A search engine launched last month with the aim of delivering better, more relvant search results and letting individuals raise money for their favourite charities as they shop online. Storm’s founders describe it as an “ethical search engine”.
Storm will looks similar to other search engines, but search results will include a ‘Give’ icon displayed alongside listings for participating retailers. Consumers know that when they make a purchase from one of these retailers, Storm will earn a commission, which it will shares with the consumer’s chosen charity. The consumer of course does not pay any extra for the purchase.
Waitrose, Virgin, Sports Direct, Currys, Boots and B&Q are among the “thousands of well-known retailers” who are participating.
First charity partner
Storm‘s launch charity partner is WellChild, the charity for sick children.
Colin Dyer, CEO of WellChild, said:
“WellChild is really excited to be working with Storm to give our supporters a quick and easy way to raise much needed money as they shop online – at no extra cost to them. This will make a real difference to thousands of seriously ill children and young people in the UK, helping to ensure they get the best possible care and support wherever they are and whenever they need it.”
Storm will be partnering with other charities and organisations, including Premier League football clubs. These partners will have the option to ‘white label’ a version of the Waterfox browser, featuring their own organisation’s branding and which has Storm as the default search engine.
Waterfox is a very fast web browser, designed by Alex Kontos who is Head of Browser Development at Storm.
Scale of the opportunity
Currently, according to IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index (January 2015), almost £1 in every £4 in the UK is spent online, totaling £116 billion in 20142. Storm’s founders claim that the site could generate “up to £25” from each active user per year for charitable causes.
Unlike other established search engines, the individual user is completely anonymous while using Storm, as the search engine does not harvest data to package up and sell on to third parties.
Other charitable search engines
There are other established search engines that generate income for charities in the UK and internationally, so what makes Storm different?
One selling point is that “the individual user is completely anonymous while using Storm, as the search engine does not harvest data to package up and sell on to third parties”.
Kevin Taylor, CEO of Storm, explained:
“Consumers have grown suspicious of how the traditional search providers use their personal information and are increasingly aware of the burgeoning profits concentrated in just a few companies. By refusing to harvest customer data, and sharing our revenues with charity partners, we’re building an ethical search engine that offers a real alternative for consumers, whilst also generating millions of pounds for UK charities.”
In addition the search service will be available in 35 languages later this year.
Storm has been developed with over £2 million of funding from investors and aims to have 10 million regular users within two years.
The startup is backed by investment from several angel investors, including serial entrepreneur Andrew Crossland, of Crossland Technology Investments. The company is headed up by CEO Kevin Taylor, formerly of the security company Symantec. His data protection and information privacy expertise is a core element of Storm.
Adam Green is CTO and the chief designer of the new platform. He helped develop the world’s largest online car hire company, RentalCars, which sold to Priceline Group in 2013, for $135 million. Green, a former Accenture director, helped Airtours, the tour operator that became Mytravel, develop its first online trading platforms at a time when it was the largest online travel booking company.
Storm is available as an Android app with other mobile platforms in development.
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