Browsing the Web comes with many hazards—among the most important is the feeling of being watched. In the digital age, freedom and privacy is not guaranteed on the Internet, certainly not given the rise of hacking, censorship, and cyber bullying.
What if businesses could provide that social good and still turn a profit? That’s the mission fueling David Gorodyansky, CEO of software maker AnchorFree. Through its Hotspot Shield product, the company provides a virtual private network to people who want to safeguard themselves from the dangers of public Wi-Fi networks.
AnchorFree’s business model is built on revenue from a small percentage of power users who pay for premium features. As for everyone else: “Most of our 600 million users use us for free,” Gorodyansky says, “but the people that pay make up enough revenue for us to be a very profitable business.”
Its “freemium” model allows AnchorFree to marry business model to corporate responsibility—a difficult challenge for most companies, says Gorodyansky. “The values [other companies] talk about are not central to their core mission. For AnchorFree, our product enables freedom and privacy, so equal opportunity is core to our mission, not secondary.”
For Internet-based businesses, it’s especially important to align social values with products and services. In the 21st century, Internet users simply won’t engage if privacy and security isn’t at the heart of the product.
“Making a billion people on the Internet freer is important,” Gorodyansky says. “We want to spend our energy and youth on something that’s really meaningful.”
Watch the video above for more from Fortune’s interview with Gorodyansky.
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