This 35-Year-Old Started His Company In A Dorm Room And Just Sold It For Crazy Money

By on November 24, 2016 in ArticlesEntertainment

Dyn is a throwback in Silicon Valley terms. It isn't a flashy startup with the goal of going public or getting acquired. It was started 15 or so years ago by Jeremy Hitchcock and Tom Daly in their dorm room at New Hampshire's Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Dyn offers DNS, or more specifically, Doman Name Servers. Basically, it maps the address you put into your browser, like, and translates it into the actual IP address numbers that computers use. So instead of having to remember you can just type in Wikipedia and the DNS redirects you. Pretty cool, right?

Hitchcock and Daly started the company in their early 20s. Back then it was a free-open-source project on a singe server in their dorm room. But they almost shut it down when they ran out of money. So they put a "donate" button on their website. That didn't help much, so they strengthened their plea and told their users if they didn't get $25,000 in the next week, they would have to shut Dyn down. They ended up getting $40,000. That was the first time Hitchcock and Daly realized that they could turn Dyn into a real, viable business. And that's exactly what they did.

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Hitchcock and Daly ran Dyn for 11 years without having to take any VC money. During that time, Dyn grew by leaps and bounds. Today it has more than 3,500 enterprise customers, including big names like Twitter, Netflix, CNBC, and Pfizer.

In 2012, Dyn took its first VC funding of $38 million. Daly left Dyn soon after that. In May of 2016, Dyn raised another $50 million in VC funds, valuing the company at $365 million. Hitchcock stepped down soon after, though he retained a seat on the board. Dyn has raised $100 million in VC funds overall.

You may have heard of Dyn recently. The company made the news (and probably caused a hiccup or two in your day) when a massive denial of service attack took it down for the better part of the day. It was the largest denial of service attack in history and it affected sites including Amazon, Etsy, Netflix, Xbox Live, Airbnb, Yelp, The Wall Street Journal, PayPal, DirecTV, and The New York Times.

This attack didn't hurt the acquisition discussions that were already underway with Oracle. On Monday, November 21, Oracle announced that it had purchased Dyn. The price tag was a reported to be just north of $600 million. Oracle plans to integrate Dyn into its cloud computing services.

Oracle, of course, is best known for selling enterprise software to large companies. However, it is also in the midst of a bit of a reinvention. Oracle wants to become a cloud computing company that can compete with Amazon and Google. Both of those companies have an enormous head start on Oracle. And that is where the acquisition of Dyn makes sense. Dyn gives Oracle a leg up. Even the denial of service attacks become a sort of asset. Dyn's services has enabled it to gather a ton of data about how the Internet works today—including data on the attacks that brought its servers down. That's the sort of competitive insight that Oracle needs to give it an edge in the crowded cloud computing market.

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