Cloudflare has a third co-founder, Lee Holloway, whos credited with making the company what is today

Not every co-founder is acknowledged at the companies that they help to launch. Sometimes, they quit or theyre elbowed out. Often, theyre conveniently written out of the companys history.
In the case of Cloudflare, a third co-founder who began the company with CEO Matthew Prince and COO Michelle Zatlyn is little known outside the company for a very different reason. As Cloudflare states in an S-1 filing IPO filing that it made public today, Tragically, Lee stepped down from Cloudflare in 2015, suffering the debilitating effects of Frontotemporal Dementia, a rare neurological disease.
Frontotemporal dementia impacts between 50,000 and 60,000 Americans, according to a rough estimate cited by the Alzheimers Association, and it tends to impact younger people, beginning at age 45.
Though the cause isnt known, a persons risk for developing frontotemporal dementia wherein the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain shrink is higher if theres a family history of dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Cloudflare did not respond today to questions about Holloway, but Prince and Zatlyn, in a section of the filing addressed to potential shareholders, credit Holloway as the genius who architected our platform and recruited and led our early technical team. In fact, they write, when picking a code name for the companys IPO, they chose Project Holloway to honor his contribution because the technical decisions Lee made, and the engineering team he built, are fundamental to the business we have become.
Holloways beneficiaries will be rewarded for that work. According to the S-1, trusts affiliated with him own 18% of the companys Series A shares (or common shares) and 3.2% of the companys total outstanding shares. Prince meanwhile owns 20.2% of the companys class B shares and 16.6% of all outstanding shares, and Zatlyn has 6.8% of the companys class B shares and 5.6% of the overall shares outstanding.
If Cloudflare goes public at the $3.2 billion valuation it was last assigned by its private investors, Holloways family and other trust recipients could see upwards of $100 million.
Thats none too shabby for a computer geek who attended Monte Vista High School in Danville, Calif., before working as an engineer at the bubble-era home improvement site, whose assets were sold in 2000 to Though an apparent fire sale, then-CEO Jeanne Jackson told the San Francisco Chronicle that Wal-mart was very impressed with the commerce platform developed by the team.
Either way, in the aftermath of the sale, Holloway headed to UC Santa Cruz, where he studied computer science and, in a meeting that would change his life, was introduced through a professor to Prince, with whom he began building an anti-spam startup called Unspam Technologies. Holloway was its chief software architect; Prince continues to serve as chairman. They two also co-created Project Honey Pot, an open source community that still tracks online fraud and abuse.
Zatlyn would enter the picture soon after. According to Cloudflare itself, in 2009, Prince had taken a sabbatical from work to get his MBA from Harvard Business School. It was when he began telling Zatlyn, a classmate, about Project Honey Pot and its community of users that she helped him recognize a related opportunity in not just tracking internet threats but also stopping them. While they worked on the business plan as part of their studies, Holloway built the first working prototype.
It worked well enough that by 2010, they were pitching investors at a TechCrunch Disrupt as one of the events battlefield participants.
Holloway wasnt on stage for that demonstration. He might have preferred to operate in the background given the nature of his work.
Indeed, in the first of just three tweets he has ever published, he wrote simply, Pondering the nature of web exploits.
Pictured above: Cloudflare co-founders Zatlyn, Holloway, and Prince.
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