founder

Nickelytics Co-Founder Judah Longgrear on Out-of-Home Advertising Opportunities

Introduction

The mobile gig economy is growing. From rideshare services like Uber and Lyft to food delivery services like Grubhub and Shipt, drivers can pick up their keys, get in their cars, and make some cash. And now, they can sell advertising space on their vehicles to bring in more income. 

That’s where Nickelytics comes in. The company partners local advertisers with mobile gig workers to easily create traveling ads. We spoke with Nickelytics co-founder and CEO Judah Longgrear about how the service works and the company’s growth potential.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Yasmin Sharbaf

In your own words, how would you describe your company?

Judah Longgrear

Nickelytics, a Techstars ‘20 and venture-backed startup, is a platform that makes launching hyper-local out-of-home (OOH) advertising as simple, scalable, and measurable as posting online ads. By connecting advertisers with rideshare and delivery workers, we bring together the physical presence of outdoor advertising with the power of technology. We’ve created a new revenue stream for drivers by enabling them to sell advertising space on their vehicles while simultaneously enabling businesses to establish greater brand awareness and visibility in their target markets.

We’ve solidified our product-market fit, and now we’re continuing to scale our business to bring our digital OOH ad platform to the rapidly growing electric vehicle (EV) charging station network because we’re currently witnessing an explosion in the EV market that is only poised to expand with more investment in the coming years. At the same time, we’re accelerating our demand-side growth by showing drivers the potential income they can make by partnering with Nickelytics.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Judah Longgrear

Since I was young, I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of advertising and the psychology behind it. Marketing affects people in powerful and often subtle ways, and I wanted to push the envelope even further to help advertisers promote their products.

I saw how technology was really driving change in the OOH advertising industry, and I had an idea about how people could use their vehicles as an effective advertising medium. Once I saw the growth happening in the rideshare industry and witnessed the disruptive power of both the sharing economy and the technology that underpins it, I decided to dive in headfirst. That was more than five years ago, and I haven’t looked back since.

Yasmin Sharbaf

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Judah Longgrear

We’re extremely fortunate to have a well-rounded and entrepreneurial-minded team of around 10 employees. We have a diverse set of founders with a combined 20 years of adtech leadership at Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Gartner, and Linkedin. We came together as a result of our passion for technology, our drive to transform OOH advertising, and our collective vision for innovative advertising solutions.

Yasmin Sharbaf

How is Nickelytics transforming the OOH advertising industry?

Judah Longgrear

We’re combining technology, OOH, and mobility to transform how brands and agencies reach consumers on the go. The most recent example of this is our partnership with Serve Robotics, a leading autonomous delivery company. Our collaboration is now in full swing, and together we’re providing our clients with next-generation out-of-home advertising and never before seen campaigns!

One of the first of many campaigns featured none other than Smokey Bear, powered by the Ad Council. Through this partnership, we used Serve’s robots and our advertising platform to help raise awareness about the risks of wildfires and how to prevent them.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Judah Longgrear

We are first-to-market in helping establish EV charging suppliers grow and expand by leveraging the power of advertising. We help them to subsidize their operations by integrating a proven revenue stream. This enables us to scale rapidly, as our partnership will give us exclusivity for the most sought-after locations.

On top of being a part of building out the infrastructure that will power our all-electric future, we also specifically target the emerging sector that combines mobility and public welfare. By integrating our technology with the latest OOH inventory, we help good causes find their voice, get out their message, and gain traction in the community. In this way, we help grassroots organizations find their footing and have a positive impact on the world around us.

On the tech side, we’re also working on being the only platform that combines predictive analytics, machine learning algorithms, and an integrated programmatic buying platform to streamline the entire OOH advertising ecosystem. This helps our customers manage their campaigns, track their progress, and find new opportunities to expand their advertising presence.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What has changed since Nickelytics’ last crowdfunding round on Republic that ended in April 2021?

Judah Longgrear

This has been a period of massive growth for us as we continually strive to scale up our company, reach new markets, and expand our operations. In 2022, we’ve achieved $628,700 year-to-date revenue, marking 59% year over year growth. In the second quarter alone, we brought in $343,200 in revenue, representing an even larger bump of 84% year over year growth.

A big part of this push has been our success in growing organic partnerships with leading brands like Uber, Lyft, RE/MAX, and The Penny Hoarder. We’ve launched partnerships with more than 20 new brands at both the national and local level, and we’re looking forward to continuing to onboard more partners as we grow our offerings.

Finally, we closed a venture capital investment from BDev Ventures. This infusion of fresh capital is accelerating our growth, putting us in motion to expand even further in 2023 and beyond.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What advantages does OOH car advertising have over traditional billboards?

Judah Longgrear

First off, this type of advertising is highly targeted. Our advanced analytics enable us to put advertisements in the location and among the audience where they will have the biggest impact.

Second, advertising on a car has the potential to reach much larger audiences. While a billboard is stationary and a driver may or may not read it if they happen to be on the road that goes past it, a mobile advertisement can attract eyeballs from many different people in lots of different locations. Especially in urban areas where space is at a premium and many residents don’t drive themselves, this form of advertising is even more potent.

Third, OOH car advertising is cheaper than a billboard. By offering this advertisement at a lower price point, we’re able to demonstrate a clear return on investment to our partners while simultaneously minimizing their risk exposure.

Finally, our partners also get in-depth insight into where their ad goes. Because our driver app automatically tracks the route that they take, we can show exactly where the ad went and how it performed. By equipping our partners with more data, they can then make smarter decisions going forward.

Yasmin Sharbaf

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Judah Longgrear

If we raise the full amount we’re aiming for in our seed round, we will be looking to achieve the following.

First, it will provide 18 months of the runway that we can use to continue to accelerate our business. We will also use the money to hire three in-house engineers to optimize our product alongside three marketing and sales professionals who will help us to connect with both advertisers and drivers.

We’re also planning on rolling out version two of our self-serve portal. This will improve the user experience while also enhancing our data attribution capabilities.

This money will also enable us to pursue content creation and support marketing campaigns. Ultimately, our goal is to reach $2.4 million in annual recurring revenue by October 2023.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Judah Longgrear

We’re at a super exciting time for the industry of OOH advertising and we’re seeing strong solid growth across the board. While OOH fell sharply in 2020, we’ve seen a massive resurgence as pandemic restrictions eased and more people returned to public spaces.

At the same time, the trend of at-home delivery and ridesharing has only continued. We’re synthesizing these two trajectories into a single product. The potential, both for advertisers and drivers, is absolutely enormous, and we’re just beginning to tap into it.

Yasmin Sharbaf

As you think about the business five to 10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Judah Longgrear

Given that the vast majority of successful startup exits are not initial public offerings but rather acquisitions, we feel that this is likely our best path to a successful exit. There are several players within the mobility space and the advertising space that have shown interest in what we’re building. Right now we’re focusing on our demand side growth and growing our revenue so that we can demonstrate tangible results. Once we’ve scaled up into the company that we know we can become, we hope to be acquired at a fair price that is beneficial to both our employees and our investors. 

We look forward to seeing where Judah and his team take the company. Nickelytics is currently raising on Republic.

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About: Yasmin Sharbaf

Yasmin is passionate about the intersection of business, art, and science. Prior to KingsCrowd, Yasmin worked on a cryptocurrency investing research project for Wellesley College Investment Office where she assessed the risks and rewards for university endowment investment into cryptocurrency. She has also previously worked in a neuroscience lab studying language and memory of songbirds. Yasmin’s dream is to make investing and financial education accessible to everyone. In her free time, Yasmin enjoys going on adventures, learning new languages, and exploring different cultures. Yasmin studied Neuroscience and Studio Art at Wellesley College.

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