Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009
Road to Palm Springs
Akamai Technologies, Inc.
Akamai Technologies, Inc. was formed by MIT professor Tom Leighton and graduate student Dan Lewin in 1998 to create a better method of delivering content over the internet and end the congestion that was plaguing users. With his solid technology background, Time Warner executive Paul Sagan was recruited to join the company.
Sagan was named president when Akamai was officially launched in 1999 and acquired web giant Yahoo! as the first of many customers. But the business soon faced incredible challenges after the tech bubble burst in 2001 and cofounder Lewin was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. By October 2002, as the recession dragged on, the company’s stock price was trading at just 56 cents a share, down from a high of $345 at the tech bubble peak, and Akamai was facing bankruptcy and shareholder lawsuits.
Forging ahead through this difficult period, Sagan turned the company around by 2003 through the introduction of its EdgeSuite service, which allowed customers to save money on infrastructure by using Akamai servers for web business. Since then, Sagan, named CEO in 2005, has led the company to new heights, positioning it as a technology and brand leader that has changed the way companies conduct their business online.
In 2009, Akamai was named to the prestigious Forbes list of the 25 Fastest Growing Technology Companies in America.