CDN Startup Fastly Raises $40M Series C
A Fastly team photo (Source: Fastly)

CDN Startup Fastly Raises $40M Series C

Company differentiates with focus on caching dynamic content at the edge rather than traditional static content

Content delivery network provider Fastly has raised a $40 million Series C round from previous investors August Capital, Battery Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Amplify Partners. New investor IDG Ventures came on board as well.

Fastly will build more points-of-presence (POPs) in strategic locations around the world, hire executive and engineering talent and develop product partnerships. Over the past year, the company has tripled both its employees and customer base. Customers include Twitter, Github, GOV.UK, popular image sharing site Imgur and U.K. news organization The Guardian.

The big differentiators for Fastly are a focus on dynamic applications and content, being very transparent, being friendly to the DevOps community and an emphasis on mobile and APIs.

"We’re a CDN that’s focused on the content people want to deliver today," said CEO Artur Bergman. "Dynamic and semi-dynamic, longtail content, API, more application infrastructure in general, not just the traditional content. We have some key features such as instance cache, quick purging to get rid of a piece of info, real-time log files and real-time stats. All of this lets you put content on the edge that you couldn't previously put on the edge."

Fastly is the only CDN built on the open source Varnish, which was designed as an HTTP accelerator. Bergman wrote parts of the Varnish code along with engineer Fastly Rogier Mulhuijzen. "The [Varnish] configuration language is extremely flexible," said Bergman. "People are used to configuring Varnish inside their own data centers. Now they can do this and deploy across the world. Whatever you can do inside your own data center, you can now do at the edge."

Fastly uses a distributed system that synchronizes purges across all of its global caches. A 150-millisecond instant purge updates the customer’s content in a speedy fashion. The company claims its Varnish-based caches have up to 12x the performance and capacity of traditional caches.

David Hornik, general partner at August Capital, said, “The team has completely evolved the legacy CDN technology model to give companies unprecedented control over how they serve and monitor content online.”

A handful of traditional CDN challengers have emerged recently to raise rounds. Instart Logic raised $26 million for its “CDN Replacement,” Highwinds recapitalized and raised several rounds, and Edgecast Networks raised money shortly before acquisition by Verizon.

Fastly is similarly challenging traditional content delivery networks with a different spin. The CDN is built on all solid-state drives (SSDs) with POPs located close to subscriber networks. Through caching at the edge, the CDN is built to accelerate any type of content whether dynamic or static, from HTML and APIs to streaming video.

It provides API-based tools to allow businesses to control their digital worlds. Fastly also delivers real-time performance analytics that helps companies make intelligent decisions about their content in real-time.

Fastly will continue building and optimizing its own custom architecture and strategically expanding POP locations around the world. Future POP locations include Denver, Melbourne, Osaka, São Paulo, Seattle and Stockholm.

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