Sir John Hegarty has invested in his second inventive trade enterprise, changing into chair of Genie, which specialises in software program connecting businesses with freelance creatives.
Genie emerged from the concept synthetic intelligence might enhance the freelance inventive hiring course of, a trend that Campaign covered in-depth at the time of Genie’s launch as a Facebook chatbot in February 2019.
Hegarty’s arrival ought to assist the fledgling enterprise increase its profile each with creatives, to whom the platform is free however on an invitation-only foundation, and businesses, who’re charged on a pay-as-you-go foundation at present however may even be provided a subscription-based possibility later this 12 months.
Nevertheless, the veteran adman deflected Marketing campaign’s suggestion that Genie may need introduced him in with a watch to charming potential company clients, asserting that his better concern is about signing up creatives. “Genie is just going to be pretty much as good because the individuals it might probably entice,” he mentioned.
He pitched Genie as “the reply” to the advert trade’s must “entry the rising freelance workforce with velocity and effectiveness”.
The platform, which is centred on a female-gendered AI assistant referred to as Genie, has thus far linked inventive expertise from campaigns together with Sainsbury’s “1914” and Adidas “There will likely be haters” with businesses akin to Droga5, The Brooklyn Brothers and Saatchi & Saatchi.
A spokesman for Genie mentioned that the service’s blanket NDA made it tough to be extra open in regards to the identification of those creatives, however he was capable of title former Dare government inventive director Brian Cooper and movement designer Danny McGuinness as having labored on a marketing campaign for the Worldwide Affiliation of Suicide Prevention.
The founders of the corporate, recognized formally as Meet Genie, are three headhunters who have been (and stay) companions at inventive sector recruiter LizH: Nicky Badenoch, Nick Grime and Bonnie Harold.
Hegarty mentioned it was this matchmaking pedigree that distinguished Genie from its rivals, convincing him to speculate for a stake that he disclosed was not less than 10% however a lot lower than 50%.
Badenoch, who has additionally labored as an account director at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, mentioned she was “vastly excited” about Hegarty becoming a member of, including: “The inventive trade’s most prized commodity is its expertise. The prospect conferences and the tales which all ladder as much as work that delivers fame… At Genie, we’ve been capable of engineer the magic of serendipity, codifying our years of expertise right into a tech platform with soul.”
Genie has raised a complete of £1.75m since launch, together with cash from two institutional buyers, one in every of which is ADA Ventures Angel Investments. It has advanced the unique Fb chatbot into an online, iOS and Android providing and has added the power to deal with freelancers’ IR35 admin.
Genie is the second communications trade firm Hegarty has invested in since leaving Bartle Bogle Hegarty in 2014, following influencer marketing platform Whalar in 2017.
He’s additionally chair of, however not an investor in, media company Electrical Glue, and invests in business-to-consumer start-ups via his incubator consortium The Storage.
Hegarty mentioned he can be “out of pocket for a substantial sum of cash” if Genie failed, including: “I’ve put cash in as a result of I wished to have a stake within the firm slightly than simply drift round taking chairmanships.”