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Wickr Inc.
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustrySecure instant messaging
Founded2012 (2012)
FounderDr. Robert Statica, Kara Coppa, Christopher Howell, Nico Sell, York Sell
New York
United States
Key people
  • Joel Wallenstrom (CEO)
  • Chris Lalonde (COO)
  • Chris Howell (CTO)
ParentAmazon Web Services

Wickr is an American software company based in New York City,[1] known for its instant messenger application of the same name. The Wickr instant messaging apps allow users to exchange end-to-end encrypted and content-expiring messages, and are designed for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. Wickr was acquired by Amazon Web Services (AWS) mid-2021 and discontinued the free version of the app in December 2023.


Wickr was founded in 2012.[2] Nico Sell served as the company's CEO until May 2015. She then became the co-chairman of Wickr and CEO of Wickr Foundation, the newly launched nonprofit whose seed funding was provided by the company.[3] Mark Fields, who previously led CME's Strategic Investment Group, became the company's CEO.[4] He remained CEO until November 2016, when he was replaced by Joel Wallenstrom, co-founder of iSec Partners, becoming the company's CEO and President.[5][6]

AWS acquired the company on 25 June 2021,[7] stopped accepting new users to Wickr Me on 31 December 2022, and discontinued that service on 31 December 2023.[8][9]


The Wickr name and original logo were created by the Spanish artist Joan Bofill in 2012. In 2016, Daylight Design created a new logo and visual identity for the company.[10]


Wickr Me
Developer(s)Wickr Inc.
Initial releaseJune 2012 (2012-06)
Final release(s)
Android5.85.4[11] Edit this on Wikidata / 12 August 2021[12]
iOS5.85.5[13] Edit this on Wikidata / 17 August 2021[14]
Windows, macOS, Ubuntu5.85.9[15] Edit this on Wikidata / 5 August 2021
Operating systemWindows, macOS, Ubuntu, iOS, Android
TypeInstant Messaging

Wickr is known for producing secure messaging software, such as "Wickr Me". Their software received media coverage due to a security issue at a rival messaging company, Snapchat.[16]

In 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Wickr a score of 5 out of 7 points on their "Secure Messaging Scorecard".[17] It received points for:

It was missing points because:

In 2015, Wickr published a white paper outlining the encryption protocol that they use for end-to-end encryption.[18]

In 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that Wickr earned four stars (out of five) in every applicable category for its effort to protect user privacy.[19]

Security programs

Since its launch, Wickr has undergone regular security audits by information security organizations, which have verified Wickr's code, security, and policies.[20] Wickr has also launched a bug bounty program that offers a reward to hackers who can find a vulnerability in the app.[21]

In December 2016, Wickr announced Wickr Professional, a new business collaboration and communication product designed to couple the functionality of tools like Slack with end-to-end encryption and ephemerality.[22]

In February 2017, Wickr opened one of its crypto protocols for public review on GitHub and published a paper, “The Wickr Messaging Protocol”, as an aid to those who wish to review the source code.[23][24][25] At the time of its publication, the crypto protocol was only used in the company's enterprise product, Wickr Professional.[24] The company said that its consumer product, Wickr Messenger, still uses another protocol and that they intend to replace this protocol with the one that they published.[24]

Expiring messages

Initially unveiled on iOS and later on Android, the Wickr Me app allows users to set an expiration time for encrypted communications.[26] In December 2014, Wickr released a desktop version of its secure communications platform. The release of the desktop Wickr app coincided with introducing the ability to sync messages across multiple devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and computers.[27]

Use by elected officials related to public disclosure requirements

Government transparency advocates note that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's use of Wickr destroys government records before any determination of whether they should be public can be made, under the Freedom of Information Act and state law.[28]


In March 2014, Wickr announced its Series A funding round of $9 million led by Gilman Louie of Alsop Louie Partners. The series also included investments from Juniper Networks and the Knight Foundation.[29]

In June 2014, Wickr announced its Series B funding round of $30 million led by Breyer Capital, including CME Group and Wargaming.[30]

On 12 October 2021, a Vice Motherboard article revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had invested $1.6 million into Wickr via the CIA's venture capital company In-Q-Tel.[31]

Gilman Louie is the former CEO of In-Q-Tel, and other investors, including Richard Clarke and Michael Wertheimer, also have close ties to the U.S. intelligence and national security communities. It is also known that Erik Prince, the founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater, is one of the principal investors.[32]

Wickr Foundation

The Wickr Foundation is a non-profit founded by Wickr founder Nico Sell.[33] The foundation operates a social-impact venture fund with a global mission to advance the Private Web and transform how society uses the Internet.[34] In addition to educating the public on privacy and information security, Wickr Foundation is focused on incubating and investing in ideas that revolutionize user control and empower data ownership.[35]

The foundation is dedicated to providing information security and privacy training to human rights activists, policy-makers, children, and journalists, and leads several initiatives to raise global awareness of privacy and encourage the development of security-enhancing technologies.[36][37]

See also


  1. ^ MacMillan, Douglas (June 25, 2014). "A startup looks for business in secrecy". Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (June 27, 2012). "An app that encrypts, shreds, hashes and salts". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (May 6, 2015). "Encrypted Chat App Wickr Creates New Non-Profit Arm". TechCrunch.
  4. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (May 6, 2015). "Wickr adds a new chief executive and a nonprofit". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Pfeifle, Sam (November 6, 2016). "New Wickr CEO looks to build on ephemeral messaging". The International Association of Privacy Professionals. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  6. ^ Wallenstrom, Joel (November 6, 2016). "Wickr – Making Ephemerality & Encryption a New Norm". Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "AWS has acquired encrypted messaging service Wickr". TechCrunch. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  8. ^ Roth, Emma (November 19, 2022). "Wickr's free encrypted messaging app is shutting down next year". The Verge. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  9. ^ Cox, Joseph (January 3, 2024). "Wickr Is Dead". 404 Media. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  10. ^ McLaughlin, Aimee. "Wickr brand identity, by Daylight Design". Centaur Media plc. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  11. ^ Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  12. ^ "Wickr Me – Private Messenger - Apps on Google Play". Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  13. ^ Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  14. ^ "Wickr Me - Private Messenger". App Store. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  15. ^ Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  16. ^ Thompson, Cadie (February 6, 2014). "Snapchat rival hopes to pounce on security breach". CNBC.
  17. ^ a b "Secure Messaging Scorecard. Which apps and tools actually keep your messages safe?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. January 5, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  18. ^ "Wickr Messaging Protocol" (PDF) (Whitepaper). Wickr Inc. 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  19. ^ "Who Has Your Back". The Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  20. ^ Franceschi Bicchiera, Lorenzo (March 4, 2013). "Wickr: Can the Snapchat for Grown-Ups Save You From Spies?". Mashable.
  21. ^ Kirk, Jeremy (January 15, 2014). "Encrypted messaging startup Wickr offers 100k bug bounty". PC World.
  22. ^ Greenberg, Andy (December 6, 2016). "This App Wants to Be Your Encrypted, Self-Destructing Slack". Wired. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  23. ^ Conger, Kate (February 15, 2017). "Encrypted chat app Wickr opens code for public review". TechCrunch.
  24. ^ a b c Eddy, Max (February 15, 2017). "Wickr Releases Crypto Protocol on GitHub". PCMag.
  25. ^ Wallenstrom, Joel (February 15, 2017). "Wickr's Core Crypto Goes Public". Wickr Blog.
  26. ^ Sier, Jessica (May 29, 2015). "Apps to keep your messages secret in the data retention age". Australian Financial Review.
  27. ^ Scharr, Jill (December 4, 2014). "Wickr launches desktop private messaging application". TechCrunch.
  28. ^ "Md. Gov. Larry Hogan's messages to state employees self-destruct in 24 hours". The Washington Post.
  29. ^ Fried, Ina (March 3, 2014). "Wickr secures $9 million to fund its privacy-focused messaging service". Recode.
  30. ^ Finkle, Jim (June 26, 2014). "Wickr raises $30 million; investors include CME Group, Wargaming". Reuters.
  31. ^ "CIA Funding Arm Gave Encrypted App Wickr $1.6 Million - VICE". October 12, 2021. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  32. ^ Winter, Jana; Groll, Elias (September 14, 2017). "Why Is Erik Prince Backing a Secure Communications Company?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  33. ^ Fried, Ina (May 6, 2015). "Wickr Splits in Two, With Founder Nico Sell to Head New Nonprofit Venture". re/code.
  34. ^ Shieber, Jonathan, TechCrunch (May 23, 2016). "Wickr Foundation invests in Whistler, an app dedicated to helping activists and citizen reporters". Retrieved September 23, 2016.((cite news)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  35. ^ Franklin-Wallis, WIRED UK, Oliver (May 27, 2016). "Wickr Foundation announces Whistler, an encrypted app for whistleblowers". Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  36. ^ Vinton, Kate (March 10, 2015). "The Messaging App That Fights Dictators". Forbes.
  37. ^ Reader, Ruth (May 6, 2015). "Ephemeral messaging app Wickr targets activists and enterprises as the company splits in two". VentureBeat. Retrieved July 26, 2015.