DATE & TIME
Tuesday 31st January
8:45 am to 10:30 am
This event is organised in partnership with SGPB Hambros.
Alexandre Mars is a serial entrepreneur and an engaged philanthropist.
Over the last 15 years, he has successfully launched and sold several companies in Europe and the US across diverse business sectors, including venture capital, Internet, mobile marketing, social media and advertising. His two latest startups, Phonevalley (the world’s largest mobile agency) and ScrOOn (a social media management system) were recently sold to Publicis Groupe and Blackberry, respectively.
Alexandre’s passion for entrepreneurship blossomed early. At 17, he started his first venture: a concert promotion firm. At 21, he founded one of Europe’s first web agencies while continuing his studies at the HEC Paris business school and Paris Dauphine University. He ran his own venture fund, Mars Capital, from 1998-2001.
In 2001, Alexandre created Phonevalley and within just a few years, he drove the company to become the largest mobile marketing agency in Europe. Publicis Groupe, the third largest communications group in the world, acquired Phonevalley in 2007 and established the firm as its official worldwide mobile marketing and advertising entity. Mars was appointed Head of Mobile at Publicis, thereby positioning it at the forefront of the mobile communications era. In the same year, Alexandre seized another emerging communications opportunity: the social media revolution. Recognizing its potential, Alexandre launched ScrOOn. ScrOOn was acquired by Blackberry in 2013 to be used as the underlying technology for monetizing its popular BBM product.
Alexandre is passionate about fighting inequalities. In 2014, he founded Epic Foundation to bridge the gap between a new generation of individual and corporate donors and organizations supporting children and youth globally. Epic is developing new tools focused on enhancing how donors select, monitor and experience their impact. His vision is to disrupt the philanthropic industry by combining passion and expertise with game- changing technology and partnerships.
Alexandre is regularly quoted by the New York Times, Le Monde and Wall Street Journal. He has been invited to share his mobile/digital and philanthropic vision at a variety of events including the Global Philanthropy Forum, Consumer Electronics Show, Advertising Week, AdTech, Mobile World Congress and NEXUS Youth Summit. He is a regular guest speaker on BFMTV, France’s most watched news network.
In 2015, Alexandre was named one of New York City’s top 20 philanthropists under 40 by the New York Observer.
Alexandre lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children, whom he adores traveling with. Passionate about music and sports, Alexandre enjoys jazz music and watching Brooklyn Nets, New Orleans Saints, and New York Yankees games. He ran both the Paris and New York City Marathons and practices mixed martial arts.
28 Berkeley Square
London W1J 6EN
Epic Foundation is a nonprofit aiming to improve charitable giving — an approach that encompasses the way people select, monitor and “experience” their donations.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Alexandre Mars (among other roles, he was CEO at Phonevalley, a mobile marketing agency acquired by Publicis Groupe, where Mars became head of mobile), Epic is trying to bring a more tech- and data-driven approach to the nonprofit world.
Specifically on the monitoring side, Epic is launching a new Impact app for smartphones and the web that should allow donors to stay up-to-date with the organizations they’ve contributed to.
Most nonprofits communicate with donors with annual reports — thick volumes that many people probably don’t bother to read. With the Impact app, on the other hand, it should be easier to keep up thanks to ongoing updates and data coming in straight from the field. That can include simple things like social media updates, or more in-depth stories about the people who have been helped by the organization.
Mars suggested that this will allow donors to monitor the groups they’ve supported, almost like a stock portfolio. That means you see how much you’ve donated, and also the quantified impact of the organization, whether it’s number of beneficiaries or meals served or hours taught. (Epic works with each group to determine the most meaningful data to share through the app.)
To be clear, the Impact app isn’t trying to attach any strings to the donations or influence the work these organizations do — it’s just providing a window into that work.
Mars argued that introducing more transparency isn’t just a nice little feature — it could actually make people comfortable with donating larger sums of money. He recalled that before starting Epic, he talked to many people who said they’d supported worthy causes, but also admitted they hadn’t done as much as they could.
With these kinds of tools, he said, “We want to drive them to do more.”