Rideshare advertising startup Firefly launches with $21.5M in funding – TechCrunch
Firefly, a startup that permits rideshare drivers to become profitable via virtual advertising, is formally launching lately. It’s additionally introduced that it has raised $21.five million in seed funding.
The thought of sticking advertising on a cab isn’t new, however Firefly gives drivers what it calls a “digital smart screen,” permitting advertisers to run centered, geofenced campaigns. The corporate has it sounds as if run greater than 50 advert campaigns already, all through a beta checking out duration in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with masses of vehicles at the highway.
“Being the first at building out the IP is going to be the main differentiator,” stated co-founder and CEO Kaan Gunay. “Over half our team are engineers, and we have been extremely focused on developing core IP to make sure it’s scalable.”
In addition, Gunay stated that because of the mix of Firefly’s focused on functions with its “strict” advertising insurance policies (it received’t settle for commercials for strip golf equipment, tobacco and hashish corporations, amongst others), “We’re working with a lot of advertisers who might not even have advertised outdoors before. We believe we are expanding the market.”
One of the principle objectives is to permit drivers for Uber, Lyft and different ridehailing products and services to earn more money. In reality, Firefly says the typical motive force in its community makes an extra $300 per thirty days.
Gunay defined that if the driving force meets a undeniable threshold for hours at the highway, the corporate can pay them a flat rate to hold its advertising — however he additionally stated the corporate is exploring alternative ways to “maximize the revenue that we share with the drivers and give the maximum benefit to the drivers.”
It’s a subject on regulators’ minds as neatly, with New York not too long ago approving new laws round motive force repayment.
Earlier this yr, Uber partnered with a startup referred to as Cargo to permit drivers to make further source of revenue by way of promoting items like gum, snacks and make contact with chargers. Firefly doesn’t have an reputable courting with the ridehailing corporations, however Gunay stated, “In our conversations with these large companies … they’ve said the drivers are free to do what they want to do. This is why it’s a win for everyone.”
Gunay additionally stated those shows will change into the basis for a “smart city data network.” In different phrases, they’ll acquire information that Firefly plans to proportion with native governments and nonprofit teams. For instance, he stated the corporate has already been sharing air high quality information with the Coalition for Clean Air, and it’s additionally having a look to incorporate temperature sensors and accelerometers.
Apparently, Gunay doesn’t plan to become profitable from this facet of the trade. He advised me, “We want to be able to add value to how cities operate … We’re not planning to monetize that.”
Getting again to the funding, $21.five million is a big seed spherical, however Gunay stated the corporate’s luck to this point was once in a position to”justify a bigger lift and the next valuation.” The spherical was once led by way of NfX, Pelion Venture Partners, Decent Capital (based by way of Tencent’s Jason Zeng) and Jeffrey Housenbold of SoftBank Vision Fund (sure, that SoftBank Vision Fund).