A growing startup company that was co-founded by two Waterloo Engineering graduates is in unicorn territory after securing US $100 million in new funding.

Tailscale Inc., which was launched just three years ago and currently has 35 employees, was founded by alumni Avery Pennarun (BASc ’01, computer engineering) and David Carney (BASc ’01, computer engineering) along with David Crawshaw.

Avery Pennarun

Waterloo Engineering alumnus Avery Pennarun is a co-founder of Tailscale Inc.

They are out to “fix the Internet,” according to a blog post by Pennarun, by providing a simpler alternative to virtual private network (VPN) systems that doesn’t require costly hardware or infrastructure.

“So, here’s what we’re going to do with a hundred million dollars: more of what we’ve been doing, for the people we’ve been doing it for,” wrote Pennarun, the CEO, in the folksy post. “At a healthy pace, at human scale. With a focus on quality and craftsmanship. And trust. And security. And customer service. And … profitability. Like a bunch of weirdos.

“I could show you our fancy Vision Statement and Mission Statement, but I’ve been referring to them less and less lately. Now I just tell people: We’re here to fix the Internet. If we don’t, who will?”

The funding round, which was led by Charles Rivers Ventures (CRV) and Insight Partners, values the Toronto-based company at $1 billion.

Tailscale has benefitted from the move to working from home via remote connections during the COVID-19 pandemic, rapidly increasing its active monthly users. It is aiming to triple its staff by the end of the year.

Main photo by Olia Danilevich from Pexels