The ownership and future of Mullvad VPN
This article is by our founders and sole shareholders, Daniel Berntsson and Fredrik Strömberg. Mullvad VPN is here to stay, and we are not interested in ever selling it.
We started building this organization in the summer of 2008 for idealistic reasons, and we are still idealists who think privacy is fundamental to a civilized society.
The best strategy for achieving societal impact through entrepreneurship is consistent, long-term, and value-based ownership. For us, this disqualifies taking outside investment, either through venture capital or going public. Mullvad has instead been growing organically without outside investments. It takes longer but the results are better.
In Swedish business tradition, the most important and foundational document for a corporation is its owner’s directive. It is a steering document that governs the board of directors which in turn sets strategy and long-term goals for the company.
The owner's directive of Mullvad VPN (link in Swedish) states the following:
- Daniel Berntsson and Fredrik Strömberg will continue to own 50% each of the shares.
- No further contribution of capital or new issue of shares is expected to be necessary.
- Our investment horizon is “to plant trees in the shade of which we will never sit”.
- Mullvad's vision is to make censorship and mass surveillance impractical.
- Mullvad shall strive to act in accordance with its cultural pillars of trustworthiness, transparency, and trailblazing.
- Owners’ restriction on board and CEO: honesty, especially in marketing.
These principles have withstood the test of time – more than 10 years. Our conviction has remained unchanged through multiple serious offers of acquisition and outside investment. Words are cheap of course, but consistent action over the course of more than a decade is not.
Those who have known Mullvad VPN for years know how we’ve acted. You can expect more of the same. We will surely make mistakes, some colleagues will leave and others will join, but the organization we’re building together is in it for the long haul.