David Gorodyansky is the CEO and co-founder of AnchorFree. Previously, David founded Intelligent Buying Inc., a profitable asset management company and reseller of IT enterprise networking equipment. Prior to that, David launched a B2B Web service in the field of competitive intelligence, which in turn, gave rise to the spin-off of a large network of IT service management portals. David’s earlier work experience has included several years of wireless research, planning, and enterprise strategy at Remedy Corporation, Fulcrum Management, and work with analyst companies such as Gartner Group, IDC, and Meta Group. David is a member of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals and an advisor on the Technology Expert Council to Edwin M. Lee, the mayor of San Francisco.
Sramana Mitra: David, where are you from and where does your story begin?
David Gorodyansky: I was born in Moscow, Russia. I moved to Palo Alto with my parents when I was nine, so I pretty much grew up here. They were engineers and found jobs here. I went to high school here and then went to San Diego State for business school. While at school I founded my first company, Intelligent Buying Inc., with the same gentleman who is the co-founder of AnchorFree, Eugene Malobrodsky.
That company was relatively success for a team of college students. It had a small IPO as an OTC. It was pretty cool for being in college. That company was in the IT asset management space. When the crash happened, we would buy up their networking equipment and then sell it to new startups. We made a million dollars the first year, which was great for a college project. We started in our garage before we rented a small cubicle in a building. We ended up taking over the entire building.
Sramana Mitra: When did you finish with that company?
David Gorodyansky: We exited in 2005. We wanted to invest in something that would have a real impact in the world. We came up with the idea of creating a private VPN that we could give away free. We could essentially put every user in the world in control of their privacy and identity online.
In 2005, people were not conscious of the dangers of being tracked online. Today they are more aware of that. There is legislation that Congress is trying to pass to prevent people from tracking you online. We have had members of Congress reach out to us because of what we already do. We came up with the concept of building a platform where everybody in the world could be secure and private, and that they could access it free.
To make it sustainable, we came up with an ad platform to monetize the software. Typically VPNs are used by enterprises to get to their employees. We created a VPN for the masses. It is not enterprises, any average person can use it to be secure and private. There is a downloadable client that you can download and turn on. Once you turn it on, then every Web page users visit with Hot Spot Shield is delivered over https. The easiest way to explain this to consumers is that your e-mail is just as secure as your banking site. We https as much as 2 billion pages a month.
The other thing Hot Spot Shield does is it encrypts your Wi-Fi connection. Public hot spots are almost always unsecured. We secure it for you. Our product also gets rid of your IP address so your ISP cannot track what you do, and neither can we. You become totally private. We protect you from the bad guys, good guys, and ourselves. We designed the system to be that way intentionally.