This morning AnchorFree, the makers of the popular virtual private network Hotspot Shield, is announcing that it has raised $52 million in series C financing from Goldman Sachs. All in all, this brings the Mountain View-based startup to over $63 million, following the $11 million the company raised in series A and B rounds, dating back to 2006.
As part of its whopping series C round, Goldman is joined by existing investors former chairman and CEO of MCI Bert Roberts, RENN Capital President Russell Cleveland, angel investor Esther Dyson, former president of the Huffington Post Greg Coleman, Doug Maine, the former CFO of IBM, Rick Roth, and Kevin Cook, to name a few.
For those unfamiliar, AnchorFree was founded back in 2005 with a simple mission: Provide secure, anonymous, and private browsing to internet users the world over. Over the years, the company has become best known for its flagship software, Hotspot Shield, an ad-supported virtual private network (VPN), which enables users to protect their privacy and identity while surfing the Web.
Securing each page one visits by turning all HTTP traffic into HTTPS, creates what is essentially a personal, secure tunnel for each user, allowing activity, sites visited, and personally identifiable information, for example, to stay private.
The software, which is available for PC, mac, and on mobile platforms, has also become widely used in regions and countries that censor web activity, as Hotspot enables users (both for those traveling abroad and for locals living amidst censorship) to circumvent that censorship and gain free, uninterrupted access to information.
Hotspot has become one of the most popular security tools for public WiFi hotspots, having been downloaded by more than 60 million people across the globe. Since being released 6 months ago, its iOS apps have crossed 1 million users, and Hotspot is tracking over 100 million monthly user sessions and more than two billion page views per month.
Hotspot has become increasingly relevant in countries where government tracking and crackdowns have become the norm, like when Libya flipped its kill switch last year, taking the entire country offline. The software offered the world a better sense of the breadth of that government intervention, and has become increasingly appealing to both first and third worlders accessing public hotspots.
For those using AnchorFree’s mobile apps, Hotspot also offers data compression, allowing users to decide between low, medium, or high compression — especially relevant to image quality — to help users save money on mobile data plans. (AnchorFree claims that it can help users cut data usage by as much as half.)
As to Goldman Sachs, the investment bank has been busy of late, dumping $500 million into Facebook as well as a more recent $35 investment in BeachMint, the popular social commerce startup.
For more on AnchorFree, check ‘em out at home here.