Direct-to-consumer brands are growing in popularity, but they often find they rely on Google and other tech giants to reach new customers – an unsatisfactory arrangement that former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong seeks to resolve with a new venture.

Called “Unbox”, the new service aims to create a more direct relationship between brands and consumers without the giant tech companies keeping all the valuable consumer data for themselves.

“With today’s technology, you don’t need to go through one of [the] platforms to have a direct relationship,” Armstrong told CNBC.

“Data is really the oil of the economy for these companies, and if those platforms don’t allow you to have that data you’re basically one step removed from your customer, one step removed from understanding how to run your business properly,” he added.

“Our model is to basically give you those things, our privacy policy is built for that. So we think it will be a different model.”

Armstrong, who also previously worked at Google and Verizon’s Oath, explained that Unbox will offer technology, marketing capabilities and events to help brands connect more directly with consumers.

Unbox is part of the dtx company, which Armstrong launched in February with the aim of transforming online retail, and it will offer QR codes on TV, catalogues as well as live events to connect brands with consumers.

Forthcoming events are scheduled for the Midwest in September and New York in November, at which direct-to-consumer brands will offered promotional support.

According to Advertising Age, at least ten brands have signed up to Unbox already, including toothbrush vendor Quip, water bottle company Swell and beverage brands Dirty Lemon and Recess.

It is also reported that the company plans to create a “National DTC Day” on November 15, two weeks before this year’s Black Friday shopping event.

“Unbox is really the evolution of our direct-to-consumer strategy,” Armstrong told the Wall Street Journal. “One thing we’ve seen with direct-to-consumer, which we think is going to be very big as a future part of the internet, is the ability to move from the platforms to ecosystems where there’s a lot more direct connectivity.”

Sourced from CNBC, Advertising Age, Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff