest names. The likes of Ticketmaster, Vimeo, Airbnb, Pinterest, Buzzfeed and The New York Times all count themselves among the growing number of brands using Fastly’s technology to develop their business and connect with their customers. New York Times CTO Nick Rothwell sums up the reason so many businesses are turning to Fastly with his comment, “I’m a huge fan of Fastly. On election night, we had 100,000 requests per second, and Fastly performed flawlessly — we had no problems at all.”

2. It was founded by Artur Bergman

Fastly is the brainchild of Artur Bergman, who founded the company in 2011 after working for several years as the chief technology officer at Wikia. According to CrunchBase, Bergman is a “hacker and technologist at-large” whose numerous interests outside of Fastly include “semantic search, large scale infrastructure, open-source development, federated instant messaging, neurotransmitters, and the future of cyborgs”.

3. It supports non-profits with free services

Fastly, whose products are built on open-source software, supports nonprofits by contributing free CDN services. The scale of its support is vast: since its inception, it's provided free services to everyone from Doctors without Borders to, Khan Academy to Kiva, and The One America Appeal to Reporters Without Borders.

4. It contributes to leading open source initiatives

In addition to providing free technology to various non-profits, Fastly also uses and contributes to several leading open source initiatives. Key among these are Chief (which it uses to automate how it manages scale and complexity in servers); Ganglia (which it’s incorporated into its monitoring systems); Perl (which has contributed one of the programming languages used at Fastly); and Varnish, whose open-source Varnish Cache forms the foundation of Fastly’s global network. The relationship Fastly enjoys with its providers is very much two-way: in addition to using Ganglia, Fastly engineers have contributed to their services, while Artur Bergman, the CEO of Fastly, was responsible for writing the threading library for Perl.

5. It’s one of the 100 Companies That Matter Most in Online Video

In 2017, Streaming Media published its list of the 100 Companies That Matter Most in Online Video. In amongst the likes of Apple, Facebook, IBM, and Vimeo was Fastly, demonstrating just far it had come in the 5 short years since inception.

6. It’s made BuzzFeed 50% faster

Since Buzzfeed began using Fastly, it’s been able to offer users an enhanced experience that significantly outperforms its previous offering. By understanding the value of speed when it comes to internet browsing (with data suggesting that if a page load time increases by just 1 second, twice as many users will drop off), Fastly’s technology has allowed Buzzfeed to increase page loading time by a massive 50%, improving the customer experience and increasing BuzzFeed’s user base in the process.

7. It offers a free trial

So confident in the value of its product is it, Fastly offers all new customers the opportunity to test out $50 of traffic for free, with no obligation to continue past the end of the trial. Those impressed enough with the service to continue with a paid plan will revert to a pricing structure based on region and bandwidth which charges a minimum of $50 per month based on the combined total of the customer's bandwidth and request usage.

8. It offers three distinct support plans

As well as providing a basic subscription, Fastly offers its customers the opportunity to sign up for one of three distinct support plans, each offering a different level of service. Its Standard plan is the most basic, covering subscription, access to a self-service online portal, and email customer support. One step up from the Standard plan is the Gold plan: in addition to a Fastly subscription, Gold users can enjoy an expedited 24/7 incident response time, a 100% uptime guarantee, and access to the Fastly Community Forum. Those who want the all-singing, all-dancing Enterprise plan, meanwhile, can expect 24/7 response for inquiries (not just incidents), emergency escalation for support cases, PCI/HIPAA configuration services, enhanced compliance support (including GDPR), and a discounted rate on Professional Services.

9. It’s keeping pace with the changing financial landscape

The way we manage our finances (and our expectations about the role banks and financial service providers should play in helping us do that) is changing rapidly. We all want access to our finances and transactions instantly, and lo betide the bank that can’t deliver that. Fortunately, companies like Fastly are on hand to ensure financial companies can keep pace with the ever-growing needs of their customers. Payment technology company Stipe is just one of many businesses using Fastly to enhance their end user’s experience. “We have confidence in Fastly that we don’t have for other vendors we looked at. Because we move money around, we need the best available option for any number of things related to performance, security, and stability. We only considered what we thought was best in class, and Fastly was the obvious choice,” Marc Hedlund, VP of Engineering at Stipe says.

10. It’s a hit with the travel and hospitality industry

For companies such as Kayak that focus on providing end-users with real-time data on rapidly changing market information, instant updates are a vital ingredient to their success. Fastly’s ability to offer users the change to cache variable content such as pricing and inventory has allowed Kayak and other such companies in the travel and tourism sector to deliver instant updates to their customer base, enhancing the experience and improving brand loyalty.

11. It’s transformed digital publishing

In the fast-paced world of current events, keeping the global readership abreast of the latest developments is vital to the success of digital publications. By incorporating Fastly technology into their website, companies can not only speed up page load times, they can also ensure instant global updates to cached content, increasing reader engagement and delivering a unified experience across desktop and mobile devices. Just some of the digital publications relying on Fastly technology include Business Insider, Fast Company, Imgur, WikiHow, Wired, Upworthy, the Guardian, and About,com.

12. It was named to the Forbes Cloud 100 in 2015

In 2015, Fastly was a named to Forbes Cloud 100 (the definitive list of the top 100 private cloud companies in the world) for the first time. 2018 marked the third consecutive year that Fastly appeared on the list, and, as it turned out, the last (when Fastly went public the following year, it ceased being eligible for inclusion). “Fastly is honored to be recognized as one of the top 100 private cloud companies in the world by Forbes, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Salesforce Ventures,” Artur Bergman, CEO of Fastly remarked in 2018. “In our internet-connected world, speed, and security are an integral part of a company’s online identity. We are proud that Fastly’s edge cloud platform helps the world’s most important brands deliver fast, secure, and scalable global online experiences to their customers, and we will continue innovating in order to power a better internet.”

13. It crossed the $100 million revenue mark in 2017

In 2017, Fastly graduated to the next stage in its development when it crossed the $100 million revenue mark. In 2018, it grew still further, with revenue increasing by just under 38% from $104.9 million to $144.6 million. As CrunchBase notes, the reason for the growth was largely attributable to a sales and marketing spend of $40.8 million in 2017 and $50.1 million in 2018. In addition to the increase in revenue, Fastly’s reports also demonstrated a year on year decline in loses to $29 million in 2018, down from $31 million in 2017.

14. It has 7 lead investors

Prior to going public, Fastly completed 7 funding rounds, securing a total of $219 million in the process. Its seed round (led by Amplify Partners) was completed in Jan 2011. Series A fasting round was led by Battery Ventures and Oreilly AlphaTech Ventures, raising $4 million in May 2012. Series B (led by August Capital) raised $10 million in June 2013; Series C (led by August Capital) raised $40 million in September 2014; Series D (led by ICONIQ Capital) raised $75 million in August 2015; Series F (led by Sapphire Ventures and Sorenson Capital) raised $50 million in May 2017; while series F raised $40 million in July 2018.

15. It launched its IPO in May 2019

In May 2019, Fastly announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 11,250,000 shares at a price of $16.00 per share. In addition, Fastly agreed to offer underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to 1,687,500 additional shares of Class A common stock at the initial public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions. The shares began trading on May 17, 2019, on The New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “FSLY”.

16. Its stock jumped by 45.6% in August

In August 2019, shares of Fastly skyrocketed by a mammoth 45.6% after suffering substance losses in the months following its initial public offering. Since then, they’ve dropped and risen several times, indicating buyer’s uncertainty about the fundamental prospects for the business in an already overcrowded cloud computing space.

17. It’s got Business Insider’s backing

Considering it uses Fastly technology to power its website, Business Insider clearly knew what it was talking about when it nominated the company to its list of 44 Enterprise Start-Ups to Bet Your Career On in 2019. Other additions to the list included Checkr, a cloud software company that runs background checks on employees, Celonis, a startup helping companies automate worldwide, and Airtable, a cloud-based spreadsheet app.

18. Deutsche Telekom Capital Partner led its final funding round

Just before it launched its IPO, Fastly completed one last round of funding. The round added a further $40 million to the $179 million it had raised in previous years and was led by Deutsche Telekom Capital Partner (with support from Sozo Ventures, Swisscom Ventures, and existing investors).

19. It’s got a great diversity record

The tech world may provide innovative solutions to most modern-day problems, but equality isn’t one of them. When it comes to diversity, inclusion, and equity, most computing companies are falling far behind the times, with white males making up the single largest population of employees. In comparison, Fastly has an excellent track record of ensuring diversity amongst its employees; as Tech Crunch notes, Fastly’s executive team comprises of 42% women, while 65% of its engineering leads are female, people of color or LGBTQ.

20. It ranked #1060 on the Inc. 5000 in 2018

In August 2018, Inc magazine unveiled its 37th annual list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Listed in its number at 1060 was Fastly. “At Fastly, we’ve prioritized scaling responsibly: keeping our values of transparency and inclusion in all facets of our business, while at the same time achieving impressive growth,” Artur Bergman, CEO, said in a statement. “It’s an honor to be recognized among so many other influential companies, and we look forward to what the next year will bring.”

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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