CloudFlare has secured a $110 million round of private financing, led by Fidelity, and participated in by a cadre of technology giants, including Baidu, Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm. The round actually closed last December, but the company decided not to disclose it until today. The company has now raised more than $180 million to date.
The quickly growing startup now operates in more than 30 countries, and, according to material provided to TechCrunch, processes around 5 percent of the Internet’s traffic. The company last secured a $50 million round in late 2013.
CloudFlare launched at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2010, making them an alum of the event that your humble team is currently putting on. The company is refreshingly open about its finances, noting that it has been profitable since 2014, and currently puts up a gross margin of 75 percent.
A profitable company that is, at the same time, looking into international expansion might seem odd. CloudFlare is. The firm has grown incredibly quickly, helping it to attract the capital that it needs.
The company’s new influx of funds comes during a particularly frothy moment in technology. Discussions of a bubble are the current lingua franca of journalists, and the bête noire of budding capitalists. It’s worth noting that $110 million is a massive sum, but in the age of Uber’s billion-dollar raises, it isn’t out of the realm of normalcy.
The company’s expansion, however, does come with certain requirements. That the firm took funds from Baidu isn’t an accident. Doing business in China, a massive market for the Web and its larger requirements (the bread and butter of CloudFlare), entails more than entering other locales. Being a partner of a local technology giant in good graces with the government is never a bad strategy.
As CloudFlare announced last week, it has now entered the Chinese market through a partnership with Baidu. CloudFlare now has a presence in 17 Baidu data centers in China and expects this number to grow in 2016.
In a release, CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince said there is an “inevitability around [their] business.” That is true to an extent, given the massive growth of not merely the desktop Internet, but the mobile web, as well. However, this particular inevitability is more a market pitch than a business secured; CloudFlare has competition, and its success will only attract more.
There are worse problems to have.
CloudFlare is joining us today onstage, and we intend to drill them on their finances, growth and expansion plans. To that end, the company has stressed international growth, and expansion in the mobile space. It’s almost like the Internet is global.