UK-based Gener8 is on a mission to empower people to have more control over their personal data. The startup has just secured a new investment of €5.7 million (£5.1 million) to launch its app.
We live in an increasingly data-driven world. Whilst that can bring many benefits – such as streamlining operations and processes, enhancing information and knowledge sharing etc – it also has some drawbacks. As we have gone digital, our personal information and data on us have also gone digital, and often companies hold more data on us than we even know about.
Within this context, there has been the rise of the concept of PIMS (Personal Information Management Systems). It’s essentially about the creation of systems that enable people to centralize their data in one place, so they know what data is held on them, where it’s held and by whom.
Until now, the creation of these systems has been seen as something for the future and it doesn’t yet exist in the mainstream. UK-based Gener8 is changing that and has just launched its PIMS app. Gener8 aims to empower people to not only have oversight of the data held on them but to flip the switch and earn from it themselves.
Founder Sam Jones explained: “We believe Gener8 is the first company in the world to enable people to centralise their data into one location and earn from it. We’ve built something that, until now, has only been theoretical in the world of academia. Isn’t it crazy that we don’t even know which companies buy and sell our data?”
“In fact, we don’t even know what data company’s hold on us. What do Facebook and Google know about you? Why do spam emails keep landing in your inbox? Well, with the Gener8 app you can connect to different apps and we’ll show the data that these apps hold on you.”
The launch comes on the back of a €5.7 million investment. The company is now valued at about €34 million.
The latest funding round saw a consortium of investors getting involved. It included ex-cricket captain of the West Indies, Chris Gayle, former chief executive of the British Olympic Association, Simon Clegg CBE and Shane Ryan, an investor who is the son of RyanAir founder, Tony Ryan.
They join musician Tinie Tempah, legendary football manager, Harry Redknapp, and Dragons’ Den stars Peter Jones, Touker Suleyman and Tej Lalvani who have also invested in the company.
Chris Gayle commented: “It’s madness what happens with our online data, I didn’t have a clue how many companies were making money from us…did you?! When I met Sam and he explained how much we’re being taken for a ride, and the profits so many companies I’ve never even heard of are making, I knew he was onto something. We’re being taken advantage of. Others are making millions whilst we make nothing – and most of us don’t even know it’s happening. Come on, let’s change that!”
Already available via desktop, Gener8 has quickly secured a growing fan base. It counts close to 6 million people visiting its website and 600k people registering accounts. Today, Gener8 users spend the equivalent of 250 years browsing on Gener8 every month and they view over 100 million web pages.
Sam Jones: “We can show you all the data that Google holds on you – every search you’ve ever made, every YouTube video you’ve watched, every ad that you’ve clicked on. It’s mind-boggling. We can then enable you to delete this data from Google. Or should you choose you can anonymise your data and can earn from it.”
Via the platform, users can choose to keep their data private or earn from it themselves whilst browsing online. By selecting ‘Privacy Mode’ the user can stop companies from tracking them, or the ‘Rewards Mode’ means that a person can share their data with Gener8 to monetise it for them. Users receive points in return for sharing their data with Gener8. These points can be redeemed for products, vouchers or donations to charity in Gener8’s marketplace.
Sam Jones: “We’re building technology at Gener8 that has the ability to change an industry. It’s mad that so many companies are making money from our data, except us! This has to change. I believe that in the same way we trust banks to keep our money safe and put it to work for us, there will be companies that we put our faith in to keep our data safe and even help us earn from it. Gener8 is creating this future.”