Public

A Quick Chat With Fastly’s Founder On Its IPO Day

This morning shares of Fastly rose around 50 percent after pricing at the top of their range during its IPO. It’s the sort of result that founders and investors dream of.

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For the Fastly crew (known as Fastlyans, it turns out), it’s likely a welcome win. Founded in 2011, the online content delivery-focused firm raised nearly $220 million while private to build its business. Eight years and nearly a quarter billion dollars meant a lot of work went into its good first day as a public shop.

Now with a fresh $180 billion under its belt, Fastly is worth more than $2 billion. As MarketWatch noted, Fastly was worth around $1.45 billion at its IPO price. It’s now worth more.

To get more context on the IPO pop and what’s next, I got on the phone with Fastly’s Artur Bergman for a quick chat.

Onto The Natter

A small note first: When a company goes public or reports earnings, its marketing and communications teams will often get the CEO on the phone with the media. These are welcome calls, but often constrained.

The person on the other end of the phone, if you are a reporter, is usually surrounded by their comms staff, on hand to prevent them from saying something wrong and getting into trouble with the SEC, the board, or the investing public. And your role as the reporter is to try to build a rapport with the CEO or founder and get them to say something interesting all inside of 10 minutes.

Speed dating doesn’t have shit on the exercise.

So, I got on the horn this morning with Fastly founder and CEO Artur Bergman (previously of Internet classics O’Reilly and, even better, Six Apart), and we did the dance. Here’s what I found out:

  • Bergman feels “great” about the company’s IPO reception. This isn’t a surprise, his company is being welcomed into corporate adulthood with a party.
  • Bergman was “very comfortable” with how his company priced. He’s also happy with the IPO pop. If you were hoping to stir up the regular IPO pricing argument, I doubt Fastly is going to take part.
  • Bergman did have to explain Fastly’s business while on its roadshow. That’s not a surprise. Back-end providers like Fastly can do very well as public companies (Twilio is the prime example of this), but it does take a bit more education than, say, Slack’s impending debut.
  • Bergman did not give me any hint that it’s planning on going hunting for startups with its new checkbook. Answering a question about buying smaller companies, the CEO said that Fastly intends to invest in R&D and markets.
  • Bergman gives a shit about what his company does. He riffed on how Fastly works with its customers and seemed pretty into it.

Then we hung up, and now we’re here. Fastly is still up sharply and we have another unicorn IPO under our belt.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.