Cloudflare made a significant acquisition today when it acquired mobile VPN startup, Neumob. The purchase gives Cloudflare a mobile performance tool it was lacking, and a road to its first direct to consumer product. The company did not reveal the purchase price.
Neumob, which had raised close to $11 million, was founded in 2015 to give users a faster mobile VPN experience that purports to actually save battery life by reducing the necessity to keep pinging the network. It also built an SDK to give developers the ability to build that same experience right inside their mobile apps. They had companies like Hotel Tonight and The Economist using their software to speed up their mobile apps.
The startup created this technology, but as they grew they were handcuffed by the fact they lacked a network of sufficient size. By combining with Cloudflare, they get that missing network piece, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince explained. “It’s just a natural synergistic relationship that their technology combined with our network will allow the technology to grow even faster,” he said.
His company currently has networking presence in 120 cities with plans to be in 150 by the end of Q1 in 2018. Neumob had millions of people running its product, but the networking costs were overwhelming them. “They had to pay for connectivity to all those networks. We can run their VPN at an extremely low cost,” he said.
Up until now, Cloudflare has concentrated on helping its customers have a faster, safer and more efficient web presence. By acquiring Neumob, it allows them to expand that coverage to mobile as well, which was very attractive to the company.
The deal actually closed a couple of weeks ago, according to Prince. The Neumob engineering team has joined Cloudflare with the goal of optimizing their products to work on the Cloudflare network. The Neumob website will shut down today and the products will no longer be available to the public until they are rereleased later this year or toward the beginning of 2018 under the Cloudflare brand, Prince said.
Cloudflare plans to make the Neumob VPN functionality and the SDK available to Cloudflare business customers in the future, and will also offer the VPN app in the iOS and Android app stores after it is released again, giving Cloudflare its first direct connection to consumers.
While product pricing is still be worked out, Prince envisions a free product with premium add-ons for the consumer version. Regardless, he said they have an ambitious internal goal of 200 million downloads of the VPN app by a year from now.
Cloudflare was founded in 2009 and has raised almost $183 million. Neumob is the company’s fourth acquisition.