EE, O2, Vodafone venture Weve posts FY revenue of £13m

EE, O2, Vodafone venture Weve posts FY revenue of £13m

Weve, the B2B joint venture between the UK’s three largest mobile network operators EE, O2 and Vodafone, has reported full-year revenue of £13m.

With an initial investment of £38m from its three shareholders, the company made a loss of £25m, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Launched last September, the business generated revenue from its mobile messaging division while its display and wallet services are still in beta phase.

In its first year, the venture invested in building a unified platform to combine customer data from the three mobile networks. Information provided – telephone numbers, device information, historical browsing data and location - was on an opt-in format and was registered anonymously when passing through the new platform.

Data gathered was then used to provide customers with more personalised offers such as location-based text messaging; this strategy proved successful going on to generate revenue of £13m for the business.

The database has grown from 15 million customer accounts at the launch to more than 22 million records today.

Its first consumer loyalty app, Pouch, stores retail loyalty cards and sends offers to customers’ mobile devices using the innovative iBeacon technology.

Given that many start-ups do not make any revenue until the second year, the figures represent significant traction for its first year, according to Weve chief executive David Sear.

Speaking to Mobile, Sear said: 'The great thing is that in our first year we had the building capability, with an audience at scale, to develop a marketing product that is globally unique.'

Consumers have given their consent by opting into the mobile messaging product, he stressed.

Factors leading to the £25m loss for the year included high set-up costs and the development of the innovative technology – the first ever in the mobile world.

According to Sear, the main challenges faced in its first year centred around getting approval for the product from the European Commission and developing robust technology to ‘enable the handling in real-time of 22 million users - creating the right environment and the right security for such a significant slab of the UK population’.

Having the ability to match a consumer with a brand ‘in 300 milliseconds’ and having that at the disposal of advertisers is a ‘revolution for digital advertising’, he said.

With social media platforms such as Facebook having limited data on consumers, Sear explained that the great thing about the product is ‘having first party data available to brand advertisers for the first time in the history of mobile’.

The company is now investing in areas where it 'sees great success'. The immediate focus will be on accelerating the display advertising service with a full beta launch planned for the end of June. 

It is an area of marketing that is worth £450m in revenue in the UK market, according to the latest IAB figures for 2013.

'The product is a great British success story of innovation in the digital space.'

Weve employs 87 staff at its London office.

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