Brand tech group You & Mr Jones is targeting major growth in ecommerce, data and digital disciplines after revealing it has built a $260m (£190m) war chest since December – including $60m (£44m) this week – in a funding drive designed to bolster its global expansion.
Set up by former Havas global chief executive David Jones in 2015, the group now has 3,000 employees with clients include Unilever, Accenture, Google, Adidas, Marriott and Microsoft.
The group already owns companies production company Mofilm, which has access to more than 10,000 global content creators, data company 55 and inhouse specialist Oliver. It also has minority investments in tech companies, including Pinterest and ad tech firm Beeswax, which recently sold to Comcast’s FreeWheel.
You & Mr Jones, which is now valued at $1.36bn (£990m), says its net revenue has grown 27% year on year at a time when the major marketing groups have taken a huge hit due to Covid-19.
Jones said: “The old category of marketing services firms lost $60bn (£44bn) in market cap over the past few years. The new category has companies doing well from a revenue and valuation perspective.
“What people get wrong is that they think we’re building a new-model agency. We will never own an ad agency.”
You & Mr Jones uses its technology platforms to produce content at scale, as well as spearhead data strategy and analytics for global brands, including Facebook, Unilever, Nissan Renault, Adidas, and Target.
“What you’re living through is the structural decline of an industry and the creation of a new category,” he said. “Most major global brands have been saying ‘We need to accelerate our digital transformation,’ but 2020 pushed them over the edge.”
The firm will use the new funds to continue to expand the business globally; it already operates in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America, and is currently looking to hire 300 new staff, half of which are in ecommerce.
It has also hired former NBA senior director of human services Paulette Forte to be its first-ever chief people officer. She said: “The brand tech category didn’t even exist before You & Mr Jones was established. The company became a true industry disruptor in short order, and growth has been swift.
“In order to keep up with the momentum, it’s critical to have systems in place that help talent develop their skills, encourage diversity and creativity, and find pathways to improving workflow. I am excited to join the leadership team to drive this crucial work forward.”
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