FounderJohn Ackerly
Will Ackerly
HeadquartersWashington, DC
ServicesEmail encryption

Virtru is an email encryption and digital privacy company.[1][2][3][4]


Launched in 2012, John Ackerly is the CEO and Co-Founder of Virtru and Will Ackerly is the CTO and Co-Founder of Virtru,[5] a digital privacy company based in Washington D.C. Prior to founding Virtru in 2012,[6] John was responsible for privacy and technology policy at the White House National Economic Council[7] and was the Policy and Strategic Planning Director at the U.S. Department of Commerce.[8] Prior to founding Virtru in 2012, Will spent eight years at the National Security Agency (NSA) where he specialized in cloud analytic and security architecture — specifically protecting the agency’s in-house data transfers. During his tenure at the NSA, Will invented the Trusted Data Format (TDF).


Virtru is privately funded with investments from Bessemer Venture Partners and other private investors.[9] Bessemer partner David Cowan, co-founder of Verisign, serves on the company’s board of directors. Authentic8 CEO, Scott Petry,[10] who founded the email security company Postini, is also a Virtru board member.[11]

On August 22, 2016, Virtru announced that it has closed on $29 million in Series A funding.[12]


At the core of Virtru-enabled applications is the open source Trusted Data Format (TDF), which allows fine-grained access control for all file types and attachments, such as emails, Office files, pdfs, photos, and videos. The TDF format, invented by Virtru co-founder Will Ackerly, wraps and protects content and communicates with Virtru-enabled key stores that maintain access privileges. When a Virtru-protected message is sent, content is encrypted and secured inside a TDF wrapper. When your receiver attempts to open it, the wrapper communicates with the Virtru server to verify that the receiver is eligible to see the information. While the TDF technology is applicable to a wide variety of data security applications, Virtru has focused first on email.[13][14]


After a one-year beta period, Virtru released its flagship email privacy service in January 2015.[15] The service provides simple email encryption directly within commonly used email services like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook.[16]


  1. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "Virtru, A Secure Email App Built By An Ex-NSA Engineer, Raises $6M". TechCrunch. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  2. ^ Walker, Danielle. "Clinton's use of private email spawns security, transparency debate". SC Magazine. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Virtru: Email Privacy Simplified". Bidness Etc. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  4. ^ Wood, Molly. "Virtru: New encryption tool to secure emails". Times Internet. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  5. ^ Castillo, Michael del. "Brothers who worked for the NSA and George W. Bush now defend against snoops". Bizjournals. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Ex-NSA Computer Scientist Creates Tool To Let You Take Back Emails". Co.Exist. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  7. ^ Ravindranath, Mohana. "Security start-ups spin out of Washington intelligence community". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  8. ^ Robertson, Jordan. "Security Startup Virtru Nabs $6 Million for Encryption". Bloomberg. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  9. ^ Harrison, J.D. "One start-up, two pitches: Virtru flying D.C.'s banner at SXSW". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Former NSA? No prob. Security player Virtru hauls in $6 million". VentureBeat. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Former National Security Agency Internet specialist gets funds for e-mail security tool". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  12. ^ Perez, Sarah. "Email and file encryption service Virtru, built by ex-NSA engineer, raises $29 million". TechCrunch. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  13. ^ Byrne Reilly, Richard. "Email encryption player Virtru proud of its NSA roots — and its crypto security". VentureBeat. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  14. ^ Kirk, Jeremy. "Virtru launches business email encryption service for Google Apps". PC World. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  15. ^ "Virtru Launches Encrypted Email and Privacy Service, Forever Changing the Digital Privacy Landscape". Reuters. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  16. ^ "How to easily encrypt email with Virtru for free: Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, Yahoo". Network World. Retrieved 15 March 2015.