Lance Crosby: Taking the Cloud to the Edge

Thanks mainly to the rise of the internet, our our world has changed massively in last two decades. And as technology has changed the way we live our daily lives, the CEO of Dallas-based StackPath, Lance Crosby, has been at the helm of industry shifts, creating ventures that lead their respective sectors into the future.

Lance first gained acclaim as the founder, CEO and Chairman of SoftLayer, which was a major leader in leading the era of the cloud that both companies and consumers rely on to run digital systems today. After building up the organization from scratch, IBM bought SoftLayer in 2013 for $2 billion, and SoftLayer became the backbone of IBM’s cloud technology. As a part of the acquisition, Lance joined IBM to head the organization’s cloud division. While working at both SoftLayer and IBM, Lance became particularly attuned to a few pain points that resulted as side effects of the cloud industry and keeping cloud systems secure while scaling at a rapid pace. After SoftLayer’s acquisition by IBM, Lance knew he had his work cut out for him in fixing this problem for the industry he had championed as it grew to holy-grail status for internet-using companies and consumers. He left IBM in 2015 with this goal in mind.

Make the Internet a Safer Place 

Lance’s current vision is StackPath: an inherently-secure and scalable platform of edge services that enables developers of organizations of any size to protect, accelerate, and innovate any cloud properties, from websites to media delivery to IoT services, without needing cloud security and delivery expertise of their own. With an innovative global edge network infrastructure, StackPath delivers enterprise-grade security and performance in a frictionless, on demand platform with cloud-scale control and flexibility. It is specifically designed to accommodate the crushing demand of increasing internet traffic in an ever-expanding spectrum of cyber threats for companies using the very cloud technology Lance helped to bring into existence.

StackPath came out of “stealth” in July 2016 having already acquired four companies: content delivery network provider (CDN), MaxCDN; Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection company, Staminus; website security and traffic management software company, Fireblade; and virtual private network (VPN) provider, Cloak. StackPath has since acquired Highwinds, a second CDN provider; and infrastructure monitoring and management company, Server Density.

While competitors are doing individual pieces of what StackPath is doing, the difference is that StackPath is creating something that doesn’t currently exist: a multi-sided platform ready for however the Internet grows and whatever StackPath, or StackPath customers, can innovate. Lance believes that the entire cloud revolution is shifting and that it is time to transform the cloud, starting at the edge. Lance and StackPath won’t stop creating, innovating and growing until the Internet is safe. In fact, that is StackPath’s mission: make the Internet safe.

Making of an Acclaimed Leader 

Lance holds an Honorary Doctorate, a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Science in Finance, and a Bachelor’s in Finance and Management from Tarleton State University – a part of the Texas A&M University system. He also holds a Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan School of Law and a Master of Law from SMU. He is a licensed attorney in the state of Texas, where he is an active member of the State Bar of Texas. Even though he received a law degree, and everyone recommended him to practice law, he decided to go against the tide and focus on “the internet thing” instead. Before working with SoftLayer and then StackPath, Lance also served as a Chief Operating Officer of ThePlanet.com, where he managed all operations. He has also served in management roles at Catalog.com and Dallas Internet. With these successes in addition to his renowned work with SoftLayer, IBM and now StackPath, Lance has set a consistent example for Dallas entrepreneurs of finding the big opportunities in any given sector and creating companies that lead the charge into new eras of business.

Lance is regularly recognized for his leadership. In 2018, he was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Technology for the Southwest Region. He won this same award in 2011 with SoftLayer. Lance has won a number of additional awards including CEO of the Year by Metroplex Technology Business Council in 2013. A renowned authority of the edge, Lance speaks regularly at events around the world on the topic.

Advice for Young Entrepreneurs 

For young entrepreneurs, Lance suggests that, when an innovative idea comes in, look at what it will take to bring that innovation to fruition in terms of both time and money. In the case of the six companies StackPath has acquired, it made more sense to purchase these innovative companies with the pieces of the puzzle necessary to create an inherently secure internet services at the cloud’s edge than to develop them from scratch and it appears to have been the right decision. In the first 18 months after launch, StackPath grew from 30K customers and $16 million in revenue to 1 million customers and almost $160 million in revenue. An amazing accomplishment in a relatively short time.

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