Dany Garcia, CEO of Seven Bucks Productions and founder, CEO and chairwoman of the Garcia Companies and TGC Management, has taken a minority investment in MeWe, a startup that positions itself as a social network rival to Facebook — but one that gives users full control over their own data and privacy.
Garcia co-founded Seven Bucks Productions with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and she also is Johnson’s manager. In addition to her investment in MeWe, she has joined the company’s advisory board alongside members including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.
“MeWe and I share a mutual passion of consumer-first advocates committed to enhancing the human experience,” Garcia said in a statement. “It’s exciting to join the board during this time of growth and development, and utilize my expertise to cultivate a brand experience that provides global users with an enriching social media experience that is uplifting, authentic and fun.”
As it relates to the entertainment biz, MeWe says its service lets actors, artists and musicians connect with their fans in real time, “with no interfering advertisements or algorithms, and no need to pay to boost content.”
The amount Garcia has invested in MeWe was not disclosed. To date, MeWe has raised $15 million from angel investors including Mark Britto, chairman and founder of Boku; fashion designer Rachel Roy; Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com (acquired by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion); Jack Canfield, founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul; and technology academic Sherry Turkle.
Launched in 2016, MeWe says it now has over 6 million users and claims it’s on track to have some 100 million by the end of 2020. The service has a freemium revenue model, offering in-app purchases, and generates enterprise revenue from MeWePRO. MeWe is available worldwide in 19 languages on Android, iOS and desktop.
MeWe was founded by CEO Mark Weinstein, a privacy advocate who previously founded SuperFamily and SuperFriends, precursors to today’s social-media and chat networks. In 2012, Weinstein created the Sgrouples beta project, hiring an engineering team to design and build what he called the world’s first social network with a privacy-by-design approach. That served as the prototype for MeWe, which officially launched at SXSW in 2016.
MeWe says it’s the first social network with a “privacy bill of rights” that guarantees its users total control of their data, news feeds and privacy. MeWe runs no advertising and says it does not manipulate users’ news feeds in any way.