Filling Vacant Storefronts with "Smart" Ads
VisuWall is an advertising platform. It enables brands to "rent" vacant storefronts to place trackable ads.
As a result, landlords can monetize empty window space, and brands get access to a new tech-enabled advertising channel.
Each ad uses VisuWall’s "mobile proximity" technology. This enables the company to provide brands with real-time analytics about consumer interaction and sentiment.
VisuWall has received more than $550,000 in funding from professional investors including XRC Labs and New Age Capital. And the company is led by Founder & CEO Kobi Wu, a marketing and advertising industry veteran who has worked with notable brands including Apple, Google, Samsung, Nike, and Spotify.
VisuWall is targeting the $8.4 billion outdoor advertising market. It was created to solve two big issues:
First of all, across the U.S., the vacancy rate for stores is nearly 10%. And regulatory restrictions make it difficult for landlords to reduce rent to attract new tenants. As a result, the average vacancy lasts for 18 to 24 months. This means the industry loses more than $9 billion in annual revenue.
Secondly, brands struggle to measure the effectiveness of their advertising.
VisuWall provides a solution to these problems. Here’s how:
VisuWall works with brands to develop ads that are placed in vacant storefronts. Each ad contains VisuWall’s mobile proximity technology, which tracks the number of people walking by and/or engaging with an advertisement.
All this information is collected and presented to the brand via VisuWall’s Software-as-a-Service platform, enabling companies to better understand customer opinions and create more effective advertising.
VisuWall sets the price for each window using an algorithm that combines factors such as a window’s location, visibility rate, and size.
The company generates revenue through a production markup for the ads it creates, and charges brands for subscriptions to its analytics platform.
VisuWall was created to serve several customer bases, including:
- Property owners seeking incremental revenue.
- Retailers looking to drive consumers online or in-store.
- Fashion and Beauty companies eager to promote products or special events.
- Sports & Entertainment teams and brands encouraging fans to watch or attend games and matches.
- Consumer product companies looking to promote everyday items to customers.
VisuWall already launched the first version of its platform, and is on a $700,000 annual run rate. The company plans to launch a second version with updated features in 2019.
The company has placed advertisements in 70 properties in New York and Los Angeles. Its ads are viewed an average of 23,000 times per month.
VisuWall has several notable clients, including Apple Music, Celine, Burberry, and Harry’s. In addition, real estate clients including Acadia Realty, Extell, and 101 Holdings have used VisuWall to target customers with ads.
The company was part of Goldman Sachs’ “Small Business Cohort XXIII” and its Founder was named among Goldman’s “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs” in 2017 and 2018.
Moving forward, VisuWall aims to expand to four markets by 2020, and 10 markets by 2021.
Kobi has worked in marketing and advertising for 18 years. For seven years, she was Managing Director of Lynonshare Communications, working for notable clients including Pepsi, Sony Music, Nike, Polaroid, and Universal.
She was previously Director of Events & Special Projects for Cornerstone, a New York-based marketing company. In addition, she was in charge of corporate strategy for Superfly, a marketing company that created promotions for companies including JetBlue, Yahoo!, and Intel.
Kobi was Senior Vice President of Strategy for Combs Enterprises, an agency services group headed by rapper Sean Combs. While there, she worked for brands including Ciroc, Sean John, and REVOLT.
For eight years, she served as a professor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from University of California, Berkeley, a Master’s in Construction Management from Georgia Tech, and an MBA from NYU.
Kevin is a partner at Interplay Ventures, an investment firm focused on startup companies. Along with other companies in his portfolio, Kevin focuses on and advises VisuWall. In his career, he has enjoyed two successful exits.
He previously co-founded Image Space Media, an internet startup that was acquired by Vibrant Media.
Prior to that, he was a financial analyst for Bank of America and Robertson Stephens, a financial company.
Kevin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University.
A venture capital firm investing in tech-related startups.
An accelerator program focused on start-ups in the retail and consumer goods industries.