Making A Difference

Working for a Faster, Safer Internet

Michelle Zatlyn (MBA 2009)

Michelle Zatlyn (MBA 2009) is CEO of CloudFlare, a web performance and security company. In this interview, she talks about the origin of the company while she was a student at HBS, and the impact it is having.

“Harvard does a lot of great things and one of the programs they offered were these immersion programs, where they would take students to different parts of the world to expose them to doing business in China or Israel or India. And for the first time, they were doing one to Silicon Valley. All these people that I had read about were telling me their stories about how they had started their business. I thought, ‘If they can do it, so can I.’

“And so a sectionmate and I started to work on an idea. Throughout the semester we kept falling more and more and more in love with our idea, and so we went to the Harvard Business Plan competition. We found out that we won! The next thing I knew we were packing our things in a U-Haul and moving to California to actually do it full-time.

“We’re making the internet faster, safer, and more available for over 5 percent of internet surfers around the world, which is pretty amazing if you think that we just started five years ago. There are so many opportunities left ahead of us, for us to really reach our full potential. We have the chance to really redefine the way the internet works and make it better for everybody.”

(Published August 2016)

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