News payment startup Axate wins support from Future News Fund

February 18, 2020

Axate, the London startup providing a digital news casual payment tool to support publishers struggling in the new media landscape, has won a grant from Nesta’s Future News Pilot Fund, which it plans to use to support local titles.

The grant will be used by Axate to fund a partnership with three digital news publishers – including Baylis Media, publisher of the Maidenhead Advertiser; and The Barnsley Chronicle – who will use Axate’s technology to increase their revenues. The programme begins this month.

2017-founded Axate is currently working with numerous UK and US publishers to enable them to increase their reader revenues. The service has been dubbed the ‘oystercard for news’, and offers a pay-per-article service for ‘casual readers’ to complement revenue from subscriptions and advertising.

The Nesta Future News Pilot Fund was launched to find a new way of funding ethical and useful reporting, in response to the Cairncross Review. It is run by Nesta, the innovation foundation, as well as Bethnal Green Ventures.

Dominic Young, CEO of Axate, said: “This Future News Pilot Fund grant is a great vote of confidence in the potential of the Axate model to help local news publishers thrive and grow. We are really looking forward to working with these great publishers to help them secure the revenues they deserve from their investment in local journalism, and we look forward to sharing the lessons learned with other publishers.”

Jeremy Spooner, CEO of Baylis Media, said: “I and my team are really looking forward to working on this project. As a charitable trust we act as servants of our community. But we can only carry on doing so if we have the income to reinvest in reporting. We think Axate can help.”

Victoria Hewitt, Director of The Barnsley Chronicle, said: “Quality journalism is of critical importance to our local communities – our paper and website are reaching more people than ever before.

“However, producing content costs money and providing it for free on our website is difficult to sustain. We need to look for ways of maintaining our journalism for the future, so that our communities can continue to access this resource. That’s why we will be working with Axate to explore a different approach through this trial.”