Cloud Security , Security Operations , Web Application Firewalls (WAF)

Cloudflare, VCs Join Forces to Give Away $1.25B to Startups

Venture Capital Firms Commit Up to $50M Each for Startups Using Cloudflare Workers
Cloudflare, VCs Join Forces to Give Away $1.25B to Startups
Alex Dyner, senior vice president of special projects, Cloudflare (Image: Cloudflare)

Cloudflare has joined forces with 26 venture capital firms to provide up to $1.25 billion in financing to startups building on the company's developer platform.

See Also: Top 6 Success Factors for a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) for Cloud Environments

The San Francisco-based internet infrastructure vendor says the Workers Launchpad Funding Program will help connect developers with investors around the world to help scale their startups faster, says Alex Dyner, senior vice president of special projects. The initiative came together over the past few weeks, Dyner says, and each participating venture capital firm has committed to provide up to $50 million (see: Cloudflare One Brings Email Security, DLP, CASB Together).

"Having more firms with more funding potential is good for the whole community," Dyner tells Information Security Media Group. "It gives the developers building on our platform more investors we can connect them with that have different backgrounds."

Security Takes Center Stage

Many of the venture capital firms participating in Cloudflare's initiative have deep experience backing cybersecurity startups, including Bain Capital Ventures, Greylock, Lightspeed and Norwest Venture Partners. Dyner has seen some really interesting security companies and startups building applications on Cloudflare Workers. Using Cloudflare Workers is the only requirement for startups seeking funding.

In fact, the company spent $7.2 million in October 2021 to acquire Cloudflare Workers customer Zaraz, which boosts website speed and security by reducing the impact of third-party marketing and analytics tools. Zaraz depends on Cloudflare Workers to replace the multiple network requests from each third-party tool with a single request, which improves the browsing experience and protects user privacy.

"I would expect companies that are security-focused to be attracted to building on our Workers development platform from Day 1," Dyner says.

Startups can apply to be part of Cloudflare's Workers Launchpad Funding Program in five minutes, and applications are vetted by a team of Cloudflare employees with prior experience as venture capitalists or entrepreneurs, Dyner says. Cloudflare then takes the best ideas and refers them to its network of venture capital firms, which have agreed to accept a certain number of pitches and meetings, Dyner says.

Doing Well by Doing Good

Cloudflare is most interested in startups with a great business idea, potential for global scale and commitment to making a positive impact either specifically on the internet or for society at large, Dyner says.

"We were surprised as we pulled this together just how strong the response was from the venture community," Dyner says. "I think it could be a pretty substantial funnel and lead source for venture capitalists and a great way for startups to get their voices heard and have access to potential funding."

Getting selected by Cloudflare as a top applicant doesn't guarantee funding, but it does mean the startup will get focused attention from venture capital firms around the world, according to Dyner. Some winners will receive mentorship from Dyner's team to help with pitching to venture capitalists, while startups with less than $3 million in private financing are eligible for discounted support and services.

"The idea behind the startup enterprise plan is to provide many of those benefits to startups who otherwise would have a hard time financially getting access to our full enterprise plan," Dyner says.

Dyner expects Cloudflare will refer a healthy number of developers to venture capital firms each quarter, with a good number of those startups receiving funding over time. So far, Dyner says, he's been blown away by the excitement and interest in the Workers Launchpad Funding Program.

"We have a unique vantage point based on where we sit in the internet ecosystem, and we're super excited to use that to help developers be efficient in attracting capital and help VCs be efficient in finding the next great startup or business out there," Dyner says.

About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.

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