Meet Windscribe, Winner of the Startups of the Year in Torontoby@controld
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Meet Windscribe, Winner of the Startups of the Year in Toronto

by Control DMarch 15th, 2024
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To us, it highlights that people recognize the need for a VPN in the privacy space that takes privacy seriously - and that you can do this while still maintaining a sense of humor. We’ve been working tirelessly to ensure connectivity in many challenging regions lately.
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This interview series celebrates all the phenomenal Startups of the Year Winners. Congratulations! Well-Deserved, Champion.The HackerNoon community is excited to learn more about you!

share the link to your winning city award here


What does it mean for you to win this title?

To us, it highlights that people recognize the need for a VPN in the privacy space that takes privacy seriously - and that you can do this while still maintaining a sense of humor. We’ve been working tirelessly to ensure connectivity in many challenging regions lately.

Be it politics, censorship, or dictatorial aggression – we will power through with smiles on our faces.

What sets you apart from the competition?

I briefly mentioned our sense of humor, and that really does have an impact on all aspects of Windscribe. I think that shows. We get a ton of feedback from people saying that they love our VPN not just because it works well; it’s because of how we communicate with our community.

We have the largest VPN community at We get fan mail from people around the world saying how certain jokes made their day - it’s great, our user base is so awesome. It makes us more approachable and that allows us to cater to their needs better than anyone else. We genuinely love this business and what it does for others.

What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?

Our team is awesome: super smart people, from around the world, that get along and are genuinely concerned with privacy.

Obviously, there are a lot of VPN companies out there, but we don’t cut corners, we don’t waste money on advertising or affiliate marketing, and we have rigid ethical standards (sometimes to the detriment of our revenue, but to the relief of our consciousness).

We have the largest physical network out of any of our competitors. We are entirely self-funded so no one can force us to abandon our ethics. We are open about our ownership and our location - basically, there is a face behind the company, instead of a series of hidden shell companies.

We spend a lot on talent, infrastructure, and researching the best solutions to online privacy issues. We take our mission very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously.

If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?

Eating chili cheese dogs and letting shit slide? Enjoying having a good posture, unburdened by sitting and typing for 11 hours a day? Yelling at the moon for not being the sun? Teaching my dog how to drive? There is so much I could be doing.

At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your core metrics?

We have a ton of internal metrics. Speed, reliability, and ability for quick turnaround on new features. To roll out fixes, find solutions for censorship, and ensure we respond to any issue within hours.

Tell us how your startup is changing the world.

At the risk of sounding like we are pitching to a bunch of out-of-touch San Francisco VCs - we are changing the world by helping people who are isolated in countries with restricted internet the means to stay connected and informed about the world around them.

We help journalists, protestors, and activists to champion their cause. We provide a means of communication between loved ones. We allow those in countries with only state-approved media a glimpse at the truth of issues that affect them from sources they may not traditionally have access to.

We fight for an open internet and privacy for all. We’re also kind of funny, so there’s that, too.

How do you or your company intend to embrace the responsibility of this title in 2024?

I think if we’re able to maintain and improve on the level of service and reliability of our network, we’ll be able to make Windscribers proud. We often have cat-and-mouse-like antics with those who attempt to censor their citizens.

They will often try to find a way to block us which requires us to then find ways to circumvent their censorship. Luckily our circumvent censorship feature, something we’re very proud of, works incredibly well to this extent. Our team knows what to look for, how to adapt, and how to overcome these challenges.

What goals are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2024?

We want to continue to grow both of our companies, Windscribe and Control D, internally and externally.

It feels genuinely great knowing that we can help more and more people access information in traditionally “closed-off” parts of the world and manage their knowledge on their own terms - and do so with an international team of people who care about it just as much, and in some cases, even more than I can (some of our employees live in heavily censored countries).

Pretty cliché answer, I know - we just want to keep growing.

Which trend(s) are you most excited about in 2024? Share your reasons.

Broccoli-style haircuts. Their rise in popularity has given us much to laugh at. But we will be much more excited once that trend dies like the man-bun trend before it. What will come after?

Who knows. In the realm of technology, the list is really endless: rocketry and space exploration, AI, increasingly more useful and easier-to-access online educational content… there is a lot of interesting technology being worked on - so we are permanently excited to see what awaits the world.

2023 had been another crazy year, especially in tech, with layoffs and the Generative AI takeover! Which trend are you most concerned about? Be as brief or as detailed as you like.

Honestly, AI has been really helpful to our teams. We have adopted it to help teams do more in less time — it eases the burden/annoyance of repetitive and lower-priority tasks, giving everyone more time to work on engaging problems. As for the layoffs, we haven’t had to lay anyone off, which is a blessing.

We know it really sucks being let go from a company, but at the same time, this market has allowed us to scoop up a ton of really high-level talent. We have been hiring like crazy, and are still hiring more. Come and apply!

Share your biggest success so far and/or your biggest failure so far.

We have a company filled with very smart people who all get along to work on problems that affect people directly (censorship, access to information, etc). The team is our biggest success. We also are close to having 69 million users, which is numerologically important to us because funny sex number.

My dog didn’t poop in the office this week either. Really, it’s a string of one success after another. Biggest failure? Can’t remember, overshadowed by too much success (see previous sentence).

Any words of wisdom you’d like to share with us?

At a time when the world is increasing its interconnectivity, it is becoming harder and harder to safeguard one’s own privacy. The main word of “wisdom” (I’ll leave it to you to decide whether it is wise), is that everyone should pay close attention to their online privacy and protect it fiercely, as it is becoming a commodity for companies, governments, and various groups to exploit citizens, and profit off of them both monetarily and psychologically.

Take your privacy seriously because no one else will. Other than that… never judge a group of people by the way their government acts.

Startups of The Year is HackerNoon’s Flagship community-driven event celebrating startups that survived and thrived in 2023. 30,000 startups across 4200+ cities and six continents participated this year to be crowned the best startup in their city.

See our global winners announcement here.

Companies that blog more get 67% more leads - Jumpstart your company’s blogging journey by purchasing our Business Blogging Package.

The 2023 Startups Of The Year is sponsored by: .TECH Domains. The winners will get a free .Tech Domain, a HackerNoon NFT, and a Tech Company News Page.