With $62.5M in debt financing, Road Runner Media puts digital ads behind commercial vehicles – TechCrunch

If Southern California-based Road Runner Media succeeds, you’ll begin seeing much more advertisements whilst you’re driving.

That’s as a result of the startup is putting digital screens on the again of technicians’ vans, supply autos, buses and different business autos. These screens can present each advertisements and function a brake mild — in accordance with founder and chairman Randall Lanham, the brake mild performance is required should you’re placing an indication on the again of a automobile.

“The way in which we have a look at it, we’re a digital brake mild,” Lanham mentioned. Sure, the brake mild is exhibiting advertisements, however “the motive force touching the brakes interrupts the advert.” (The signal may point out turns, reversing and emergency flashers. You may see a mock-up advert within the picture above, and actual footage within the video beneath.)

To pursue this concept, Lanham (who described himself as a “recovering legal professional”) enlisted Chris Riley as CEO — Riley’s experience contains a number of years as CEO of PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand. And the corporate introduced this week that it has secured $62.5 million in debt financing from Baseline Progress Capital.

The concept of placing advertisements on transferring autos isn’t new. There are, in fact, advertisements on the tops of taxis, and startups like Firefly are additionally placing digital signage on high of Ubers and Lyfts. However Riley mentioned Highway Runner’s ruggedized, high-resolution LCD screens are very completely different, as a result of their dimension, high quality and placement.

“[Taxi-top ads] don’t have the colour, the brilliance, the readability,” he mentioned. “We will run a real video advert on the display screen.”

Riley additionally mentioned the advertisements will be focused primarily based on GPS and time of day, and that the corporate finally plans so as to add sensors to gather information on who’s really seeing the advertisements.

As for issues that these large, vivid screens may distract drivers, Lanham argued they’re really attracting driver’s eyes to precisely the place they need to be, and making a brake mild that’s a lot tougher to disregard.

“Your eyes are affixed on the horizon, which is what the [Department of Transportation] desires — versus on the ground or the radio or instantly off to the left or proper,” he mentioned. “That’s the place your most secure driving happens, when your eyes are up above the dashboard.”

In actual fact, Lanham mentioned he’s “very passionate” in regards to the firm’s mission, which in his view will make roads safer, and is making a platform that is also used to unfold public service messages.

“We’ve got the flexibility to retrofit any automobile and make it safer on the highways,” he added. “I actually, actually consider that we are going to save lives, if we already haven’t.”

The corporate says it already has 150 screens dwell in Atlanta, Boulder, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, with plans to launch screens in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. in March.