Key Takeaways: ExpressVPN & Kape Technologies
- The acquisition means that ExpressVPN is part of the latest string of high-profile VPN purchases by Kape Technologies.
- ExpressVPN claims that the change will only bring improvements for users; it will maintain independence and its high-quality service and protection.
- It’s hard to imagine how Kape Technologies’ shady past won’t blemish ExpressVPN’s reputation at least a little, but time will tell.
On Sept. 14, 2021, the VPN industry woke up to the news that Kape Technologies bought ExpressVPN for $936 million, the largest amount ever to be paid for a VPN company.
If you want to learn more about ExpressVPN, you can also read our ExpressVPN review. We will continue to update this article as more information becomes available. Read on for more details about the acquisition.
Added information about the Kape Technologies layoffs, as well as a timeline graphic.
Kape Technologies Buys ExpressVPN for $936 Million
Why did Kape Technologies buy ExpressVPN? According to Kape Technologies’ news release, adding ExpressVPN to its quiver of VPNs will double its user number from 3 million to 6 million.
According to ExpressVPN’s blog post about the acquisition, the reasoning behind this move is so that the VPN can “innovate faster” and joining forces would offer users “protection from a wider range of threats.”
“We’ve been impressed by Kape’s clear commitment to protecting the privacy of users. Their track record with upholding the exacting privacy practices and policies of other privacy protection services under the Kape umbrella is a strong testament to how seriously they take their responsibility to respect user privacy and rights.”ExpressVPN blog post
However, Kape Technologies’ history (previously named Crossrider) has drawn our criticism and suspicion in the past due to its software being used to distribute malware, as seen in our CyberGhost review.
Defenders of Kape/Crossrider
That controversial malware history might not be all it seems, though. A recent investigation by Restore Privacy indicates that Crossrider’s role was simply to create a development platform that was used and abused by third parties to spread malware.
Interestingly, this Restore Privacy article quotes Andrew Lee, co-founder of Private Internet Access — another VPN that was bought by Kape Technologies. He defended Kape/Crossrider soon after that acquisition:
To be clear, in the past the company was known as CrossRider and provided a developer SDK that could be used to integrate with browsers. Unfortunately, CrossRider didn’t do enough to prevent malware (like platforms these days and their fake news) and the platform was used by some bad people for bad purposes.Andrew Lee, co-founder of Private Internet Access
Some skeptics might ask, why didn’t Crossrider/Kape do more to clear its name of its bad reputation, rather than relying on subsidiaries and a VPN review site to defend it? We will update this article if we get a comment back from Kape Technologies.
VPNs Owned by Kape Technologies
ExpressVPN is the latest VPN to be acquired by Kape Technologies, which currently owns CyberGhost, ZenMate VPN and Private Internet Access.
Kape Technologies bought CyberGhost in 2017 for $10.5 million, ZenMate VPN in 2018 for 4.8 million euros, and Private Internet Access in 2019 for $95.5 million — numbers that pale in comparison to this new record with ExpressVPN that nears a billion dollars.
We should also note that Kape’s biggest acquisition until this point was earlier in 2021 when it bought Webselenese, the owner of the VPN review site vpnMentor, for $149.1 million.
ExpressVPN Owned by Kape Technologies: What Will Change?
ExpressVPN published an FAQ to answer many questions that users rightly have, and here are the main points.
In its blog post, ExpressVPN claims that things will “only continue to improve” under the acquisition, including its speed and global server network. ExpressVPN’s core features, like its unlimited bandwidth, BVI jurisdiction and dedication to not collecting activity or connection logs should remain unchanged. The VPN will continue to operate independently from Kape Technologies, run by the current ExpressVPN team.
Luckily, ExpressVPN says it will continue to have independent third-party audits and penetration tests.
In 2023, Kape Technologies went private, laid off 12% of its staff, and ExpressVPN founder Peter Burchhardt and ExpressVPN CTO Dan Gericke left the Kape Technologies company.
ExpressVPN has long been our best VPN for its impeccable security, speed, ease of use and more. Kape Technologies has a shady past, which has since overshadowed some of the VPNs it has acquired. The pairing is raising eyebrows, to say the least.
We hope that Kape Technologies doesn’t damage the reputation that ExpressVPN has built for itself, and that ExpressVPN will continue to rank as one of the top VPNs.
Are you an ExpressVPN user? If so, what do you think of ExpressVPN selling to Kape Technologies? Will you continue to use the service, or will you check out its top competitor, NordVPN? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading.