7th May 2019 editor

We Are Digital Raises £1.5 Million To Bridge Digital And Financial Skill Gaps In The UK

London, United Kingdom – We Are Digital, a leading digital and financial inclusion training provider, announces that it has secured £1.5 million in funding. This investment will be used to hire key staff and make technology upgrades that will allow it to scale its operations and impact. We Are Digital work to tackle social exclusion by upskilling vulnerable people with limited technological skills, providing them with essential digital and financial training to enhance their everyday lives in an increasingly digitised world.

More than 12.6 million people in the UK[1] lack essential digital skills, the highest proportion of whom are the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society. In addition, approximately 40% of UK adults are identified as not in control of their finances and “living on the financial edge”, and 11.5 million adults in the UK have less than £100 in savings[2].

We Are Digital help bridge this divide through digital and financial training as a service to housing associations, councils, corporates and central government. Through its UK-wide network of outreach tutors and delivery partners, controlled centrally from its head office in the Midlands, it is able to provide high-quality personal training, both in-home and locally delivered in community locations. It has already provided community investment support to over 100 clients, including running national and regional programmes through its “managing agent” model.

Its solution comes at a time when government departments, banks and the entire social housing sector (2,000 providers – 4.6 million homes) are undergoing a huge shift towards the digitisation of processes and applications from paper to online, helping customers to save money and improving resident lives.

With the help of some of the best-known social impact investors in Europe, We Are Digital’s round was oversubscribed by 50%, led by VCs Si2 Fund, Triplepoint and Ascension Ventures. Also, in the round is Wayra UK and ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank (through its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors). Early investors were also exited within the round.

Matthew Adam, founder and Chief Executive of We Are Digital, stated: “After a lot of hard work, I’m massively excited to close our round. We continue to grow at 100% per year and winning increasingly bigger contracts where we are applying our innovations to community investment support across the UK. As a social business, I’m proud to now have on board some of the best social impact investors in the sector, who will help us scale even further over the next 6 years. I also want to thank our early angel investors and Midven, without both of whom we would not be where we are now.”

SI2 Fund manager, Pieter Oostlander, mentioned: “We Are Digital perfectly fits the SI2 Fund portfolio as it uses a very innovative business model to address a pressing societal issue. We are excited to help We Are Digital expand in the UK and beyond, hence scaling its impact.”

Julian Pickstone, Fund Manager of Triple Point, said:” We are delighted to be working with We are Digital. We believe that the company can make a significant contribution to bridging the digital gap.”

Emma Steele, Investment Manager of Ascension Ventures (Fair By Design), mentioned:“From their time on the Wayra UK Fair By Design accelerator to now, we have been impressed by We Are Digital’s approach to digital and financial inclusion. We’re delighted to be able to support its growth plans in tackling a core underlying driver of the Poverty Premium in the UK.”

Matias Wibowo, Investment Manager at ClearlySo, commented: “This transaction demonstrates impact investment’s central role in realising the ideal of the Big Society. We Are Digital (WAD) provides services that the public desperately needs at better quality while being more affordable. WAD aligns the interests and enhances the outcomes for multiple stakeholders, including investors. That’s why our investors gladly backed this transaction.”

Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future in the UK, said: “From launching the UK’s first social accelerator programme, to investing in pioneering companies such as We Are Digital – Wayra UK has a proud history in nurturing innovative businesses that create a positive societal impact. The investment that Matthew and the team have secured demonstrates the value being placed in social businesses across the country and is a testament to the efforts they’ve put in to date. I look forward to seeing what they achieve in future.”

Ends

[1] https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmsctech/270/270.pdf

[2] https://masassets.blob.core.windows.net/fincap-cms/files/000/000/386/original/UK-financial-capability-levels-UK-poverty-statistics-research.pdf

Notes to the Editors

About ClearlySo

ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.

Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 130 clients raise more than £250 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

ClearlySo is headquartered in London.

John Lloyd
Chief Marketing Officer
ClearlySo
E
john.lloyd@clearlyso.com
T: 02074909520

About We Are Digital

We Are Digital is a training and support services firm with a mission to help organisations tackle digital and financial exclusion for their customers and help them access critical services. It offers training primarily through a national network of vetted tutors and delivery partners, offering 1:1, group support and outsourced programme management.

Matthew Adam
Founder and CEO
We Are Digital
E
: matt@we-are-digital.co.uk
T: 07834 817749

About Si2 Fund

SI2 Fund is a European social impact investment fund that focusses on enterprises that make it their core business to address a societal challenge and helps them achieve sustainable societal impact alongside a fair financial return. SI2 Fund operates in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It’s an active member of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA). More information is available at http://www.Si2fund.com.

Contact person at SI² Fund

Pieter Oostlander
Fund manager
e: pieter@Si2fund.com
BE +32471717722
NL +31653205632

About Triple Point

Triple Point Impact targets significant capital growth by investing in fast-growing, innovative companies that have a positive impact on society and qualify for EIS tax reliefs.

contact@triplepoint.co.uk
UK +44 207 201 8989

About Ascension Ventures and Fair By Design

Ascension Ventures backs exceptional entrepreneurs with big visions – providing capital, our network, and expert mentors to grow scalable technology businesses. We support UK businesses from Seed to Series A, and since 2013, Ascension has invested (across 4 distinct funds with £22m+ AUM) in 75+ UK based early-stage companies. Current funds include the ASCEND SEIS (Seed), CENTAUR EIS (Seed+), and its Fair By Design social impact fund, helping to reduce poverty in the UK.

Fair By Design is a movement dedicated to ending the Poverty Premium: people in poverty pay more for a range of products, including high-cost credit; rent-to-own products such as kitchen appliances; and insurance in less affluent postcodes. Our Campaign works with businesses, government, and regulators to design out the Poverty Premium. Our Venture Fund provides capital to help grow innovative ventures developing products that make markets fairer.

About Wayra

Wayra is the most global, connected and technological open innovation hub in the world. Under the Telefónica brand Wayra currently operates in 10 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Spain, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Our hubs have raised over $248 million through third-party investors for our companies. Our global presence allows us to be at the helm of innovation, shoulder to shoulder with driven entrepreneurs and in a position to engage the right partners, corporate leaders, investors, serial entrepreneurs and leaders of industries for business.

We have been committed partners for seven years and connect innovators with Telefónica and generate joint business opportunities. We offer unparalleled access to Telefónica’s 350 million customers and clients across multiple countries. We are a unique and effective interface between both entrepreneurs and our network of corporates, governments and other partners in the 17 countries in which Telefónica global operates.

If you want to find out more please get in touch