Michelle Zatlyn is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Cloudflare, a leading internet security, and performance company. Zatlyn co-founded Cloudflare in 2009 with Matthew Prince and Lee Holloway.
Born and brought up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, Zatlyn completed her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from McGill University in 2001. Later, she pursued a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
During Zatlyn’s childhood in Saskatchewan, there were no indications that she would eventually co-found a $1 billion company in the United States. Following her college education in Canada, she was faced with a significant decision: where would she reside? This was not a choice that many people make casually.
“My older sister had moved to the U.S. and was successful and I decided I wanted to come to America as well,” Zatlyn said in an interview.
Although she had secured a potential job opportunity, Zatlyn was unable to obtain a work visa and had to return to Canada. However, as fate would have it, this turned out to be a fortunate turn of events. As revealed in a recent study by the National Foundation for American Policy, 44 out of America’s 87 privately held startups valued at $1 billion or more had at least one immigrant founder, and Michelle was among them.
On her second attempt to move to the United States, Zatlyn’s efforts were more fruitful, and it transformed the trajectory of her life. She gained acceptance to Harvard Business School, where she met Matthew Prince, one of her future co-founders.
Michelle Zatlyn is the co-founder, president, and COO of Cloudflare, a San Francisco-based company specializing in web performance and security services. Along with Matthew Prince and Lee Holloway, her fellow Harvard Business School classmate, Zatlyn established Cloudflare in 2009. The company went public in 2019, and by 2020, its market valuation had reached approximately $25 billion.
Before Cloudflare, Zatlyn served as a product manager at Toshiba and completed an internship at Google. She also launched two successful startups.
Before co-founding Cloudflare, Zatlyn worked as a project manager at Google and as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. She has also worked at Toshiba and Microsoft.
Following her stints at Google and Toshiba, Zatlyn became a part of the startup I Love Rewards (later Achievers), which offered a worldwide employee rewards program. In 2009, Zatlyn collaborated with her Harvard Business School colleagues, Matthew Prince and Lee Holloway, to establish Cloudflare. Presently, Zatlyn is the President and COO of Cloudflare, and she also serves on the company’s board. Regarding her role as a co-founder of Cloudflare, she remarks:
“When we came up with Cloudflare, I knew nothing about internet security, but I care a lot about liking what I’m doing. I knew if I could help create internet security, that’s something I could work hard for and be proud [of]; 10 years later, we have 165 data centres, 12 million domains and more than 800 employees.”
As COO of Cloudflare, Zatlyn is responsible for overseeing the company’s business operations, including marketing, sales, and customer support. Under her leadership, Cloudflare has grown to become a publicly traded company with over 3,000 employees and a market capitalization of over $40 billion.
Zatlyn has been recognized as one of the top women to watch in technology by Inc. Magazine and the Huffington Post. She has been a speaker at several events, including Women 2.0, Harvard Business School, Cloud Factory, The Canadian University Software Engineering Conference, GO Youth, and Metabridge. She is also a frequent panelist at TechCrunch Disrupt.
Besides her position on Cloudflare’s board of directors, Zatlyn is a member of the Open Internet Advisory Committee for the FCC and the NextGen Advisory Board for the Computer History Museum. She has also been nominated for the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders program.
Zatlyn is also a strong advocate for women in technology and entrepreneurship. She has spoken publicly about the need for more diversity in the tech industry and has been recognized for her leadership by numerous organizations, including Forbes, which named her one of the World’s Most Powerful Women in 2020.
In September 2021, Zatlyn was named to the board of directors of the Australian software firm, Atlassian. She is also a member of the Cybersecurity team at the Aspen Institute.
Her net worth is an estimated $1.17 billion in 2023.
Michelle Zatlyn has received several awards and recognition for her contributions to the tech industry and entrepreneurship. Some of her notable awards and achievements include:
Overall, Zatlyn’s awards and achievements reflect her success as a leader and entrepreneur in the tech industry, as well as her commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion.