With $ 62.5 million in debt financing, Road Runner Media puts digital ads behind commercial vehicles – TechCrunch
If based in Southern California Road runner media is successful, you will start to see a lot more ads while driving.
That’s because the startup places digital screens on the backs of technicians’ vans, delivery vehicles, buses, and other utility vehicles. These screens can display both advertisements and serve as a brake light – according to founder and chairman Randall Lanham, brake light functionality is required if you put a sign on the back of a vehicle.
“The way we look at it, we’re a digital brake light,” Lanham said. Yes, the brake light displays advertisements, but “the driver pressing the brakes interrupts the advertisement”. (The sign can also indicate turns, reversing, and emergency turn signals. You can see an ad mockup in the image above and actual images in the video below.)
To pursue this idea, Lanham (who described himself as a “reorganization lawyer”) hired Chris Riley as CEO – Riley’s to live includes several years as CEO of PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand. And the company announced this week that it has secured $ 62.5 million in debt financing from Baseline Growth Capital.
The idea of putting advertisements on moving vehicles is not new. There are of course advertisements on the roofs of taxis, and startups like Firefly also put digital signage on top of Ubers and Lyfts. But Riley said Road Runner’s rugged high-resolution LCDs are very different, because of their size, quality, and location.
“[Taxi-top ads] don’t have the color, the shine, the clarity, ”he said. “We can deliver a real video ad to the screen. “
Riley also said the ads can be targeted based on GPS and time of day, and that the company eventually plans to add sensors to collect data on who actually sees the ads.
Regarding concerns that these large, bright displays might distract drivers, Lanham argued that they actually catch the driver’s eyes exactly where they should be and create a brake light that is much harder to ignore.
“Your eyes are fixed on the horizon, that’s what the [Department of Transportation] wants – as opposed to on the ground or on the radio or directly left or right, ”he said. “This is where your safest driving happens, when your eyes are above the dashboard. “
In fact, Lanham said he was “very passionate” about the company’s mission, which he believes will make roads safer, and creates a platform that could also be used to deliver messages from public service.
“We have the ability to modernize any vehicle and make it safer on highways,” he added. “I really, really believe that we’ll be saving lives if we haven’t already.”
The company says it already has 150 live screens in Atlanta, Boulder, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, and plans to launch screens in Philadelphia and Washington, DC in March.