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This female-founded social app pays users for watching ads, gets $15M boost

Image credits: WeAre8

WeAre8, a New York-based digital advertising platform, announced that it has secured $15M in a Series B funding round led by Channel 4 and Centerstone Capital. The funding will enable WeAre8 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 is a new digital advertising platform that values and pays users for their time watching ads. In 2020, WeAre8 was certified as a B-Corporation.

How was WeAre8 born?

Sue Fennessy founded WeAre8 in 2012 out of the obsession with the injustice and greed of the big tech platforms and a belief that there was a better way. According to the US company, brands spend around $550B on advertising globally every year to put their message across. 

“Even though we are investing our time and attention, tech giants get everything. There is no value exchange, and we get nothing,” writes WeAre8 in their official blog. 

As a result, WeAre8 has built a technology that redirects 60% of online advertising costs into ethical causes, end-users, and the WeAre8 creator fund.  

Out of the total, 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.

8Stage is a hate-free, ad-free social feed launched by WeAre8 where verified creators will showcase exclusive content around monthly themes such as “Our Precious Planet,” “Mental Health,” and “International Women’s Day.”

WeAre8 says that this content will help underpin them as the hate-free social app that is on a mission to inspire and unite millions to solve the world’s biggest problems.

How does this work?

Generally, WeAre8 works with two groups – brands and consumers. 

Consumers: Consumers are valued by being paid for watching ads. Unlike Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, the ad experience on WeAre8 is controlled by the user, claims the company. Post watching the video ads, consumers are paid between £0.05 and £0.20 directly into their WeAre8 wallet within 30 days.

With that amount, they can choose to pay off their mobile phone bill, pay their earnings directly into their PayPal account, or pay forward it to charities. 

The company has over 50 charities set up on their app across eight impact areas – Climate, Poverty, Health, Education, Water, Animal Welfare, Equality, Peace. WeAre8 says over 50% of people on the platform pay part of their earnings to charities.

Brands: For brands, 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. 

The company works similar to London-based Good-Loop, a tech platform that converts people’s attention to ads into donations to good causes.

What lies ahead for WeAre8?  

The company is on a mission to share a slice of the £350B digital ad market back to people and the planet. WeAre8 plans to expand its service in global markets, including the UK, US, and Australia in 2022.

As a first step, WeAre8 is launching in the UK in Q2 2022 with a major TV campaign on Channel 4 to drive significant brand awareness and reach its young audience. 

The ad campaign will feature high-profile brand ambassadors, including Rio Ferdinand, says the company.

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 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.” 

John Meacock – CEO – Centerstone Capital, Managing Director 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.” 

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