The entrance to Tom Daly’s fourth floor office in Nashua is branded only by the suite number. From this quiet space, the vice president of infrastructure for Fastly oversees a global internet cloud platform that helps businesses deliver content, connect with customers and keep their networks secure.
The San Francisco-based company’s clients include such familiar brands as Spotify, Kayak, Airbnb, BuzzFeed, Twitter and the New York Times. Fastly went public in May, raising $180 million from the sale of 11.25 million shares. It was trading at $19.39 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
A map of the world behind Daly’s desk depicts the submarine fiber optic cables that carry global telecommunication signals. Daly compares what Fastly does for its customers as clearing the way for commerce. It’s all about speed.
“The best path might be a tiny little pipe because that’s the only path. What Fastly is doing is widening the path up,” Daly said. “So you originally had a single-lane unmaintained state road, and now we’re giving you an eight-lane wide superhighway and a much bigger vehicle to drive through there.”
Holding an executive position with a company that ramped up from 40 people when Daly joined five years ago to 600 now seems like a pretty lofty professional accomplishment. But Daly, 37, has been on this kind of ride before.
The Manchester native first became obsessed with the internet as a Memorial High student when one of his two part-time jobs was working for Metro2000, a local internet service provider. He also worked for a sound, lighting and DJ service.
Daly was part of the core group of students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who grew DynDNS from a campus project to a viable company that became a major tech employer in the Queen City.
By the time Oracle acquired Dyn in late 2016, the internet performance company had grown to more than 400 workers, including 350 in New Hampshire, mostly at its 150 Dow St. headquarters in the Millyard. Its 3,500 enterprise customers included Netflix, Twitter, Pfizer and CNBC.
This spring, Oracle began shedding its Manchester workforce. Its space here — including the rooftop sign — is being marketed for lease. While Dyn may have been absorbed by a corporate giant, its legacy remains in New Hampshire through the Dyn alumni who remain here, including about a dozen who work for Fastly. Oracle also operates a campus off Spit Brook Road in Nashua.
As a student, Daly provided tech support for Dyn’s domain name system network, which became a limited liability company in 2002.
“I really ended up taking on the same job I had at Metro2000 at DynDNS, which was to provide tech support,” said Daly, who learned to write computer code so he could make Dyn’s web interface easier to use.
By 2006, Daly and CEO Jeremy Hitchcock were the only two partners remaining. After another six years serving as chief infrastructure officer, Daly decided to leave the company in 2012.
“The values of leadership in teams change,” Daly said. “So there was a divergence of values of what our goals were. I knew it was time for me to look for something different.”
Something different ended up being turning back the clock. After taking a year off to earn his executive MBA from Bentley University, Daly decided to join another startup.
Fastly founder Artur Bergman had been a customer of Dyn when he was chief technical officer for Wikia, a for-profit company created by the founders of Wikipedia.
“I loved having him as a customer because he was very demanding and challenging and wanted more features and capabilities,” Daly said.
After Daly signed on with Bergman, he found himself working with another ragtag group of tech workers armed with little more than their ingenuity and some clunky laptops. The company’s San Francisco headquarters was above a pizza shop.
“The office smelled of delicious pizza all day long, which was rough,” Daly said. “But in the summer there was no air conditioning, and with the pizza oven below we just baked.”
Countless boxes of pizza and hundreds of hires later, Fastly now also has offices in Portland, Ore., New York, Denver, London and Tokyo. About 40 percent of its employees work remotely.
“They’re all over the world because our customer base is all over the world,” said Daly, who lives in Nashua with his wife, Erin, and their children, Grace, 7, and Bryce, 4.
Daly is the sole occupant of his office on Temple Street, a space he uses when he isn’t working from home. Other Dyn alumni work remotely for Fastly in Hollis, Manchester, Henniker, Amherst and other locales.
Kyle York, long-time chief revenue officer for Dyn and later Oracle, recalled being wooed to join Fastly shortly after the company was founded in 2011. York had served as a board adviser to Fastly with Daly when both were still working at Dyn.
After York turned down the offer, Fastly recruited one of Dyn’s top sales reps to become the company’s vice president of sales.
“It was a relationship of love and sometimes annoyance because they started to hire some of our rising stars,” said York, who recently launched an investment firm. York has an equity stake in Fastly through stock options he exercised.
York credits Daly for much of Dyn’s success. By the time Daly left in 2012, the company was booking $30 million in revenue, no longer a startup.
“He was the absolute technical brains and visionary of that company,” York said. “The network that he architected and designed — which all of our software was built on top of — is very similar to the network and architecture and software that Fastly has built a big public company on top of.
“That’s on the back of his deep network architecture and infrastructure expertise. I give him a tremendous amount of credit for what Dyn became.”