Qmee, a search rewards browser app has announced that it has raised $2 million in strategic growth investments from experienced entrepreneurs and angel investors from the United Kingdom and United States. Since its inception, the brand has received $4.5 million in funding, to be used toward growing the user base and enriching the user experience. The company plans to add a U.S.-based office this fall and is planning on a U.S. Series A round in 2016.
Qmee rewards consumers for searching online, resulting in small regular cash payments that are typically between 4 cents to 15 cents. The user may cash out at their convenience using their PayPal account or by donating to one of the company’s partner charities. The company will use the investment to reward the shopper with more ways to earn and save money including cash back and other bonuses, including the launch of a mobile app.
Qmee was founded by two experienced and successful businessmen, Jonathan Knight and Nick Sutton. Knight was a Managing Director with Goldman Sachs, and he has run businesses in London, Tokyo and New York, in addition to fundraising and building multiple startups over the last ten years. Sutton founded and co-founded three software and consumer industry companies over the last 20 years, including Zenith, which he sold to Morgan Stanley Private Equity.
The business duo noticed that a search engine makes about $80 a year per user, which they felt was unfair to the user that generates that revenue. They founded Qmee with the singular goal of putting the consumer back at the center of the Internet. This innovative search loyalty solution offers a more fair and two-sided relationship between the consumer and the advertiser. Instead of dollars generated by users lining the pockets of the big Internet giants, Qmee gives cash back directly to the user for their engagement.
“We strongly believe that Internet users deserve a piece of the advertising dollar, instead of all of it going into the pockets of the Internet giants. Our mission since day one has been to give consumers some of the value that they earn through their everyday searching. Investors realize the importance of our mission,” said co-founder and CEO Jonathan Knight. “We reached the milestone of 350,000 users and we are projecting to cross 1 million users in a year from now. Our biggest goal for the next year is to expand our user base in the states.”
Qmee was first released from BETA to the general public in May 2013, and the current staff has grown to 10 employees. As the company looks to gain more users, hiring in the U.S. and gaining traction with investors in the U.S. has become an inevitable piece of the puzzle. The company is currently searching for a Head of Content in the U.S., who will be responsible for growing the U.S. division and leading a team of 10 people in the coming year.
“Our goal is to have someone on the ground in the U.S. this fall,” said co-founder and COO Nick Sutton. “We are aggressively looking for the right person to lead our American team out of Chicago, help grow the user base across the states and prepare for our goal to raise $10 million in a Series A funding round in 2016.”
As the company looks toward 10 million users, Sutton and Knight are planning to add 100 jobs to support their one-of-a-kind searching and shopping experience that puts the user at the core of the online experience.