Cloudflare files to go public


Everyone decided to file their big S1 documents to go public this week, it seems, with Cloudflare not wanting to be left out.

Cloudflare is one of the internet's juggernauts that you likely don't know exists—but you use on a daily basis. It provides free and paid tools for keeping your website loading fast (and up, under load), which more than 20 million sites use today. 

Here are the big, interesting numbers from the S1, which is distinctly different from the messy WeWork one:

  • Cloudflare saw $192.7M of revenue in 2018, and expects to grow it significantly this year, with it already cracking $129.2 in the first half of 2019. Healthy!
  • The company loses money, still, and that grew as it accelerated toward IPO this year. It lost $87.2M in 2018, and it lost $36.8M in the first half of this year, which is on track to meet last year's loss. Compared to WeWork's billion-dollar hole in the ground, this looks tiny. 
  • The company touts 20 million internet properties using its tools, and 10% of Fortune 1,000 companies using its tools—and it believes that its generous free plan is a big driver of conversions over time.
  • Cloudflare's network is enormous, with reach in 193 cities, 90 countries and 8,000 interconnects with other networks globally—that means it can deliver 100ms loading times to 98 percent of Internet-connected people.

Compared to other IPO filings I've read this year, Cloudflare's is the only one that felt grounded in reality. Not only did it actually cite the hate sites it dealt with poorly as a risk to the company's business, it seems to understand that it should be responsible for better responding to users using its platforms for hate (seen on page 21 of the S1).

Unlike these other IPO filings, Cloudflare doesn't seem to be in a position to need to go public. It has more than $100M of cash on hand, and it can afford to keep running its own operations at current cost for a few years—but the public markets continue to be hot right now, so it appears to be diving in while it can.

I'll share more thoughts soon, but Cloudflare is such an integral piece of the internet's fabric, that I consider this a particularly interesting IPO—it's like having a chance to grab a piece of the pipes that deliver water to your house. They work well, deliver things people need, and everyone uses them.

Tab Dump

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