Jordan Hewson, the 27-year-old daughter of U2’s Bono, is a social activist, but more recently, she’s revealed herself to be a first-time tech entrepreneur.
Based in Brooklyn, New York, you’ll likely only find that she’s described as “Bono’s daughter” when her name is searched. Raised by the international rock star who has successfully launched numerous nonprofit organizations, Hewson is breaking away from Bono’s shadow with the development of her non-profit, Speakable, which is a tech company that promotes social activism. However, she didn’t look to her father for help when developing her company. She stated that he was a good resource, but she would like to keep a distance between him and her company.
Hewson, a self-described introvert, stands apart from her very public father who a musical frontman and the face of the fight against AIDS. Though she’s more reserved than her father, she poised to make a splash, particularly as she’s quietly raised $2 million to fund the growth of the company she’s founded.
The first product the company, Speakable will publicly unveil is an interactive “action button,” which publishers will be able to tack onto the end of articles, prompting readers to respond to a call to action, whether that means they’ll need to tweet at a policy-maker, sign a petition, take a poll, or donate to a non-profit. Social activism becomes more accessible and seamless with this new development. So if a reader reads an article about deportation, the refugee crisis, or another humanitarian issue, then the readily available button will make it so that users can donate or communicate without leaving the page. Braintree, a subsidiary of Paypal, will be the company’s processor, accepting monetary donations.
Already Speakable has partnered with 30 charity organizations, including Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, and ONE. The partnered organizations develop pertinent polls, petitions, and tweets, and these items are paired with new articles by Speakable, which uses a matching algorithm. As a part of its beta test, the button has appeared at the conclusion of Huffington Post articles. The launch, which took place October 13th, began with a partnership with two publishers, Guardian U.S. and Vice Impact.
Speakable doesn’t gain proceeds from reader donations, and according to Hewson, the company isn’t focused on monetization right now. Likely, the company won’t test revenue models until 2017. With that said, if the company scales up enough, they’ll be able to gain terrific insight about reading habits, as well as article engagement with the use of the action button. This could be valuable to publishers, marketers, and advertisers.
It’s speculated that editorial control may be an issue, with regards to bias. Speakable will pair content to the relevant action buttons, but editors will likely approve the match before it appears online. By adding an action button to a particular news piece, the story, and the content to become a vehicle for donating to a certain cause, perhaps with a particular agenda.
Currently, the action button is placed just below the article, which may allude many readers, as many don’t make it to the end of a news story. According to reports, average readers spend less than 15 seconds a page before they divert their attention. Hewson recognizes that Speakable is still a work in progress, and it will change as new relationships develop with publishers.
Hewson has taken on veterans and season professionals to help guide her. Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington is an adviser and Uber co-founder Oscar Salazar are attached and they’re a member of the board of directors. Bono isn’t an official part of the company.
“Obviously, I grew up with a lot of opportunity and connections, but ultimately, that will only get you in the door once with a person,” Hewson said, according to Fortune. “That’s never going to influence how successful our product is and whether people want to use it.”
Rick Garson is driven by the possibility of innovation and growth in the entertainment industry every day. He has been at the helm of groundbreaking projects, including the famed Billboard Music Awards. Interested in learning more about Rick Garson, entertainment, travel, and entrepreneurship? Please visit RickGarson.com and RickGarson.net!