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Founded2005 (2005)
FounderDavid Gorodyansky
ProductsVirtual private network

AnchorFree is an internet privacy and security company that provides businesses and consumers with advanced technologies to enable secure and private web browsing.[1][2] The company's flagship product is Hotspot Shield, a popular virtual private network (VPN) service and the top-grossing app for productivity in the Apple App Store.[1][3] The company is led by David Gorodyansky, who founded the firm in 2005 together with his friend Eugene Malobrodsky.[4][5] AnchorFree is headquartered in Redwood City, California, with offices in the Ukraine and Russia.[2] Its most recent fundraising round in 2018 brought in $295 million, bringing total funding to $358 million.[6]

Platforms and users[edit]

The company works with a “freemium” model and provides free software with general features and a paid version with certain enhanced features,[7] such as virtual server locations, improved speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and 24/7 live support.[8] The Software is backed by AnchorFree's Hydra technology.[9]

AnchorFree's apps are available for desktops and mobile devices using Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS operating systems.[8][10] The software has been downloaded 650 million times.[2] Additionally, AnchorFree's proprietary technology is utilized by 60% of the world's reputable security companies and a number of global telecommunication companies.[11][9]

Hotspot Shield is a significant app in countries where the Internet is censored. The app allows users to gain access to restricted websites privately and securely.[12][13] The firm reported an increase in its Egyptian user base from 100,000 users to one million during the Arab Spring in 2010.[12][14] During this time, the program was used to access social media websites like Twitter to organize protests.[12][14] It was also used in Tunisia and Libya before the Arab Spring.[13]

In 2012, after reaching 60 million downloads, the company announced it had raised $52 million in financing from Goldman Sachs.[15]

Since then, AnchorFree's user base has surpassed 650 million downloads.[2] The increase was driven in part by users’ desires to protect themselves online after major privacy and security events like the Equifax data breach, KRACK vulnerability, and the FCC's scrapping of Net Neutrality regulations.[1]

In 2018, the company announced that it had secured a further $295 million in funding from WndrCo, an investment company founded by Ann Daly, Sujay Jaswa, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.[16][2]

Reviews and awards[edit]

In January 2019, TechRadar gave AnchorFree's Hotspot Shield 4 out of 5 stars [7][9] calling it a “premium VPN for users who value speed.” Reviewer Mike Williams summarized by saying “if raw speed is your top priority, its turbo-charged performance could justify signing up all on its own".[9]

In 2019, Fast Company named AnchorFree the 13th most innovative company in the world and the #1 most innovative security company.[17]

AV-Test, a reputed security auditor, called AnchorFree's technology the fastest, most secure on the market.[18]

The Appy Awards named Hotspot Shield the best Online Security/Privacy Application in 2013.[19]

Forbes magazine, for which the company's CEO has written articles,[20] named AnchorFree America's sixth most promising company in 2013.[21][22]

Business Insider named AnchorFree as one of the 15 most important security startups of 2013.[23]

Critical reception[edit]

In August 2017, the Center for Democracy and Technology issued an open complaint to the Federal Trade Commission which they state "concerns undisclosed and unclear data sharing and traffic redirection occurring in Hotspot Shield Free VPN that should be considered unfair and deceptive trade practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act."[24] CDT "partnered with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University to analyze the app and the service and found 'undisclosed data sharing practices' with advertising networks."[25]


  1. ^ a b c Sandler, Rachel. "This software startup had its best year ever and the CEO says the end of net neutrality is a big reason why". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  2. ^ a b c d e "AnchorFree, maker of Hotspot Shield, raises $295 million in new funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  3. ^ Griffith, Erin (2018-09-05). "AnchorFree, Maker of a Top Online Privacy App, Raises $295 Million". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  4. ^ Konrad, Alex. "AnchorFree: A road warrior's friend, a censor's foe". CNN Money. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  5. ^ Empson, Rip. "With its Hotspot Shield hitting 60M Downloads, AnchorFree Lands a Whopping $52M from Goldman Sachs". TechCrunch. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  6. ^ Griffith, Erin (2018-09-05). "AnchorFree, Maker of a Top Online Privacy App, Raises $295 Million". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  7. ^ a b "With Its Hotspot Shield Hitting 60M Downloads, AnchorFree Lands A Whopping $52M From Goldman Sachs". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  8. ^ a b Velazco, Chris. "AnchorFree brings their Hotspot Shield mobile security app to Android". TechCrunch. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d Williams 2019-04-08T09:42:40ZUtilities, Mike. "Hotspot Shield VPN review". TechRadar. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  10. ^ Messeih, Nancy. "Hotspot Shield: A quiet hero for Internet privacy and security around the world". TNW. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  11. ^ VPN, TechRadar Pro 2018-10-10T15:01:30Z. "AnchorFree: Why our VPN can ensure fair internet for all". TechRadar. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  12. ^ a b c Colao, J.J. "How To Thwart Hackers And Dictators With One Free Download". Forbes. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  13. ^ a b Messieh, Nancy. "Hotspot Shield: A quiet hero for Internet privacy and security around the world". TNW. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  14. ^ a b Markowitz, Eric. "David Gorodyansky and Eugene Malobrodsky, Founders of AnchorFree". Inc. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  15. ^ Empson, Rip (2012-05-21). "With Its Hotspot Shield Hitting 60M Downloads, AnchorFree Lands A Whopping $52M From Goldman Sachs". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  16. ^ Gilbey, Angharad (2018-09-06). "AnchorFree closes $295M investment". Cyberviser. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  17. ^ "The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2019". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  18. ^ "VPN Comparative Test" (PDF).
  19. ^ "Appy Awards 2013". MediaPost. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  20. ^ "David Gorodyansky". Forbes. May 28, 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Forbes names AnchorFree as America's Sixth Most Promising Company". MarketWire. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  22. ^ Colao, JJ; Canal, Emily. "America's Most Promising Companies". Forbes. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  23. ^ Bort, Julie. "The 15 most important security startups of 2013". Business Insider. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  24. ^ "CDT's Complaint to the FTC on Hotspot Shield VPN". Center for Democracy and Technology.
  25. ^ "Privacy group accuses Hotspot Shield of snooping on web traffic". ZDNet.

External links[edit]