Berlin privacy startup ZenMate announced today that it has secured $3.2 million (£2 million) in funding to grow and scale its platform, which allows internet browsers to keep their anonymity on the web. 

The Series A funding round was led by German internet investors Holtzbrinck Ventures. Current investor and company builder Project A Ventures also participated in the funding round, alongside new investors Shortcut Ventures and T-VentureZenMate is optimistic that the two new investors will provide valuable mobile expertise as they have close links with ePlus and Deutsche Telekom respectively.

Launched in July 2013, ZenMate gives end users secure, encrypted access to any website, from anywhere, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)-style connection.

Initially launched as a browser extension for Google Chrome, ZenMate announced versions for iOS and Android in August 2014.

The company, which also announced today that it now has five million registered users, building significantly on the one million it had acquired in February, recently won the Europas Award for Best Security/Privacy Startup of 2014

In a bid to appeal to an even larger user base, ZenMate today revealed that it has built a plugin for the Mozilla Firefox web browser. 

Barbod Namini, principal at Holtzbrinck said: “We saw an incredibly talented team in ZenMate, with deep technical knowledge and a crystal-clear product vision. Their already global reach and strong growth puts them on the right path to becoming a household name in internet security.”

ZenMate founder and CEO Simon Specka said: “Over the past 18 months we have focused on making ZenMate the best of its kind, and watched it grow to be a product that millions around the world have come to trust.

“With our new investment we hope to scale and grow our product family, to become the number-one privacy solution of its kind.”

ZenMate and other VPNs are seen as controversial by some people as they can be used, for example, by someone outside the UK in order to watch BBC iPlayer, or by someone in the UK to access the US version of Netflix, which boasts more content.

Jürgen Kohr, SVP of T-Systems cybersecurity division, said: “I am impressed to see these data privacy technologies being developed in Germany. It’s important not only at a business level, but also for consumers. The internet is a great place with many possibilities, and we are delighted to work with companies who are striving to make it a better place."

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