WeAre8, a London-based sustainable advertising platform, announced on Thursday that it has closed $15M (approx €13.5M) in a Series B round of funding from Channel 4 and Centerstone Capital. The funding will enable the UK company to accelerate its growth through 2022.
Sue Fennessy, founder and CEO of WeAre8, says, “We are delighted to announce this strategic investment from Channel 4 and Centerstone Capital. People across the UK and the world are under more economic pressure than ever before and the WeAre8 technology brings money and power back to individuals in a transformational way all while uniting them to help solve the world’s biggest issues. The investment from Channel 4 and Centerstone Capital is enabling us to scale our technology to millions of people every day.”
WeAre8: What you need to know
Founded in 2012 by Sue Fennessy, WeAre8 enables users to get paid every time they watch an ad. Everyday, tech giants make billions of dollars by pushing ads to consumers. But even after investing time and attention, consumers get nothing in return.
Fennessy developed this model to redirect 60 per cent of online advertising costs into ethical causes, end-users and the WeAre8 creator fund.
The company says that 55 per cent of advertiser spend on WeAre8 is shared directly with people and charities, with another 5 per cent going to a creator fund to fuel micro shows, collaborations and monthly challenges on the 8Stage – a hate-free evolution of the social feed.
Every year, brands spend around $550B (approx €497B) on advertising to put their message across to consumers. The company aims to share a slice of the £350B digital ad market back to people and the planet.
How does it work?
According to WeAre8, the ad experience on WeAre8 is much more elevated and controlled by users, unlike interrupting the content experience on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
Upon watching the ad, consumers will receive payment between £0.05 and £0.20 directly into their WeAre8 wallet within 30 days. Consumers can choose to pay off their mobile bill, credit their earnings directly into their PayPal account, or forward it to charities.
However, over 50 per cent of consumers on WeAre8 pay part of their earnings to charities, claims the company.
From the brand’s perspective, WeAre8 guarantees the attention of target consumers in a way that leaves them feeling valued and respected, removing a significant problem with advertising on digital platforms.
WeAre8 plans to expand its services starting in the UK followed by the US and Australia in 2022.
The company will launch its first TV advertising campaign in the UK across Channel 4’s platform portfolio, including its streaming service All 4 in Q2 2022, to create brand awareness and reach across its young audience.
The ad campaign will feature high-profile brand ambassadors, including former England international Rio Ferdinand, to highlight the impact of the initiative.
Based out of London, Channel 4 Ventures is an equity fund for media.
Vinay Solanki, head of Channel 4 Ventures at Channel 4, says, “As we continue to focus on growing an investment portfolio of like-minded purpose-driven businesses, we were particularly impressed with WeAre8 and its founder Sue Fennessy. The WeAre8 technology presents a compelling and ethical alternative social digital platform for brands to communicate with consumers. We’re excited to support WeAre8 and hope the campaign launch across our powerful marketing platform will resonate with our core young viewers who care passionately about environmental and societal issues and drive mass adoption in the UK.”
John Meacock, CEO and MD of Centerstone Capital says, “Centerstone Capital is excited by how WeAre8 is transforming the advertising industry – placing choice back in the hands of the consumer and allowing brands to build direct relationships with their target audiences. WeAre8’s platform is unique in that it creates great commercial value for both consumers and brands while aligning them to make a difference to the planet and social purpose initiatives. The way that WeAre8 enables brands to become truly customer-centric and directly link ESG initiatives to value is a game-changer. Centerstone Capital is looking forward to supporting WeAre8 on its growth in the UK and its global expansion.”