ProtonMail buys email alias startup SimpleLogin – TechCrunch

Proton, the Geneva, Switzerland-based startup behind the eponymous E2E encrypted webmail service, ProtonMail, has acquired French company SimpleLogin, which offers an open source freemium service for creating email aliases to allow people protect their real email address when signing up for digital services. services.

Paris-based SimpleLogin was founded in 2019 and works as a browser extension, web app, and mobile app, and also gives users a dashboard where they can turn off aliases (for example, if one starts getting spam ); and manage multiple real email addresses (ie if they have multiple email accounts from which they want to be able to send aliased emails).

The startup has grown to over 100,000 users, with over 2 million email aliases created to date. They also tell us that its monthly growth rate is in the double digits.

There is already a fair amount of service overlap between SimpleLogin and Proton, with about a quarter of SimpleLogin users also being ProtonMail users, according to a Proton spokesperson, who speaks of “deaf synergies between us.”

Commenting on its acquisition in a statement, Son Nguyen Kim, Founder and CEO of SimpleLogin, added: “SimpleLogin’s mission is to protect your online identity… We like Proton’s mission, its transparency, open source nature and its user-first culture. It’s exciting to see what we can do with Proton’s experience and resources.”

Financial terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Proton founder and CEO Andy Yen also points to the overlap, writing, “We have been keeping a close eye on SimpleLogin for a long time as many ProtonMail users use it to bypass your ProtonMail addresses from being leaked to spammers.

“SimpleLogin is a complementary service to ProtonMail”, he adds. “ProtonMail protects the privacy of your data with encryption, while SimpleLogin prevents malicious actors from discovering your real email address by hiding your email.”

Proton’s plan is to further integrate the SimpleLogin functionality into ProtonMail, meaning its broader user base will be able to hide their email addresses using SimpleLogin without having to sign up separately for the latter service.

Proton will also maintain SimpleLogin as a separate service, per yen.

“If you already use SimpleLogin with ProtonMail, things will continue to work the same as before,” he says. “SimpleLogin will continue to operate as a stand-alone service, and the SimpleLogin team will continue to create new features and add functionality, but now with the benefit of Proton’s infrastructure and security engineering capabilities.”

The SimpleLogin team will continue to operate from Paris, where Yen says Proton will now be actively looking to recruit as it continues to expand the business, adding that his hope is to create “dozens” of jobs in the coming years.

The acquisition marks a further expansion of Proton’s suite of services, which in addition to E2E webmail for individual and business users includes a private label VPN, a calendar product and cloud storage (also known as Proton Drive).

Maintaining a privacy-focused business model that does not rely on data mining users to generate revenue encourages expansion into additional, aligned service areas to maximize cross-selling opportunities. Thus, we have also seen the tracking-free browser, DuckDuckGo, add a number of additional services in recent years as competition for privacy-focused services increases.

Most pertinently, DuckDuckGo launched an email protection service last summer that offers an email protection feature quite similar to SimpleLogin: it gives users a free @duck.com personal email address (albeit simply for forward emails to the user’s regular inbox; DuckDuckGo claims that it does not save your emails and does not (yet) offer a similar webmail service).

It is clear that increased competition in the privacy space is leading to previously very different services becoming more spread out and beginning to overlap territorially. For users, the result is more comprehensive privacy products that promise to protect more of their online activity from prying eyes.

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