Today, the New Orleans Startup Fund announced the closing of an initial round of financing for adverCar, a rapidly growing national transit media company headquartered in New Orleans. The funding will allow the company to significantly expand its operating capacity while adding 80 new direct jobs in the area over four years.
“We are extremely pleased to finance a company like adverCar, which already has multiple household names as clients,” said Matt Wisdom, Chairman of the Startup Fund. “The mission of the Startup Fund is to help accelerate the growth of high-potential companies in the Greater New Orleans region that have national—or global—aspirations. This injection of capital will be very helpful to adverCar as they expand and seek additional financing down the road.”
Using the practice of placing advertisements on buses and taxicabs as a model, adverCar matches everyday drivers with businesses looking to promote their brands. The company uses a fleet of GPS-tracked vehicles on precisely chosen commuter routes and other driving-intensive areas, as display advertising platforms. By saturating specific neighborhoods, surface roads, or commuter routes to reach specific target groups, brands’ messages can be delivered in a more focused fashion than ever before.
Drivers are local residents in target areas who are paid monthly to affix vinyl advertising decals to their cars. By participating in campaigns, adverCar drivers can eliminate or drastically reduce their day-to-day fuel costs. This compensation approach has proven to be highly effective for recruiting drivers, with thousands of people signed up nationally.
The company is currently running campaigns for Sleepy’s—the nation’s largest mattress retailer—in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
“It’s two parts—first you can get into smaller, localized markets that regular outdoor can’t do. And, if you want to say hello to competitors, that helps, as well,” said Chris DeCicco, Media Buyer for Sleepy’s. “You can strategically target certain people or groups of people within the area or market.”
adverCar’s founders have deep roots in New Orleans. Neil Turner, the company’s CEO, was the Chief Strategy Officer for iSeatz, a major New Orleans-based developer of online travel reservation technologies. Alex Goss, a co-founder and partner of adverCar, is a Louisiana native and also a veteran of iSeatz.
“Basing adverCar in New Orleans was a priority for us,” said Turner. “All of the key elements we required to develop a powerful foundation for our company are here. From a business and venture culture that fosters the developments of new ideas, to great organizations like GNO, Inc. that facilitate the business process, to a place that’s just unbeatable from a quality of life standpoint, we knew that this was where we needed to be. I urge other owners of innovative companies to consider New Orleans as a home base.”
The New Orleans Startup Fund is funded through a combination of private and public programs, including the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Louisiana Office of Community Development/Disaster Recovery Unit.