Encrypted communications solutions provider Silent Circle said on Thursday that it has agreed to buy out a joint venture that it has with Geeksphone, giving Silent Circle a 100 percent ownership stake in SGP Technologies and full ownership of the privacy and security focused “Blackphone”.
SGP Technologies was formed specifically to create the Blackphone, a smartphone that aims to protect users against snooping governments, industry rivals and hackers.
The news comes shortly after the January appointment of F. William “Bill” Conner as Silent Circle’s President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board. Conner previously served as Entrust President and CEO and President of Nortel.
Silent Circle was co-founded by Mike Janke, former Navy SEAL and security expert; PGP creator Phil Zimmermann; and Jon Callas, creator of Apple’s whole disk encryption and co-founder of PGP Corporation.
“Silent Circle has brought tremendous disruption to the mobile industry and created an integrated suite of secure enterprise communication products that are challenging the status quo,” said Janke, who serves as Executive Chairman of the Silent Circle Board. “This first stage of growth has enabled us to raise approximately $50m to accelerate our continued rapid expansion and fuel our second stage of growth.”
“As the nature and volume of data breaches increase, institutional trust is eroding,” said Conner. “There are companies that have been hacked and there are those that don’t know about it yet, which means that security in the traditional sense has failed us. With the number of employees connecting to an enterprise’s network using their own devices rapidly rising, organizations need a different solution. In short, in a post-Sony and Gemalto world, security breaches have been made both enterprise and personal so it’s no longer an issue affecting just the boardroom,” said. ”
In a statement, Conner said the company would introduce new devices, software and services as part of an “enterprise privacy ecosystem” built from a fundamentally different mobile architecture.
In May 2014, Silent Circle announced that it had raised $30 Million in funding and had decided to move its global headquarters from the Caribbean island of Nevis to Switzerland.
In 2013 Silent Circle shut down its encrypted email service to avoid becoming a target after the US government subpoenaed the records of a similar secure e-mail provider called Lavabit.