AdQuick is looking to make billboard advertising easier and more transparent.
The startup is announcing that it has raised $1.1 million in seed funding from Initialized Capital (founded by former Y Combinator partners Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian), VTF Capital (founded by Tony Hsieh of Zappos) and Haystack Ventures.
AdQuick founder Matthew O’Connor said he ran into the billboard ad world repeatedly while working at startups, including Instacart. Each time, he found himself “perplexed at why it’s so hard to find and buy outdoor advertising.”
He said it’s a buying process that’s still dominated by email, spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, and where ad-buyers rarely get a clear sense of what all their options are — or whether their campaigns are actually paying off.
Other companies, including ADstruc and AdSemble, have also tried to bring more of the process online, but O’Connor argued that even compared to these competitors, AdQuick is taking more of a “technology-first” approach.
Similarly, in a blog post announcing Initialized’s investment, Ohanian (who’s done some outdoor advertising himself) wrote, “We’ve seen pitches for this business for almost a decade, but this was easily the most impressive technical execution and at a remarkably early stage.”
What does that technology entail? Well, on the ad-buying side, AdQuick aggregates inventory from a variety of different companies. The goal is to give buyers a comprehensive view of their options in a given geography, allow them to use a single interface to buy ads from multiple vendors and even to target their campaigns based on factors like demographics.
On the analytics side, O’Connor said AdQuick employs a range of approaches to measure an ad’s effectiveness. That includes creating campaign-specific shortcodes, integrating with Google Analytics and Google AdWords, conducting geotargeted surveys and using image recognition on social media to detect when people are sharing images of the ad.
Advertisers that have used AdQuick include Lyft, H&R Block, Orange Theory Fitness (featured in this case study) and O’Connor’s old employer, Instacart.