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Adtech startup builds ecosystem through acquisitions

Mark Parker

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Nickelytics' latest acquisition gives it access to over 60,000 rideshare advertising screens nationwide. Photos provided.

Tampa-based Nickelytics has significantly increased operational efficiencies, expanded technological capabilities and broadened its market reach through two recent acquisitions.

CEO Judah Longgrear, a St. Petersburg resident, said additional announcements are forthcoming. An ongoing $3 million seed round will support the advertising technology startup’s growth.

Longgrear acquired On Touch Go, a Dallas-based digital marketing company, June 27. Nickelytics and its clients now have access to over 60,000 in-vehicle rideshare screens nationwide.

“It’s a self-serve portal where brands can select what cities and areas they want to focus on and run campaigns, all without having to speak to a sales rep,” Longgrear told the Catalyst. “This is something we were working on internally, but we came across On Touch Go, and they already had a great platform built.”

Nickelytics evolved from The Nickel Ride, an advertising-supported rideshare company, in 2019. The innovative startup has remained true to its mobile marketing roots.

Nickelytics now offers several data-driven out-of-home advertising solutions. Organizations like the Ad Council, Amazon Web Services and the Los Angeles Times have utilized Nickelytics to increase brand awareness.

Longgrear called traditional out-of-home advertising a “broken” and “archaic” process that typically relied on billboards. Nickelytics markets clients through delivery robots and wrapped rideshare vehicles.

On Touch Go provides geofenced marketing campaigns to rideshare passengers through the near-ubiquitous screens displayed in vehicles. Clients of both companies now have access to an expanded array of advertising tools designed to maximize impact and reach.

“There are a few macroeconomic things where companies that are looking to get acquired, we could get at a good price,” Longgrear said. “But also, the fact that out-of-home (advertising) is ripe for growth.”

Judah Longgrear, founder and CEO of Nickelytics.

Leadership has traditionally taken a more organic approach to growing Nickelytics. However, Longgrear said he began developing a plan to tap into other markets, which excited strategic investors, in the spring.

Innosphere Venture Fund and The Players Company – comprised of over 500 professional athletes and investors – began co-leading the startup’s $3 million growth round in mid-May. Additional investors include Techstars and Tampa-based Redwave Venture Partners. “It’s coming together very well,” Longgrear said.

He announced June 11 that Nickelytics acquired Miami-based Signs Printing Solutions. Longgrear believes integrating the company into operations will streamline wrap production, improve quality control, reduce costs and diversify revenue streams, as the print shop will continue operating independently.

“One of our biggest costs was actually print and installation,” he explained. “Now, we’re able to offer that at an even better price point.”

Longgrear realized the acquisition was more cost-effective than establishing an in-house print shop. He said it would also enable Nickelytics to create wraps on-demand and “crank out larger campaigns in a faster time.”

Rideshare drivers download the company’s app, which collects geolocation data. Nickelytics pays for the wrap and installation through its network of over 600 nationwide contractors.

Drivers earn money by featuring the advertising wraps. They can add a third revenue stream by offering in-vehicle marketing screens. Longgrear said they “never pay a penny out of pocket.”

A Nickelytics-wrapped vehicle and delivery robot.

While rideshare vehicle wraps remain a company focus, Nickelytics was among the first to realize robotic delivery’s potential. Longgrear said over 1,000 robots, often found on university campuses, now support the startup’s advertising campaigns.

“This is something we started working on probably two years ago when we started to see the growth of this medium,” he added. “We were bullish that they were a great platform to advertise on.”

Longgrear explained that the robots typically focus on last-mile deliveries that are less profitable for drivers. He noted that reduces emissions and believes adoption will continue increasing due to the value proposition and number of use cases. “I would not be surprised, in the near future, if we see them here in downtown St. Pete and Tampa.”

Longgrear said the company is exploring additional acquisition opportunities and strategic partnerships to bolster data analytic efforts. He said the overarching goal is to combine the “best of offline advertising with online retargeting and measurement.”

Longgrear recently moved across the bay from Nickelytics’ Tampa headquarters and hired “a local talent,” something he expects to continue. He also called it amazing to see the region solidify its growing reputation as a technology hub over the past five years.

“I’m just so bullish on St. Pete and the tech and startup ecosystem,” Longgrear said. “We certainly plan on doubling down and being part of the growth and excitement.”

 

 

 

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