As with many private VPN providers, popular VPN provider Surfshark has remained coy about its ownership or corporate structure. However, in a first, Surfshark CEO and Founder Vytautas Kaziukonis revealed to Verslo žinios (a Lithuanian business news site) that Surfshark was developed alongside Nord Security and NordVPN, under umbrella company and business incubator Tesonet.
This new disclosure raises some interesting questions about the specifics of Surfshark’s ties to NordVPN, past and present, and why it had never been admitted before. Tesonet’s website lists a dozen products it has created and invested in, including Nord Security’s range of offerings, but makes no reference to Surfshark.
According to the Surfshark CEO’s interview with the Lithuanian news site (and automatically translated into English), Surfshark was part of the Tesonet Group for the first two years of its operations. Tesonet has helped Surfshark with “things like hiring and renting office space”.
In the interview, Vytautas Kaziukonis described Surfshark and Tesonet’s current relationship as “close friends” who share “market insights and forecasts.” He said: “Surfshark is a Lithuanian capital company, but we don’t want to disclose our shareholders yet.”
In a statement, Surfshark told TechRadar Pro: “Tesonet is an IT business accelerator/incubator in Lithuania that promotes a number of leading companies, such as Hostinger, Nord Security, Zyro and others. Surfshark started with the help of the incubator, especially in terms of office space, hiring and consulting. Today Surfshark is a completely separate company, but we remain close friends with people from other Tesonet companies, hold occasional events and share our knowledge of the job market situation..”
Separately, NordVPN told us, “While Nord Security is a brainchild of Tom Okman and Eimantas Sabaliauskas, through the Tesonet business accelerator they have helped many founders grow their startups or even turn their ideas into viable businesses. The Nord Security team has always been independent and autonomous, even when it was still part of the Tesonet accelerator at the very beginning.”
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Surfshark previously had announcement a reorganization and relocation from the British Virgin Islands to the Netherlands, but had not mentioned Lithuania as part of this announcement.
Tesonet is also the investor behind Oxylabs, a proxy service that provides solutions for large-scale public data collection, as well as Hostinger, a popular web hosting provider and its subsidiary, Zyro, a website builder that rivals Wix. It is also well documented that Tesonet helped another VPN, ProtonVPN in the past when they wanted to open an office in Vilnius.
While it’s unclear how NordVPN and Surfshark work together today, Verslo žinios also revealed that Surfshark will be moving to Cyber City, an upcoming tech campus in Vilnius, Lithuania where Tesonet and NordVPN announced that would also move.
Consolidation has been a trend in the VPN market lately. Kape Technologies, owner of CyberGhost and Private Internet Access, recently bought competitor ExpressVPN in the biggest merger in the industry.
J2Global owns six VPN brands, including IPVanish and StrongVPN. Nord Security also made a recent acquisition in Atlas VPN. However, the links between NordVPN and Surfshark were previously unknown and apparently avoided when questioned.
Sure. The clear answer to both questions is no. In fact, we are considering developing our own white label as we see a demand for such a service.August 12, 2020