Ethical data pioneer raises £1.5m to prepare for cookie-free future
A UK company that provides an ethical alternative to the ad tracking techniques used by tech giants such as Facebook and Google has raised a £1.5m investment to build its global presence.
CitizenMe has secured funding from the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia, alongside funds from 1818 Capital and private investors.
The platform was developed in response to concerns over current practices, where consumers’ data is collected via apps or website cookies and may be used by multiple companies for marketing purposes.
Using CitizenMe’s technology, customers agree to share their data in exchange for payment or other incentives. However the data is securely held on individuals’ smartphones and companies are not able to access their personal details directly.
CitizenMe is believed to be the only fully-functional platform of its type and has already completed more than 7.5 million data exchanges. The platform was launched in 2018 by StJohn Deakins, who has 30 years’ experience in technology firms.
The company currently employs ten staff at its headquarters in London and its newly-opened office in Newcastle, and is planning to create a further 20 jobs in the coming year. The funding will also enable it to further develop its AI capabilities, and grow its presence in the US market.
As part of the investment Paul Zanker, an experienced banker who is Chief Transformation Officer with Macquarie Bank, has been appointed as Chair.
StJohn Deakins, CitizenMe founder, says:
“CitizenMe enables people and brands to co-create better digital products and services. We are delighted that Mercia and 1818 share our belief in a sustainable digital future and our lead in the new Zero Data category.”
Thea Tebble of Mercia says:
“Growing concern about the use of personal data is creating demand for a new type of customer data technology. CitizenME offers a solution, enabling consumers to retain ownership of their personal data and companies to access it in an ethical way. The company is already ahead of the field and has huge potential for growth.”
Marc Cohen, Partner with 1818 Venture Capital, adds:
“Data privacy is of ever-increasing importance to consumers and regulators. Companies want and need to be able to personalise while respecting those desires. CitizenMe’s Zero Party Data solution elegantly enables all those needs to be met.” – Marc Cohen, Partner, 1818 Venture Capital
Luke Philpott from Square One Law provided legal advice to Mercia on the deal, while Baker Botts represented CitizenMe.
Head of Marketing & Communications
Mercia Asset Management PLC
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About Mercia Asset Management PLC
Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Connected Capital’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.
The Group has a strong UK footprint through its regional offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£800million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £96million into its direct investment portfolio. Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC”.
The Group raises its own Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.
Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –
- Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
- Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
- EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560
About The North East Fund
The North East Fund is a suite five venture capital and loan funds which was established in April 2018, to invest £120m in around 600 North East businesses in the period to March 2023. The fund managers provide business development advice and investment finance to small and medium sized enterprises based in the seven Local Authority areas of North East England: Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, South Tyneside, Gateshead Sunderland and County Durham. The programme encourages investment in and the commercialisation of new technologies, including low carbon technologies, as well as stimulating new business creation, private investment and entrepreneurialism in the North East, with a view to creating over 2,500 new jobs. The North East Fund has overall responsibility for the programme, which is delivered through five separate funds, each managed by independent, FCA regulated fund managers. Details of these, and up to date information on the progress of the programme, is available on The North East Fund’s website: www.northeastfund.org
The North East Fund has been established with funding from the North East of England European Regional Development Fund programme, the European Investment Bank and from returns on previous North East based, publicly supported investment funds. It is jointly owned by the seven North East local authorities
About the European Regional Development Fund
The North East Fund will receive up to £58,500,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend up to £60,000,000 to the North East Fund programme. The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. For more information, visit: http://www.eib.org/about/index.htm