StartUp Wants To Make ‘Dumb’ Outdoor Displays Smarter

StartUp Wants To Make ‘Dumb’ Outdoor Displays Smarter

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The billboards are going to know you're watching them.


Those electronic billboards that adorn highways are dumb displays, and a new startup called Pecabu wants to smarten them up.

“Digital outdoor advertising is mostly really stupid,” CEO and founder Rob Smith told VentureBeat. “There’s no feedback, no results, no targeting, no metrics.”

“Online ads are murdering DOOH [the digital, out-of-home advertising market],” he added, because of online’s ability to target audiences and then have some idea of what works.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based Pecabu today announced the beta launch of three new products that intend to change how ads in the DOOH market are placed and priced. Also announced: Series A funding of $5.5 million.

“We’re trying to mimic the online model and move it to the outside world,” Smith said.

One of the company’s three new products, called CineGraph, is a smart DOOH advertising platformthat places targeted ads on outdoor electronic displays and detects viewers — even if they are whizzing by in their cars.

It matches that real-time assessment of viewers with data about area demographics, weather, geolocated user data, and other information to determine what kind of ad would be most effective on that particular billboard or other outdoor electronic display, such as at a bus stop.

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