By Erin McDermott

NO ONE likes watching video ads and most will hit skip as soon as possible. But what if watching an advertisement for just 15 seconds released a donation to charity – without costing the viewer a penny? That would be a win-win situation by any measure.

That’s what the team behind the Edinburgh-based startup Good-Loop thought – and the company has since become a prime example of how the advertising and technology worlds can unite for a noble purpose.

Advertising executive Amy Williams devised Good-Loop after she grew tired of the merry-go-round of advertising spend. Wanting to create a more positive image of the industry, she teamed up with like-minded adtech specialist Daniel Winterstein and, together, they founded Good-Loop in October 2016.

Last year, the duo shared their story at Impact Summit in Glasgow. Delivered by Edinburgh-based FutureX, Impact Summit is the UK’s leading purpose-led business event and a platform for those using new models to tackle global challenges. 

Good-Loop exemplifies Impact Summit’s mission. Williams and Winterstein, a finalist in FutureX’s Startup Summit competition last year, combined their expertise to create a novel business strategy to harness the shift in consumer habits.

They realised that brands, consumers and good causes could 
all benefit by pairing values and sustainability – without sacrificing financial growth.

Good-Loop currently employs 15 people and has an annual turnover of over £1 million. They have raised more than £750,000 for charities including WaterAid and Save the Children, and are on track to significantly increase this number this year.
“Online ads can be annoying,” admits Winterstein. “We knew we wanted to tackle the frustrating and negative association with online ads by presenting a different experience.

“That’s why our ads ensure the user has full control. There’s no wait to skip an ad – it’s always an optional experience.”

Good-Loop is already working with brands such as H&M

Good-Loop rewards viewers for watching an ad for 15 seconds by unlocking three donation buttons once the countdown is over. The viewer can then direct a donation to a charity that is related to the content but also aligned with the viewer’s charitable priorities. 

But it’s the advertiser, not the viewer, that donates.
“Fundamentally, we’re turning advertising into a force for good,” 
adds Winterstein.

The firm, which has offices in Edinburgh and London, focuses on developing “ethical ads”. Good-Loop splits the charges for clients so, at the end of a campaign, 50% of the company’s fee goes directly to the charities selected.
“We believe it’s important to give users a choice and also a reason to keep watching, which is why we provide a channel to do good and leave a positive impact,” says Winterstein.

Good-Loop’s attitude has struck a chord not only with investors but also with viewers – the firm believes its campaigns are 30% more effective with consumers than unskippable video ads.

This “watch to donate” approach enables the company to deliver its ad through existing channels, which gives Good-Loop massive scale-up capacity. 
A recent $1.2 million investment means Good-Loop is now looking to take the operation to the next level and grow to its full potential.

After comfortably branching out into Europe, South America and Turkey, Good-Loop will use this latest tranche of investment to break into key US markets.
Winterstein says: “It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ scenario – quite the opposite, in fact - but the ideas we have now can absolutely scale to international markets.
“Purpose-led businesses can go global. Some good examples are the clothing label Patagonia and beauty range The Body Shop.

“It’s very encouraging seeing more businesses talking about sustainability, with many seeing much faster results,” Winterstein says.
Impact Summit brings conversations about purpose-led business to the fore. This year’s summit, being held in Glasgow on May 20th, will focus on climate change, tech for good and sustainable fashion.

As Good-Loop continues to attract globally-recognised brands including Coca-Cola, Amazon, Nestle, Unilever, Benefit, the Co-op, Eurostar, NBCUniversal and many more, the wider business community is paying close attention to the purpose-led movement. 

Last year, Winterstein was credited by the Institute of Directors as Scotland startup director of the year. “There is definitely a sense of businesses being more focused on doing something positive,” he reflects.

“People are encouraging each other to shift towards a purpose-led business model. More and more companies are showing you can have a business for good – one that is encouraging for consumers.”

Impact Summit 2020 will take place at SWG3 in Glasgow on Wednesday, May 20th.  For more information 
and to book tickets, visit