Sure, the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.
In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. Read our round-up of Dallas’s rising startups from last quarter here.
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By now, people expect to be exposed to targeted ads while browsing platforms like Facebook or Google. While routes like this may be the default way for marketers to contact their primary audience, a Dallas-based startup is switching things up. On Touch Go helps advertisers reach relevant consumers while they’re on the road.
The company developed a solution that turns rideshare trips into a delivery platform for location-based ads. While riding in the back seat, passengers can catch sight of a screen that displays ads from local businesses based on factors like their trip location and the current time of day.
Its solution helps businesses garner brand awareness, mobile engagement and store visitation. For instance, if the Dallas Mavericks are having a game, they could go to On Touch Go and schedule an ad campaign that’s geo-fenced within the Victory Park area. So anyone ordering an Uber or Lyft in that area would see the ad for the game on their ride’s screen. From there, the consumer can scan a QR code to purchase tickets and make their way to the American Airlines Center.
“It works so well to the point that a lot of times, we’ve even heard and seen passengers in the same trip change their trip destination to go to that advertiser,” CEO and founder Bo Sijuade, told Built In. “So in terms of just content, it is eye-catching ... but it doesn’t really fall into the line of the typical advertisement formatting you’ve seen. It’s more just trying to influence you to do something that’s local.”
Sijuade came up with the idea for On Touch Go based on his experience living in both Uptown and downtown Dallas and frequently using Uber and Lyft. One day when he and some colleagues visited a bar for happy hour and found the place to be nearly empty, Sijuade considered how convenient it would be if their Uber could have recommended a place to go. When one of his colleagues mentioned seeing a TV in a taxi while traveling in New York, Sijuade knew there was potential to leverage a tablet as a way to provide media content to passengers.
“It works so well to the point that a lot of times, we’ve even heard and seen passengers in the same trip change their trip destination to go to that advertiser.”
On Touch Go provides rideshare drivers with a free tablet to put in their vehicles so that localized ads can reach captive audiences. As On Touch Go benefits from the brands paying to advertise through its platform, the rideshare driver benefits from additional monthly income for each ad that is shown. For businesses, the platform offers measurement tools to show how successful the ad campaigns actually are.
Methods like billboards or taxi cab ads tend to be very expensive, according to Sijuade. On Touch Go, on the other hand, aims to make it more affordable for businesses of any size to tap into the benefits of outdoor advertising.
“There are estimated to be between 3 to 4 million gig economy drivers in the rideshare space. Roughly one-third of the consumer base of the U.S. engages in rideshare,” Sijuade said. “A large percentage of the U.S. base is going to be exposed, potentially, to On Touch Go on a monthly, maybe even daily basis depending on how much [they’re] using rideshare. So the ability to influence commerce and influence consumer behavior is something we’re very interested in and excited for.”
The concept of rideshare advertising has been picking up pace recently. T-Mobile announced its acquisition of a rideshare advertising company at the beginning of this year. As businesses continue to jump on this bandwagon, Sijuade predicts that in about three years, rideshare passengers will likely encounter a screen in their ride more often than not.
Since its start in 2019, On Touch Go has worked with about 200 advertisers in the Dallas area, including Hyatt Regency and Klyde Warren Park. In Q4 this year, the startup plans to roll its solution out to 24 markets, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Seattle and Phoenix.