Local startup driving brands

By Rana Fayez
Staff writer

A recent University of Delaware graduate founded a start-up with one simple mission:  Help people make money during their daily commute while giving brands more exposure.

“What we are is a platform, connecting companies to everyday car drivers that are on the road who are willing to put an advertisement on their car for the sponsoring company,” said company founder, Mac Nagaswami.

Carvertise2
Photo by Will Webber
Business partner Greg Star at the 2014 Delaware Network Station event

The company was previously known as PenguinAds when it won a contest sponsored by a local company, HostMySite. It won $10,000 worth of free cloud hosting, which waived a good portion of the overhead.  The company changed its name to Carvertise in 2012.

Two signage companies have considered similar business ideas over the past couple of years, one in Canada and another in the United Kingdom, but neither has seen much success.

The company’s business model has some key advantages: It approaches operations from an advertising sales standpoint by contracting out signage operations. The result is overhead savings for car wrapping equipment.

In addition, individuals have the freedom of going about their daily activities while brands get exposure at schools, private residences and other locations where billboard advertising is not usually prevalent. However, drivers are forbidden from parking or driving in any locations where a brand’s name may be tarnished.

Drivers must consent to a GPS unit installed in their vehicles, which syncs with the company’s traffic software. The information gathered is used to create reports for advertisers to evaluate the success of the campaign.

Carvertise pays for the wrapping and unwrapping of the car – a process that takes only 20 minutes. The company currently has over 1,000 drivers on the road. Drivers must be at least 18 years of age, with active insurance and a clean driving record.

Drivers are paid a flat fee of $100, while client prices fluctuate according the driver’s route. The client is then billed with the corresponding rate.

Business partner Greg Star joined the company early Fall 2012 after he saw Mac’s presentation. They met up and decided it would make sense for them to work together.

“Mac presented the concept and this seemed like the next logical step in outdoor advertising,” said Star.

There will be 50 Carvertise vehicles on the road by the end of October.

Currently, Mac does not see his company going national and would like to focus on the local Delaware market. But he said since the company  is so young, there is no way to tell if he will in the future.  

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