McAfee, the company behind the popular antivirus going by the same name, has acquired virtual private network (VPN) provider TunnelBear. The terms of the deal were not revealed by the company but it is a major acquisition for the Canada-based VPN company.
TunnelBear based in Toronto was founded in 2011 and has gained a strong reputation for its cross-platform VPN app. TunnelBear claims to have around 20 million using its service across mobile and desktop. The app uses quirky bear animations to show active connections and focus on privacy.
In the past few months, TunnelBear has also ventured into password management with the launch of standalone app named RememBear. Under McAfee, the company has the best opportunity to scale itself against its peers especially in new areas like password management.
McAfee is one of the most reputed names in the online security space and is well known for its desktop security tool. It was acquired by Intel in for $7.7 billion in 2010 and was rebranded as Intel Security Group. The chipmaker decided to spin it out as an independent company last year with Intel retaining a 49 percent share.
Since TunnelBear has not raised any outside funding in the past, its valuation remains unknown at this moment. The company has said that it is profitable in the past. McAfee is likely to leverage TunnelBear’s technology to power its VPN service called Safe Connect.
“The acquisition of TunnelBear gives McAfee a world-class technology and business that strategically aligns with its vision of protecting what matters most to its customers, including online behavior, personal data and sensitive information. TunnelBear has built an engaging and profitable direct-to-consumer brand, and we’re confident this acquisition will serve both our end users and partners by embedding its best-in-class, hardened network into our Safe Connect product,” said Christopher Young, chief executive officer, McAfee.
Virtual Private Network like TunnelBear have become the go to source among online users to prevent their privacy and mask their location. However, they are facing pressure from authorities who have started cracking down on such services. For instance, the Chinese government asked Apple to pull down all VPN apps from its App Store. TunnelBear is also facing competition from a number of other such services like ProtonMail and Opera, which have their own VPN service.