A Fishers-based tech company has closed on a major round of funding. Vibenomics, which provides what it calls the first out-of-home (OOH) advertising marketplace, says the $5 million in seed funding will be used to expand its network of businesses participating in the marketplace. The funding round included investments from Indianapolis venture studio High Alpha, as well as Elevate Ventures and the Ricker family, who previously owned the Ricker’s convenience store chain.
Vibenomics says its cloud-based technology and managed services enables location-based businesses and connected cities to create and control their background music to enhance sales and boost the customer experience. The recently-launched audio out-of-home advertising marketplace enables brands to reach a national audience at 4,000 locations.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Chief Executive Officer Brent Oakley said the goal is to be the pioneer of the audio OOH advertising space.
“In order to do that, it’s all about impressions and it’s all about network size,” said Oakley. “So this next round of funding will be (used) to take the company from about 4,000 locations across the United States today to roughly about 12,000 locations in the next 12-15 months.”
Oakley says the next phase of the Vibenomics platform involves owning and controlling a network with which major brands and advertisers want to get involved. He says the funding will also allow the company to integrate various agencies in the major cities in the U.S. to make it easier for them to buy time on the platform.
“When we started out, we wanted to make sure that every location-based business had their own radio station and that really meant, at a granular level, that a business like Ricker’s could brand themselves and talk about their own products in-store. What ended up happening is we were able to put so many locations and so many businesses on across the country that major brands that sold products in these spaces wanted to be able to participate.”
Ricker’s was one of Vibenomics’ first customers. Oakley says, when the Ricker family sold Ricker Oil Co. to Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle Inc. in late 2018, the Rickers were instrumental in helping Vibenomics reach a new deal to continue the service in the rebranded GetGo Cafe + Market locations throughout Indiana.
Oakley says having local investors has been key to the company’s growth.
“The support in Indiana has been amazing, not only from the people who have invested, but local customers such as Grand Park, Georgia Street, the Indianapolis Airport. There’s just been so many people that have come out and helped us get going. It’s those people that get you going in the early-going that matter.”
Vibenomics was founded in 2016 under its original name, Fuzic. The company secured its first major round of funding in March 2017, shortly after launching its platform. A few months later, the company announced plans to invest $3.7 million to expand in Fishers and create up to 255 jobs by 2020. Fuzic changed its name to Vibenomics a week later.
To date, Vibenomics has raised nearly $8.3 million in funding. Oakley adds the company plans to announce a Series A round of funding in early 2020.
Oakley says the goal is to be the pioneer of the audio OOH advertising space.