OneScreen.ai, a startup that is solving the biggest problem in out-of-home (OOH) advertising, has closed $1 million in pre-seed funding. The investment is led by TechFarms Capital, a Florida-based fund investing in tech and tech-enabled ventures, with participation from HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, Wayfair’s alumni fund (Wayfund), Lola.com CEO Mike Volpe, BuySellAds.com CEO Todd Garland, HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar, HappyNest CRO Jeanne Hopkins and several OneScreen.ai customers who have become investors. OOH advertising, which encompasses everything from billboards and buses to event sponsorships and connected TV, is a growing $30 billion industry – but half of all OOH inventory goes unsold each month because the selling/buying process is so labor-intensive and archaic.
Founded by former HubSpot, Google and Wayfair executives and alumni, OneScreen.ai is building tools to correct the inefficiencies plaguing OOH advertising, such as an inventory search engine, a platform for media companies to operate efficiently, and a marketplace to manage ad campaigns. The result is the first streamlined, connected OOH market network – a centralized space where marketers can locate, buy, deploy and measure OOH advertising campaigns.
“I wasn’t surprised to find out-of-home advertising was broken; I was surprised to discover that it’s still growing anyways. In fact, it’s the only offline ad medium that’s still growing,” said OneScreen.ai CEO Sam Mallikarjunan. “While TV, radio and print advertising have all been dying, OOH has doubled in the past 20 years. Imagine what the industry could become if it were operating efficiently.”
With the proliferation of marketing technology companies, online advertising has long had the tools needed to quickly and easily buy, activate and measure internet ad campaigns; however, as online advertising has become overly optimized and increasingly costly, many marketers are in need of new ways to drive traffic profitably and at scale. Combining the best parts of internet marketing with the omnipresence and scale of the real world, OneScreen.ai is building an OOH Market Network to compete offline with what Google and Facebook offer online -positioning OOH advertising to become the most powerful marketing medium on earth.
“OneScreen.ai has all of the elements we look for in a startup, not the least of which is an experienced team with domain expertise addressing a large market opportunity,” said Steve Millaway, Managing Director of TechFarms Capital. “Sam and his team have identified a huge dilemma plaguing out-of-home advertising, and they are uniquely qualified to solve the problem in an industry ripe for innovation.”
Today, 94 percent of OOH inventory is bought and sold manually. The industry still relies heavily on manual spreadsheets, phones, human beings and fax machines -yes, fax machines.
“In more than 40 years in the out-of-home advertising space, I’ve seen and been involved in tremendous change,” said Bobby Switzer, OOH advertising industry veteran and former VP of Operations of Lamar Advertising. “Any limitations to reaching out-of-home’s full potential can be traced to market fragmentation and overly manual processes. Innovators like OneScreen.ai who are creating a much-needed, all-in-one platform hold great promise for the out-of-home advertising industry to reach its full potential.”