(L-R): Ian Wilson and Thea Tebble of Mercia with CitizenME founder StJohn Deakins.
Austen Shakespeare

Newcastle office of "ethical" data company receives £1.5m from North East Venture Fund

An “ethical” data firm providing an alternative to the ad tracking techniques used by tech giants such as Facebook has raised a £1.5m investment.

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.

The company, based in London, has recently opened an office in Newcastle to enable it to tap into the city’s digital talent and build a team of data scientists.

It has appointed four staff members and expects to create around six new jobs in the city in the coming year. The funding will also enable it to further develop its AI capabilities, and grow its presence in the US market.

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.”

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.”

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