London-based WeAre8 has received about €13.5 million in Series B funding for its mission to unite advertisers and people to help address the most urgent social and environmental challenges. Footballer Rio Ferdinand is a supporter, and the funding was led by Channel 4 Ventures and Centerstone Capital.
Digital advertising has somewhat of a bad rep. Tech giants around the world have become trillion-dollar companies by selling our precious time and serving millions of ads to us every day – it’s created vast unimaginable profits for the hands of a few, whilst having questionable purpose-led credentials.
WeAre8 want to disrupt the digital ad industry with its groundbreaking new platform that values and pays users for their time watching ads and enables donations to be made to charities and organisations making the world a better place.
The startup is led by serial tech entrepreneur Sue Fennessy and has been in stealth mode with a team of 52 employees, developing its technology for a full global launch, which is now imminent in the UK. In 2020, WeAre8 was certified as a B-Corporation and joins the growing cohort of world-class companies seeking the highest standards of social and environmental impact.
Sue Fennessy, Founder and CEO of WeAre8 said: “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.”
WeAre8 inspires people with exclusive content around themes such as “Our Precious Planet”, “Mental Health”, and “International Women’s Day”, and, every time a user watches an ad they are paid and donations are made to charity. This content will help underpin WeAre8 as the hate-free social app that is on a mission to inspire and unite millions to solve the world’s biggest problems.
Vinay Solanki, Head of Channel 4 Ventures at Channel 4, commented: “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 really 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.”
Through WeAre8’s sustainable ad buying engine, advertisers receive transformational media results all while delivering against their ESG and sustainability goals. 55% of every pound advertisers spend on WeAre8 is shared directly with people and charities, with another 5% going to a creator fund to fuel micro shows, collaborations and monthly challenges on the 8Stage – a hate-free evolution of the social feed. The innovative plan sets a new standard by democratizing digital advertising, putting people and the planet at the economic centre of the multi-billion-dollar digital ad ecosystem.
WeAre8 sends a push notification to their opted-in community notifying them they have a brand ad to watch. They accept, watch the video ad, answer a couple of questions, and within 30 days they are paid between 5p-20p directly into their WeAre8 wallet. They then can choose to pay off their mobile phone bill, pay their earnings directly into their PayPal account, or pay forward it to charities. WeAre8 has over 50 charities set up on their app across 8 impact areas – Climate, Poverty, Health, Education, Water, Animal Welfare, Equality, Peace.
WeAre8 is on a mission to redirect a slice of the booming digital ad market back to people and the planet. WeAre8 is launching in the UK in Q2 2022 with a major TV campaign on Channel 4, before taking on global expansion later this year. In addition, it will be working with leading talent to promote its message on the 8Stage, and elsewhere. Rio Ferdinand has joined WeAre8’s leadership team to further expansion plans.
John Meacock – CEO – Centerstone Capital, Managing Director added: “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.”