Update on Fastly

Fastly, the startup CDN is having great success in winning over popular Internet brands. It’s actually quite surprising, as I didn’t expect them to do so well so quickly. Check out some of their key wins: Disqus, Etsy, Twitter, Yammer, Foursquare, Github, Wikia, and Shazam. This kind of customer base speaks volumes as to their success. There is no way a startup CDN wins these types of accounts without having a great story, product, and service to back it up, especially when the ever present Akamai is right in your face.

Keep in mind, when companies are looking for CDN services, you get one shot to show what you have, if you fall short for whatever reason, kiss that opportunity goodbye for the next 1-3 years. It’s that simple. The Fastly executive team is the perfect makeup of talent, to take this startup into the big time, whether it’s selling it for a hundred million dollars, or hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars. A few days ago, I had the opportunity to interview the key executive team, including Artur (Founder), Simon Wistow and Ellen Bermingham, in a remote round table discussion.

The Fastly Interview

During the interview, I peppered the executive team with a ton of questions, and they answered every question to my expectation. The key takeaway, Fastly is extremely focused on providing their customers with the fastest performance possible, period. It’s engrained in their core being, and their working day and night to make this dream happen. This is one of the perks of interviewing successful startups, their passion is contagious, it makes you want to order a server, install caching software, and try to start a cool CDN. Then, you realize you’re not that smart 🙂

Fastly is growing their staff in North America and Europe, adding POPs internationally, and working on a robust product road map. In 12 to 18 months, Fastly is going to be a powerhouse in the CDN ecosystem, mark my words. Besides, they have reached a point where they can buy Tier 1 bandwidth inexpensively, and improve their profit margins. Healthy profit margins translate to additional investments in people, products, services & marketing.

Cool Feature

Of all the cool features they offer, one really stands out, their TCP/IP middle mile acceleration product. Akamai offers customers DSA, and charges a premium for it, as do other CDNs. Fastly bundles this service with its regular caching platform at no charge. And we thought Cotendo’s DSA product was inexpensive, Fastly takes the cake. No surprises there. Over time all CDN features become commoditized, and prices drop. Soon or later, someone is going to come in and offer it for free, and in this case it’s Fastly.

Conclusion

I see great things in store for Fastly. They have done a phenomenal job in  a short period of time, offering great service, robust feature set, competitive pricing, and most of all, winning key accounts against the Tier 1 CDNs. It also doesn’t hurt to be in the Valley, being so close to all the Internet movers and shakers, does a body good.