Matthew Prince, founder and CEO of CloudFlare, joined our TechCrunch Beijing event this week for a wide-ranging chat with TechCrunch & CrunchBase editor Jonathan Shieber. During the conversation, he touched upon everything from Chinese market to company operations.
In case you’re unfamiliar with CloudFlare, it’s a service for website owners that offers protection from online threats, speeds up page load time, and optimizes content across devices. Launched five years ago at a TechCurnch event, the company is growing rapidly and raised $50 million in Series C round by December 2012, valued at $1 billion.
CloudFlare is seeking Chinese partners to expand businesses in the market, according to Prince. He added even though CloudFlare do not have a Chinese version, lots of clients here are using our service and China is currently CloudFlare’s second largest market.
But he noted that CloudFlare is going to take a slow and steady development approach in China because “It’s a very special market and it has special concerns. All most all U.S. companies that have entered China have failed. We may fail as well, but we hope to fail in a smarter way, but if we are fortunate, we will succeed.” CloudFlare is still trying to find partners that met their quality standards. Companies that are “best technically and has the best resources to provide that around the world”, as Prince put it.
Prince twittered in June this year that the company is considering to position its Asian headquarter at Hong Kong, instead of Singapore where it was originally planned. The main reason for this change was that the company has received widely acclaimed feedbacks for its recent services to some of the Hong Kong clients.
When talking about expanding in various new markets like China, Europe, America, he asserted that one of the key rules for CloudFlare to enter a new market is to make sure the company follow and respect the laws of these regions.”
In terms of company operations, Prince said the company’s largest investments is on talent recruitment. Although CloudFlare has the abilities to hire more people given the massive financing round, CloudFlare aims to recruit smarter rather than faster in a bid to maintain the favorable company culture they’ve built since its establishment. Other company expenses went to hardware shipment and network support. Actually, CloudFlare has a logistic team for hardware shipment, said Prince.