Celebrate with us: Tuta Mail turns ten today!

To date Tuta (formerly Tutanota) has enabled millions of people to leave Gmail and other privacy-intrusive services. Our road to success was not always easy, but incredibly fun!

The Tuta Team celebrating as their email client Tuta (formerly Tutanota) turns ten today!
Ten years ago, we published the first beta version of Tutanota (now Tuta Mail), the privacy-friendly email alternative with a strong focus on security and open source. Our mission has remained unchanged from the start: stop state and corporate surveillance!

On this very special day we are happy to celebrate that Tuta(nota) was not only the first fully encrypted email provider back then, but that Tuta Mail today is the world's first email service to introduce quantum-resistant cryptography.

With this recent update, we are protecting your data from prying eyes not just now, but also from the threat of "Harvest Now, Decrypt Later". This break-through in cryptography once again shows our mission: building the most secure communication tool to stop increasing surveillance tendencies online.

Along with this achievement, we have another reason to celebrate: The German government just released a draft law that includes the "right to encryption". Once this law is passed, it will be a game-changer for your online security as the German government will require email providers, messenger apps and other cloud services to offer end-to-end encryption to their users.

This is amazing news and we'd like to applaud the German government for taking a step in the right direction and for protecting citizens' right to privacy.

How Tutanota started

At Tuta we are a growing team of about 30 freedom fighters who are committed to building a better web - but it all started much smaller: with only four people in 2014.

Ten years ago Matthias, Hanna, Bernd, and Arne published Tutanota - the first encrypted email client in the world.

The team behind Tutanota in 2014. Matthias, Hanna, Bernd, and Arne in 2014.

Since the launch of Tutanota, the core team has remained unchanged - for one simple reason: We are passionate about privacy and we love that we can provide a service that brings privacy to millions of people around the world.

Today, ten years and ten million users later, we can safely say that we are revolutionizing the web: we are building an internet where privacy is the default.

With Tuta we are now offering a fully encrypted communication platform that enables people to communicate confidentially and securely; a true alternative to ad-based providers that track and profile everyone.

Fun is part of what we do

At Tuta our growing team likes to fight for privacy - but we also like to have fun along the way! When we first launched Tutanota many people, particularly non-Germans, were having trouble with our name.

Instead of only explaining that Tuta-nota means "secure message" in Latin, we also took to video creation to make a fun little video of people around the world pronouncing "Tutanota": Check it out on YouTube!

While we still love our original brand name, the complexity of it finally led to our name change in 2023 when Tutanota became Tuta. Now you can enjoy your Tuta Mail, Tuta Calendar, Tuta Contacts - and soon to be published Tuta Drive - with an easy-to-spell name.

You can even sign up for a nice email address with your preferred name using our short domain tuta.com.

And, to wrap up the excursion to our company history, check here how our encrypted email client looked like in 2014 when it was first released!

Another big part of having fun at Tuta are our legendary ice-cream days:

Ice-Cream Day at Tuta Ice-Cream Day at Tuta - a day which became particularly popular when we launched our encrypted calendar.

Our pillars for success

Turning a secure online collaboration platform into a success is hard because you have to invest a lot of time and effort before the product can come close to non-encrypted services in regards to functionalities. In addition, you can not abuse users' data for making profits like so many of the most successful web companies do with targeted advertisements or selling user data.

Since we have started building Tuta(nota), we have seen encryption projects come and go. For instance, after the Snowden revelations back in 2013 Google promised to add end-to-end encryption to Gmail. But Gmail's encryption project is long dead, and was probably only a marketing move to begin with. Other encrypted email services had to shut down like Lavaboom or CTemplar, or were sold out like Skiff Mail.

From the start, we have focused on four pillars that have become the foundation of our success: passion for privacy, stick to the goals, focus on security, and building an ethical business.

History of Tuta(nota): Achievements from 2014 - 2024

We believe that we were only able to turn Tuta into a success because of our dedicated and ethical approach in how we want to build our company - an approach we never deterred from.

The very foundation of this all is our first pillar of success: our passion for privacy - a passion that is shared by our growing team as well as our growing community.

Passion for privacy

The first pillar of our success: Our passion for privacy.

Do you know the saying: It's more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy? In a way that's how we feel at Tuta.

Of course, we do not break the law. To the contrary, we are freedom fighters passionate about our human right to privacy. While governments as well as large tech companies constantly try to undermine our right to privacy, we work hard to provide an encrypted online eco-system (email, calendar, contacts, and soon drive) that protects your privacy - and the privacy of the people you communicate with.

This passion for privacy has been our main pillar for success from the start, and remains so to this day.

It comes to our benefit that in recent years the understanding that we all depend on privacy protection has become mainstream. Privacy has turned into an important selling point for lots of online services, not just for us.

The big plus about Tuta Mail is that we do not simply promise privacy. With the built-in encryption, it's a mathematical guarantee that your data is protected and, thus, your data can not be abused and your privacy can not be infringed on.

Stick to the goals

The second pillar for our success: Stick to the goals.

With Tuta we are providing people with an encrypted alternative to big tech products that track their users and abuse their data. Our goal is to build the most secure communication platform, free for everyone, so that people can use a better web - one where their privacy is respected by default.

We at Tuta Mail have focused on a solid financial structure from the start: Instead of taking on money from venture capital investors, the founders of Tuta, Arne and Matthias, took long-lasting loans when they started developing our encrypted email client. The idea was to never be dependent on external interests from investors that could be in conflict with our core values and our promise for privacy protections. We have paid back all loans in full, and now all operating costs of Tuta, including the salaries for our growing development team, are fully covered by selling our services to our users.

This makes you our prime investors: If you are happy, Tuta continues to grow. We do not need to listen to the interests of venture capitalist investors, so we can not be forced to sell out, or to deliver higher profits. All we listen to is you, your fellow Tuta users, and the features you are requesting from us.

It is amazing to see how this approach has turned into the success we celebrate today.

Focus on security

The third pillar for our success: Our focus on security.

As you all know Tuta encrypts as much data as possible end-to-end, but doing security right goes well beyond encryption.

At Tuta, we have implemented several steps to secure your data:

  1. Applying end-to-end encryption whenever possible
  2. Offering two-factor authentication and a secure password reset to maximize login protection
  3. Regularly conducting security reviews of our code
  4. Publishing our code as open source so that others can find and report bugs
  5. Maintaining our own servers instead of relying on cloud services like AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure
  6. Having become our own internet service providers
  7. Not using any Google services, but having built our own e.g. for push notifications on Android

A big part of doing security right is adhering to the principle of full transparency. Security and transparency are closely interlinked, and maximum security cannot be achieved without maximum transparency.

An integral part of this is to publish all client code as open source. Only open source enables others to check the code and detect and report potential security issues.

This is extremely important because without open source, it is much more likely that security vulnerabilities are never detected, or only after several years as the example of the Microsoft Exchange hack demonstrates. In contrast to that, vulnerabilities in Tuta Mail can be found and reported easily, and we strive to fix these as quickly as possible.

Publishing our clients as open source shortly after the first beta release was one of the key factors to our success. The reason for this is obvious: trust.

Security is always a matter of trust. Encrypting all data possible and publishing all client code as open source makes Tuta Mail a trustworthy service because everyone can check that the data is encrypted and that we have absolutely no access.

By now more than ten million users all over the world are confident that Tuta will protect their private emails, calendars, and contacts to the maximum.

Building an ethical business

The fourth pillar of our success: building an ethical business.

When we first published Tutanota in 2014, we did this shortly after the Snowden leaks and under the impression that end-to-end encryption is mostly needed to defend citizens from eavesdropping of state actors. This is still the case, and we make our voice heard in the ongoing crypto wars to fight for everybody's right to privacy, for instance when fighting Chat Control or the EARN IT Act.

Nevertheless, since the Snowden revelations another sector has become much more powerful that we also need to defend ourselves from: AdTech, also called surveillance capitalism.

AdTech refers to big tech companies making money based on user tracking and user profiling. The ultimate goal for these companies is to bombard their users with advertisements to maximize their own profits.

The problem here is that any AdTech service focuses mainly on how they can optimize their system to make more money. Their focus, therefore, is to make the advertisers happy, not the users of their products.

Tuta is a transparent alternative to AdTech that only needs to satisfy one stakeholder: you.

If it's free, you are the product

If it's free, you are the product.

It is because of AdTech that the saying "If it's free, you are the product" has become well known among internet users. That's why we at Tuta are often being asked why we offer a free service in the first place. After all, we pose a clear opposition to the AdTech business.

An important consideration for us was the fact that Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo and other email providers are free of charge and people are not used to paying for webmail. Our goal is to convince as many people as possible that a better internet is possible, and we can only achieve that by offering a limited free version to everyone.

To incentivize more and more email users to quit Gmail, we offer a free version and, in addition, fair and affordable prices so that everyone is able to leave the AdTech business behind - and protect their private emails from mass surveillance.

That's why we will always offer a free version of Tuta Mail. After all, it is part of our mission to bring privacy to the world.

Nevertheless, our amazing success to this date depends on our paying users. You enable us to grow our team and improve Tuta(nota). Together we will make the internet a better, a more private place.

Thank you!

The team behind Tuta in 2024