May 27, 2022

VPN usage has skyrocketed in recent years due to growing privacy and data security concerns, and sometimes completely different motives such as people wanting to access content blocked in their regions for all internet users (approximately 30% ). VPN around the world. somewhere this year. Now Nord Security, the startup behind one of the major VPN payment providers, NordVPN, is announcing significant unicorn-valued funding to capitalize on this growth to grow both its consumer and business lines of business.

The company has raised $100 million in a funding round led by Novator, a European company that includes Deliveroo, Stripe, Tier, Burda Principal Investments and General Catalyst, as well as Supercell’s Ilka Pananen, Volt’s Mikki Kusi and Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg. also participates. At this stage, the startup is valued at $1.6 billion.

What stands out here is that Nord, based in Vilnius, Lithuania, has been operating for the past 10 years (it was founded in 2012), a state that has not stopped its development. NordVPN and other security and identity management products sold by Nord, including NordPass Password Manager, NordLocker for cloud sync and storage, NordLayer for corporate network access, and developer tools for creating custom VPNs, have grown to 15 million users. Year.

In addition to organic expansion, it is also expanding through M&A: In February, Nord announced a merger with Surfshark, another security company with Lithuanian roots (more specifically, the same company and Roots in the incubator where Nord Security was founded, Tesonet). ,

So why increase it now? Tom Okman, co-CEO and co-founder of Eimantas Sabaliauskas, told gaming-updates that he decided to bite the bullet to keep up with the times while staying on his mission to be the best. in short, like a hug The ideal of an open web, but done in a way that protects users from those who might misuse it with more malicious intent.

“We have seen the landscape of digital privacy change… and the open internet is not working properly,” he said. “Our mission is to create a different Internet by protecting consumer and business accounts and network information from cyber threats around the world.”

People often use VPNs to get around more restrictive internet policies or simply to make their browsing more private, but not everything is going smoothly in the VPN industry to achieve these goals. Critics have denounced how VPNs, especially those that advertise themselves as “free” but some of which charge fees for their services, do not handle user data responsibly and may actually pose a security risk to users.

Some of this criticism also affected NordVPN. Over the past three years, his name has been brought up in connection with Russia ordering VPNs to block certain sites, hacking into one of its data centers, and some of its browser extensions not working as they seem.

Asked about these events and the impact they have had on Nord, Ockman says the company has changed over the years to address various issues and achieve more.

“We learned our lesson and have come a long way since 2019,” he said. The data center breach showed no data had been compromised, he said, but it prompted the company to reconfigure security and change the way data is normally handled (systems are now diskless, they said). The internal security teams have been expanded and the company is now regularly audited in cooperation with the American company Versprite.

The conflict with Russia prompted the company to move all of its business out of the country rather than comply, and they said that NordVPN now has very few users in the country.

The main goal is to further develop business and consumer services in the form of a paid offer. “We prohibit any illegal activity and define it in our terms of service,” he said. “There is a big difference, and the difference between a paid VPN and a free VPN service.”

“Modern Internet security requires a completely new approach to countering the ever-evolving risks associated with data regulation and ever-increasing cyber threats,” said Birgir Mar Ragnarsson, managing partner of Novator Ventures. “Tom and his team are well positioned to usher in a new era of internet security with a powerful and best-in-class suite of privacy and security tools designed to protect information, accounts and networks. It’s rare to find a company that already has such an outstanding track record, brand trust and relentless focus on customer service, which is why we’re excited to partner with Nord Security to help the team realize their vision. scale. ,

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