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Patricia Müller

NetBird raises 1.1 million euros

CISPA supported startup NetBird closes a successful pre-seed-round. With the raised money they plan to revolutionize virtual private networks for companies.

With their open-source private network platform, NetBird achieved to raise €1.1M in a pre-seed round with the participation of Nauta Capital, Antler, Rheingau Founders, as well as, Jan Oberhauser (CEO and founder of Sequoia-backed source-available company, Emma Tracey (Founder and ex-Chief Marketing Officer of, and Mario Goetze (professional football player and business angel).

NetBird aims to simplify the complexity of IT infrastructure and networks through its peer-to-peer connectivity model that bypasses the gateways commonly used in Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and traditional perimeter-based Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). It blends the advantages of the VPN with Zero Trust principles and works universally on modern cloud-based infrastructure including Google, AWS, Azure, on-premises, at home, and in containers. At a time when nearly half of tech pros (49 percent) confirmed the acceleration of hybrid IT has increased the complexity of their organisation’s IT management, NetBird offers a solution that frees engineering teams from time-consuming network maintenance tasks.

The now raised funding will enable them to accelerate growth, further develop the technology, and make it available across other platforms including mobile, serverless, and others.

Maycon Santos, CTO and co-founder of NetBird, asks, "Look at the standard cloud provider guide to configuring a site-to-site connection for a company - how many steps does it involve? How many resources do you need to deploy? Now imagine connecting another cloud provider or a data centre, then add a remote workforce, cloud-managed services, a few different offices and the complexity is unmanageable and increases exponentially."

Misha Bragin, CEO and co-founder of NetBird, adds, "We want to make sure that IT departments spend less time managing and maintaining private networks and spend more time on security. Our technology can be adopted and leveraged by companies of any size.”

Misha Bragin and Maycon Santos started working on peer-to-peer connectivity technology as part of their privacy-focused home storage solution for personal data. The technology was aimed at individuals with no technical knowledge that wanted to connect to their home network and access personal data like photos and documents securely end-to-end from anywhere in the world without involving third-party servers that could potentially decrypt traffic.

Soon they realised that the zero-configuration peer-to-peer network solution they had developed could be applied to corporate networks and a new direction was paved for the company. They chose to open source the technology and it quickly gained over 4.4 thousand stars on GitHub from key engineers in the industry. The NetBird Cloud Beta version has been in the public domain since 2022 and already has secured thousands of registered accounts and connected machines.

Traditionally, corporate networks have used perimeter-based VPNs that add complexity with each new connection (machine, server, device) added. To connect or share information between two points within a perimeter-based VPN may require data passing through gateways increasing the chances of configuration errors, security concerns, as well as decreasing network performance. Ultimately, this can have an impact on both system and employee productivity.

Misha Bragin, CEO and co-founder of NetBird, compares his technology to travelling on a plane: "The fastest way from Point A to Point B is a direct flight. Historically, direct flights were more rare as planes did not have the technology to travel such long distances. Nowadays we have the technology and as such we choose to take direct flights reducing travel times and the chance of delays. Simply put, they are more convenient and reliable. Our technology is the equivalent of taking a direct flight.”

NetBird also offers peer-to-peer encryption ensured by the WireGuard protocol, multi-factor authentication, Single Sign On (SSO) integration with popular cloud identity providers, and simple access control. WireGuard’s fast, modern and secure VPN protocol (designed by Jason A. Donenfeld) uses advanced cryptography and a streamlined codebase. The technology enables a faster, simpler and more secure alternative to traditional VPN protocols like OpenVPN and IPSec. NetBird uses kernel (in OS) WireGuard implementation, meaning that the network packets can be processed more quickly and with less overhead, resulting in faster data transfer speeds. A kernel-based implementation provides better security as it is harder to compromise than a user-space implementation.

NetBird was recently recognised as Sifted’s Top 10 European Open Source companies to watch. In November 2022, NetBird joined the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security incubator. The programme gives NetBird direct access to cutting-edge research that the company uses to optimise its own technology.

Since November 2022 CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security supports NetBird as part of an incubation. The startup receives direct access to CISPA's cutting-edge research and help in the area of business development. The cooperation enables NetBird to optimize its technology with current knowledge from cybersecurity research.

How CISPA supports startups during incubation:

With our unique transfer ecosystem, we are bringing modern entrepreneurship and innovative business models to life. Our mission: generating sustainable value by turning world-class research into economic and social innovations. We believe that research and entrepreneurship only reach their full potential when combined. That's why we help potential founders to evaluate their ideas from a market perspective and to find the right contacts and funding opportunities. In our process, each startup undergoes a profound technical evaluation and receives important feedback from the research community. Our team assists with ideation as well as the development of sustainable business models, establishes contacts with its network and answers financing and legal questions. Regarding funding, CISPA offers various attractive options via its own venture capital fund and public funding programs.