Meet The founder: Bagboard, The Adtech Platform Powering a Sustainable Future

Meet The founder: Bagboard, The Adtech Platform Powering a Sustainable Future

18th August 2020 by Michaela Salomon

When investing, your capital is at risk. 

Imagine being the first to discover billboards. That’s what it feels like for Bagboard, the sustainable ad platform unlocking millions of pounds in untapped advertising revenue.

Bagboard have built a full-service and internationally scalable tech platform that prints adverts on planet-friendly bags, which are both free for shoppers to use, and for retailers to distribute. As consumers move about and generate ad impressions, they gain unique spending power to engage with the many sustainable brands promoted in Bagboard’s marketplace.

On track to have nearly one million users by 2025, Bagboard is equipped with first-mover advantage in a revolutionary new market. Backed by over 250 investors, they just hit 100% of their funding target. 

Here’s how it works.

What is Bagboard’s vision?

The advertising industry is worth $563bn globally but it has diminishing returns. There are a lot of data channels out there, all of which are saturated with confusion and misinformation.

Our research found that 84% of consumers don’t trust traditional advertising. On top of that, over 67% of consumers want to change their habits to reduce their impact on the environment. But this can be difficult when they don’t know which brands they can trust, or which brands are truly sustainable. On the other side of the market, major brands are boycotting advertising giants over lack of social action – Ben & Jerry’s is a prime example.

That’s where Bagboard steps in. Our adtech and m-commerce platform is set to revolutionise and transform the ad industry as we know it, and drive sustainability on a global scale. We plan to do this by unlocking millions in untapped advertising revenue, by reconnecting planet-friendly brands with a rapidly-growing network of conscious consumers. We then reward consumers for their time, data and attention with a digital currency they can spend on those same brands. 

In other words, we empower consumers to unlock their spending power as a collective force for good. 

How did the company start?

Bagboard was founded in 2016 by Ben Ayres, a credit trader in London. He noticed just how many single-use plastic carrier bags were still being used around the city, despite the plastic pollution conversation being front of mind for environmentalists around the world. He set out to replace each one with eco-friendly paper bags and in turn, leverage them as advertising real estate.

The founding team realised that if this new kind of advertising platform was operated by consumers, who were given full control of the media, we could empower people to take control of their spending and drive social and environmental change.

What are the pillars of the business model?

Our PaaS technology is the key to our business model, we’ve built a highly sophisticated omni-channel capability. By incorporating different technologies like RFID, QR codes, Data Science, Algorithmic analysis and M-Commerce, we’re able to drive consumers to our app, where they are incentivised to engage with the brands in our marketplace.

Our proprietary technology is all built in-house so we can add, change and improve additional functionality as required. It’s also easily transportable around the world.

What has been the greatest challenge so far?

Explaining the business model! Bagboard is really three businesses in one. First, there’s the consumer proposition linked to our m-commerce and app platforms, where consumers can unlock spending power and engage with brands. Second, there’s the Brand and Media Agency proposition which encompasses our in-app marketplace offering. Third, we’ve built a sophisticated tech platform that links everything together in a way the market’s really never seen before. 

No other company like Bagboard exists. So we don’t have the advantage of “me too” comparisons. We have to explain the operating model in great detail and some elements lean into complicated data science-based principles.

What was one of the most exciting successes so far?

Undoubtedly when Sky Ocean Ventures made their initial investment in us last year. The due diligence process was tough, and our commercial model and methodology was subjected to tough scrutiny. So when they said yes we support you and want to invest, it was an external validation of everything our team has always believed possible.

What partnerships do you have at the moment and are there any upcoming?

It’s been so exciting to bring new partners on board, and we’re always on the lookout for brands we can work with to bring this proposition to life around the world. 

First and foremost, we raised a total of £2.4 million from leading investors including Sky Ocean Ventures and Sky Ocean Rescue, who are committed to ending the devastating flow of plastic into the sea. In its simplest form, Bagboard replaces single-use plastic bags in stores with eco-friendly paper ones, counteracting the 5 trillion plastic bags used across the world each year. At launch, we signed a 250k smart bag campaign from Sky Ocean Rescue.

In 2018, we secured partnership with The Plastic Bank, the NGO that removes and recycles ocean-bound plastic from the Philippines, Haiti and Indonesia. For every smart bag reuse logged on the Bagboard app, we direct a portion of the revenue straight to them so they can help keep our oceans clean.

Some of our current brand partnerships include Sky Ocean Rescue, Unilever (Ben & Jerry’s), WWF and Loop. We’ve also had the pleasure of working with HelloFresh!, Ocado and Laundrapp.

What new features do you have in the pipeline?

This current ASA round and the planned VC raise later this year, will enable us to do two things:

  1. To grow our consumer network to 250,000 users by the end of 2021 through increased marketing activity.
  2. To build an auction site for our ad campaigns. This will follow similar principles to Google or Facebook ads, whereby brands and agencies “bid” for premium slots in our bag distribution and consumer network. It will be a dynamic platform on which brands and agencies can view the momentum and engagement their campaigns are generating in real-time, and increasing their bid size in order to meet their campaign objectives.

To join over 250 investors helping Bagboard build an entirely new advertising platform, visit the pitch now.

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Digital Agency Kent