A full circle journey: Introducing Cloudflare Canada

A full circle journey: Introducing Cloudflare Canada

Michelle Zatlyn, Co-founder, President and COO at Cloudflare, explains how the company is expanding its Canadian operations, how it works with Canadian businesses and offers some personal reflections.

Cloudflare has announced that Toronto will be home to Cloudflare’s first Canadian office and team. While I currently live in San Francisco, I was born and raised in Saskatchewan. As a proud Canadian, today feels like a homecoming.

Canada has always been an important part of our history and customer base, and I am thrilled to see Cloudflare make a further commitment of expanding officially in the country and opening an office in Toronto.

We are hiring a team locally to help our current customers and future customers, and to support even more great Canadian organizations. I wanted to share more about how Cloudflare works with Canadian businesses, what our announcement means and some personal reflections.

How Cloudflare works with Canadian entrepreneurs, businesses and non-profits

Cloudflare helps ensure anything connected to the Internet is fast, safe and reliable. We do this by running a distributed global cloud platform that delivers a broad range of network services to businesses of all sizes – making them more secure, enhancing the performance of anything connected online, and eliminating costs and complexity.

We help approximately 25M Internet properties around the world – whether you’re a Canadian entrepreneur trying to spin up your next idea, a healthcare company trying to speed up vaccine distribution, a Global 2000 company or a non-profit.

Today we work with thousands of customers in Canada including Canadian entrepreneurs, universities, non-profits, large enterprises, as well as small businesses. All of those services need to be fast online, protected from cyberattacks, reliable and available around the world. Cloudflare helps make that happen and we’re really good at it.

Each day we have blocked an average of 70 billion cyberattacks on behalf of our customers – more than 3.2 billion of those attacks, that we have seen every day, originate in Canada – and that number has increased by 26% from the end of 2020.

We have also seen online usage increasing as well -Internet traffic in Canada is up about 60% compared to one year ago when the world was first shifting to a virtual lifestyle. Canadians are spending a lot more time online in 2021, compared to 2020.

I’m especially proud of how we’ve offered our technology to organizations that may not have the resources to keep up with high traffic and protection from cyberattacks like BullyingCanada, Canada’s largest anti-bullying charity serving Canadian youth. Helping keep their website reliable and secure for children and families seeking support, especially when they need it most.

It’s also fulfilling to know that we help power COVID-19 vaccine distributors, like Verto Health in Canada and Jane who are helping with the vaccine distribution in British Columbia. We help keep these registration sites accessible, withstand scheduling demands and efficiently queue and facilitate the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

It turns out whether you are a developer working on a hobby project or a large Canadian organization, every business needs to deliver their service more quickly, more securely and more reliably. That’s exactly why we started Cloudflare.

Canada is leading digital citizenship

There’s no question that the world has relied on the Internet more than ever before this past year-and that isn’t going away. The Internet has reinvented the way we live and survive. We’ve relied on the Internet to access public information, visit the doctor, get our work done, stay in-touch with friends and loved ones, educate our children, order groceries and so many other things.

Canada has done a great job at fostering digital citizenship, and is continuing to take this ahead of the curve as one of the most Internet connected countries in the world (#7!). Also, the depth and quality of Canada’s tech talent pool is undeniable, with more than 2.8 million STEM graduates and the world’s highest educated workforce.

There’s a strong growing technology ecosystem and entrepreneurship in Canada. This isn’t just a moment, it’s a movement. And it’s gaining steam. Since 2013, Toronto has added more tech jobs than any other place in North America, including Silicon Valley. There are numerous communities helping propel this.

As a Charter Member of The C100 it’s great to see how this community of Canadians in tech are supporting, inspiring and connecting with Canadian entrepreneurs across the globe. There are plenty of other amazing communities and resources including Next 36, Co.Labs, Elevate and events like Collision Conference bringing together the vast technology industry.

Canada is also a strong research hub that’s progressing global standards. We’ve worked with a number of research teams and academic communities, such as with the University of Waterloo, to evolve global cybersecurity, cryptography and privacy. Now having our team on the ground presents an even stronger opportunity to deepen this work.


I grew up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and my journey from the North to Silicon Valley included stops in Montreal and Toronto, before I headed to Boston for business school and, eventually, I grew up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and my journey from the North to Silicon Valley included California.

Saskatchewan is all about community and hard work, which gave me the foundation to be an entrepreneur and really help build what Cloudflare is today.

Toronto is a special place for me because it was where I fell in love with start-ups. I worked for an early-stage start-up, and that’s where I learned about the power of what a small group of motivated people can accomplish together.

It’s also where I got my first experience working in technology. I soon saw how pragmatic and actionable it was working in technology, and I was instantly drawn to how it could make an impact on the world.

I went to Harvard Business School to pursue my MBA. It was there that I met a super smart serial entrepreneur Matthew Prince. We were classmates and we started to work on Cloudflare together. We eventually moved to San Francisco to join our third co-founder, Lee Holloway, and to grow Cloudflare.

Fast forward to almost 11 years later, I’m excited for Cloudflare to expand our team to Canada. We are here to help build a better Internet for Canadian organizations and their online users.

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