The internet can be a dangerous place. Software developers and website creators are under constant attack from hackers, malware, and viruses. If they’re not careful, a project can be interrupted by these bad actors. StackPath provides a secure environment from Day 1 that allows developers to create without worry. And as a way of paying it forward, StackPath’s Propel program offers services, guidance, and networking opportunities free of charge to selected startups.
I had the opportunity to speak with James Leaverton, Vice President of StackPath’s Ecosystems program, to discuss how secure edge services enable developers to protect, accelerate, and innovate cloud properties.
Why Was StackPath Started?
James’ co-founder Lance Crosby was originally part of a company named SoftLayer. It was one of the first cloud companies before people were actually calling it “the cloud.” SoftLayer sold to IBM in 2013 and is now part of the IBM Cloud service that you may have heard of.
While Lance was at IBM, he noticed that there was a big gap in security when it comes to the cloud. Being the entrepreneur that he is, he realized that there’s a need for security and that he could create a company to plug this gap.
James and Lance attended security conferences and networked with industry colleagues to ask “what keeps you up at night?” They expected answers focusing on hackers, organized crime, and rogue states. Instead, the biggest headache was the internal developers. Their intense focus on developing took away from their focus on security. With the cloud, developers can easily publish code, designs, and software to the web without the necessary security.
The idea of StackPath was formed in 2015 as a way to build a secure development environment where security was automatically integrated, rather than an add-on after the fact.
How Does StackPath Propel Help Build Business Startups?
Starting a business is tough, especially when you don’t have funding. StackPath understands the needs of entrepreneur and early-stage companies, so they created the StackPath Propel program to help foster the next generation of technology companies.
StackPath Propel participants get many excellent benefits. First, and foremost, qualified participants receive StackPath’s Edge and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services free of charge for twelve months. Additionally, these startups receive technology and business mentoring and professional networking opportunities at no cost. StackPath will help them create pitch decks, locate talent, and find funding.
All of these benefits are offered for free, with no strings attached.
StackPath hopes that these companies become vastly successful and stay on as paying customers after the twelve months are over. If the startup doesn’t succeed, it is possible that the employees will go on to other startups or established companies and will implement StackPath’s products, like the Edge secure developer environment.
A Startup Success Story
A similar program was offered by SoftLayer before it was sold to IBM. Their program was named Catalyst. The startup offered a text messaging platform via an app. This company ended up being WhatsApp, which is now an incredibly popular application for the world to communicate.
In a matter of months, WhatsApp went from a small customer receiving a free account to one of SoftLayer’s largest customers. A short time later they were acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. And now Facebook becomes a customer.
Pay It Forward and Plant Seeds
Not every Catalyst or Propel client will be this successful, but this is an example of how powerful it can be to pay it forward and plant seeds for future customers.
Over the last two decades, an incredible number of new companies and technologies have changed our lives forever. Just think of all of the new companies that impact your daily life that weren’t yet created in 2000 – Facebook, Google, and Uber, to name a few.
With so many new companies experiencing tremendous growth, it is said that the S&P 500 will have a 50 percent turnover in the next few years. If businesses are not planting the seeds of future customers, they could experience a rapid decline in their revenues as emergent technologies kill off or significantly reduce existing companies.
Even if these startups never become paying customers, StackPath believes that providing these opportunities is the right thing to do.
What Other Products Does StackPath Offer?
In StackPath’s short lifespan, they have grown considerably. In a matter of a few years, they have acquired multiple companies, such as:
- Content delivery network called MaxCDN in Los Angeles
- VPN service provider Encrypt.Me (formerly Cloak) in Seattle
- Web application firewall called Fireblight in Tel Aviv
- Content delivery network HighWinds in Winter Park, Florida
- Monitoring company ServerDensity in London
Additionally, StackPath has support teams in Belgrade, Serbia and Manilla, Philippines. With headquarters in Dallas, Texas and large offices in Florida, London, and Tel Aviv, StackPath is truly a global company with over 400 employees.
Why Is VPN So Important?
As a traveler, I know that public wifi networks can be dangerous places to surf the web and access your sensitive personal data. VPN software safeguards your information by encrypting it so that hackers cannot access your information. Think of this software as inexpensive insurance to protect the most sensitive information on your phone, tablet, or laptop computer.
One of the other benefits of VPN software is being able to access entertainment services and other websites from anywhere in the world. Subscription services like Netflix may restrict the shows that you can watch or download based on the country you are in. With VPN software, you can choose the location of your connection to gain access to this content. For example, if you’re traveling to Mexico for a beach vacation and want to watch a Netflix show before bed, you can choose a VPN location within the United States so that Netflix allows you to watch your favorite shows.