Raleigh AdTech startup flourishes

Dan Dillon, CMO, Reveal Mobile

Raleigh, North Carolina-based marketing company Reveal Mobile is on a roll. It is using geofencing to help companies reach the audiences they want to target. We spoke to Dan Dillon, CMO at Reveal Mobile, about the company and its plans for the future.

How did the company begin?

Dillon: In 2015, we started out by working on mobile apps for local media companies and broadcaster groups. We would go to a broadcaster group that owns 50 stations across the northeastern U.S. and help them monetize their mobile app through advertising.

During that process, we saw the first-party audience data they were gathering. We realized there was greater value in building location-based audiences. There was a high demand for audiences based on physical location. So over time, we built a platform that enables advertisers or marketers to target audiences based on places they have shopped. For instance, Kroger might want to advertise to you because they want you to come back to shop. Or, Trader Joe’s might want to advertise because they want to take you away from Kroger, whatever the case might be.

How do companies reach out?

Dillon: In theory, a company would come to us and say, ‘We want to use your platform because we want to target all of the customers at Company X.’ They may also want to know how many people in that audience came to their company as a result of their ad spend. Our software platform lets you see during a certain period of time how many people are showing up at their place from those ads. It’s a neat way to prove a return on investment.

Our product, VISIT Local, helps companies eliminate wasted ad spend. It also helps retailers win market share by efficiently targeting competitors’ customers. Lastly, it helps businesses grow by giving them customer acquisition tools and a unique competitive advantage.

What about Raleigh makes it a great city for this company?

Dillon: Raleigh and the greater Triangle region are home to some of the best and brightest software engineers in the country. The region also affords a terrific quality of life. We have easy access to the beach and to the mountains. Raleigh is also frequently cited as a great place to live, thanks to its affordability, vibrant job market and diverse industrial base. It was recently named no. 2 on U.S. News‘ list of the 25 best places to live in the U.S.

Raleigh is in the upper tier of cities that are really ripe for startup incubation and technology growth. We’re home to Duke University, North Carolina State, UNC-Chapel Hill and a lot of other universities in the area. There’s a ton of programming talent here. These are really great schools that churn out a lot of really smart folks.

Of course, the pandemic highlighted the distributed workforce, so we hire from everywhere. There might be a great developer in Ohio or in Rhode Island or even Columbia, South America. It doesn’t matter necessarily where people are [located], so much as what they can do.

There’s also a good amount of venture capital (VC) money moving to the area. It has all the ingredients.

What are the plans for the company moving forward?

Dillon: For one thing, we have just acquired Mira, an out-of-home (OOH) focused location intelligence company based in New York City. The OOH market is projected to grow 14.5% this year, while digital OOH is expected to grow 19.2%. This acquisition creates the first ad tech SaaS platform to provide attribution reports for online-to-offline, offline-to-online and offline-to-offline marketing campaigns. Jonathan Frangakis will serve as Reveal Mobile’s chief commercial officer. Gabe Frangakis joins as chief technology officer. All Reveal Mobile and Mira employees are being retained as part of the acquisition.

The first new customer of our expanded company is Lyft. It plans to use Reveal Mobile and Mira technology to enable a full suite of attribution and measurement products for vehicles equipped with Lyft’s rooftop digital screens. The solution will enable these vehicles to become fully measurable OOH ad units.

While 2020 was a challenging year for digital marketing and paid media teams, we brought on more than 100 new customers. The company’s new monthly recurring revenue from its geofencing marketing and attribution product, VISIT Local, grew 75% during the year. We see tremendous value in the OOH market.