This acquisition sees ExpressVPN become stablemates with competitors Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and Zenmate, and means that Kape has taken control of a good portion of the biggest providers on the market — although autonomy is reportedly guaranteed.
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With the addition of ExpressVPN’s three million subscribers, the number of paying VPN customers under the Kape banner has doubled to over six million. As VPNs continue to surge in popularity, we can only foresee that number rising.
Market leaders in VPN
Having held the top spot for some time on a number of best-of guides online — including ours — ExpressVPN is a well-respected company that is known for privacy innovations like its RAM-only TrustedServer tech and the new open-source Lightway protocol.
However, the British Virgin Islands-based provider has been famously private about its operations throughout its history. In fact, Kape’s statement to the London Stock Exchange is the first time we’ve seen figures on ExpressVPN's customer numbers, location spread (40% US-based), revenue ($279.4 million in 2020), and growth (37% in 2020).
So ExpressVPN certainly wasn't in dire straits, but the massive financial clout that Kape brings should allow the developers to innovate more and bolster that best-in-class reputation.
Speaking to TechRadar (opens in new tab), ExpressVPN co-founder Dan Pomerantz stated that "ExpressVPN will continue to be run as an independent service, by our existing team, and have its own product development roadmap, which can now be accelerated with Kape’s backing".
It doesn’t look like things will be changing for ExpressVPN customers any time soon.
What is Kape Technologies?
Owned by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi (founder of Playtech and owner of London’s Camden Market), Kape Technologies describes itself as a "global privacy and security company".
Over the past few years, Kape has been hoovering up high-end VPN providers and boosting its reputation as a security brand, but the reception hasn’t been totally positive.
That scepticism comes from the fact Kape has its roots in the much-maligned adware program Crossrider (opens in new tab). While any ties with Crossrider are now believed to have been thoroughly erased, many users believe that ex-adware creators have no rightful place in the cybersecurity world.
Both Kape and ExpressVPN have gone to lengths to make assurances that all VPNs under the Kape flag have maintained operational and technical autonomy. From our reviewing process of PIA and CyberGhost, we can say that both providers have kept up quality privacy policies and reliable products years after being bought up.
Who’s left to buy?
A wide range of VPNs and VPN-related sites have been bought in recent years, and many by just two companies. Kape Technologies now owns ExpressVPN, the VPNs mentioned before, and VPN review site VPNMentor. Another company, J2Global, owns IPVanish, StrongVPN, BufferedVPN and more, plus PC Mag.
A few providers, most notably big name NordVPN, remain independent, but as the thirst for VPN grows and with billion-dollar sums on the table, we wouldn’t be surprised if we hear talk of further acquisitions in the near future.