founder

Founder Profile: The Team Bringing New Meaning To Window Shopping

Summary

Digital advertisements have become the window ads of our online shopping lives. But what about real window ads? Have they died? At the end of the day we still need to walk down the street to get to and from work, and city centers are increasingly growing in the US.  

Perhaps window ads are still a good way to engage with consumers. But there is just one problem. In the world of digital advertising, marketers have become enamored with the data they can glean from digital ads. Getting that same type of data on ad spend ROI via window ads just isn’t there.

But what if advertisers could get the same type of data on window ads as they could on digital ads? That would change the game. And it happens to be the problem Kobi Wu and her team are solving at VisuWall. We sat down to learn more about this business with her and walked away impressed.

If you haven’t already, check out our Deal To Watch rating HERE. And get to know Kobi better below!

Chris Lustrino

Kobi, Can you explain how your 18 years in marketing helped you to identify the need you are now solving for at VisuWall?

Kobi Wu

I have always been fascinated with the way people consume media. In more recent years I’ve been more focused on how receptive people are to certain mediums and yet reject others.  Outdoor is iconic. It impacts the skylines of every major city. We recognize landmarks because of certain placements and have an emotional reaction to the best images.

The business of marketing in my opinion is tapping into that psychology. Over the years, working with brands I’ve learned to think about what social / environmental influences impact the way people receive a message.

Vacant real estate caught my eye – as it has everyone else and I simply figured that real estate is an ideal vehicle to connect with people at the ground level.  

Chris Lustrino

Can you define the pain point VisuWall solves for?

Kobi Wu

VisuWall addresses the vast amounts of vacant commercial real estate for seemingly longer and longer periods of time. We are providing a solution for that downtime (average downtime 18-24-36 months) with a smart way to drive incremental revenue and help neighborhoods exude vibrancy and occupancy instead of feeling abandoned.

Chris Lustrino

How large of a market opportunity do you think exist for this product?

Kobi Wu

The traditional media buying landscape is just shy of a $10bn industry and we are currently targeting, entertainment, sports, consumer products, retailers, beauty and fashion which account for nearly 60% of that share. Those same industries capture a near $50bn in Digital.

Chris Lustrino

Can you explain how your technology works to determine how effective offline ads are?

Kobi Wu

Computer vision is embedded behind each campaign in window that counts the number of people walking by, the number of anonymous faces looking at the ad, how long they are looking and through facial recognition we are able to discern demographic info like gender, approximate age and even sentiment.  

Our tech is able to provide strong insights on the effectiveness of the campaign before, during and after through layers of insights that otherwise have to be made through assumptions and cross references of multiple sources. With VisuWall it’s just easy.

Chris Lustrino

Do you guys own the window space as well and act as the leasee or is this an additional service you can provide to someone leasing out ad space?

Kobi Wu

Landlords are given the option to optimize their downtime and engage Visuwall to do so. We do not impose overreaching requirements on property owners for use of their windows. It’s simply an opt-in scenario where we are managing the windows for as long as they want us to.

Chris Lustrino

What are the challenges in having to deal with advertisers and landlords who offer the space?

Kobi Wu

We advise advertisers that property owners’ goals are to lease the space to a long term tenant and our sweet spot is to buy media within 2-3 months. Landlords are most often obliged to advertisers before even listing with us so in the end it is just a function of expediency of each campaign.

Chris Lustrino

Who is the core type of company you are seeing want to utilize your service?

Kobi Wu

Our core end user are brands and agencies looking for media placements so they can deliver a message to their targeted audience in the neighborhoods they choose.

Chris Lustrino

What is the sales strategy and how labor intensive is it?

Kobi Wu

The lift is with landlords, educating them on what we do and establishing the value beyond just the money. Once they get it – it’s an on-boarding process to be able to present the location to advertisers. The on-boarding process isn’t heavy but it is critical to the  model and with the marketplace property owners will be able to list locations directly on the platform.

Chris Lustrino

On the analytical side of the business will you look to monetize this data as well or is it solely collected and utilized by advertisers that pay you?

Kobi Wu

At the moment the data is provided only to advertisers and landlords.  We are of course thinking about the enterprise opportunities for the future, but taking it one step at a time.

Chris Lustrino

Will you look to move this product to manage online ads as well or is this really about providing a tool for offline ads only?

Kobi Wu

The future is programmatic outdoor and we have already taken steps to employ CMS processes that will allow brands to bid on our placements just like they do digital.

Chris Lustrino

Do you think VisuWall will be exited via a corporate acquisition or as an IPO?

Kobi Wu

I think it’s too early to say. I see how our data can lead to IPO but the nature of our model could just as easily lead to an impressive acquisition by a major player in media, real estate or tech. As I meet people everyday I consider these things, but today we are enjoying building the business to be as mighty as it can be.

Chris Lustrino

How will the funds from this round of funding be utilized?

Kobi Wu

We are in tech stack build mode. We are also in sales mode. So we are primarily spending in those two areas. We are indeed doing more marketing than before so some of the funds will of course be used to help us get the word out about VisuWall.

VisuWall has a value add component for both advertisers and landlords alike. By finding a way to track and analyze offline ads, VisuWall is making window ads attractive again to advertisers. This can have major market implications and provide an intriguing business opportunity for VisuWall.

 

With Kobi’s deep marketing experience we think this team is poised to perform well. Be sure to invest HERE!

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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