Crowdfunding Campaign Lets You Invest in Transforming Vacant Storefronts
Vacant storefronts are everywhere. Churn in the real estate market means there will always be a number of vacant properties. These vacant...
Vacant storefronts are rampant throughout the U.S. Regulatory restrictions actually prohibit landlords from reducing rents far enough so these vacancies persist for on average 18-24 months, costing the industry $9.2bn in revenue annually.
It's difficult to measure how effective traditional advertising really is. And today, brands are rushing to digital marketing, causing it to become overcrowded and expensive. As a result, ad buyers are unconfident in existing advertising channels and how much to spend on them.
Each storefront powered with our technology captures foot traffic, demographics and even sentiment. With our technology, brands can even tell if viewers are smiling or sad, exposing invaluable data and insights.
We are delivering eye level media and metrics that matter through a vast medium that has literally been hiding in plain sight – until now.
*As estimated by company.
We are working with the best brands in the world and the biggest names in real estate. We’re currently active in NY and LA and we are on the fast track to growing to 4 markets by the end of 2019 and then growing to 10 markets by the end of 2020.
“We tapped VisuWall for our New York Fashion Week out of home branding campaign because of the innovative technology and analytics as well as their thoughtful use of vacant storefronts. The end results delivered on all levels.”
- Mark Beckham, Council of Fashion Designers of America (NYC)
VisuWall is brand category agnostic and can support most brand categories with strategic support. Our successes include brands in the following categories: consumer products, fashion, retail, e-commerce, technology, and entertainment. In our purview, we will ramp to include spirits, automotive, finance, government elections tentpole event activity and more.
Pricing for each window is set by an algorithm informed by location, visibility, size plus attributes set by a host of variables common in media.
VisuWall's focus is on the advertisers who account for 60% of the $8.4bn market including media, retailers, consumer products and fashion & beauty.
Our strategy is to integrate and streamline the processes of buying traditional outdoor and the rising trend of buying programmatic outdoor and the same categories mentioned above account for $49.5bn in digital spending annually.
VisuWall has raised $550,000 pre-seed round from XRC Labs, New Age Capital, and private angels.
Our version 1 was a success: we’ve collected valuable customer feedback and implemented it in to version 2 due to launch next year. We will utilize funds to hire sales teams, and technology lead, so that we can speed the development of the VisuWall product and accelerate our growth (sales) in 2019.
Kobi has 18 plus years marketing and advertising experience. A former music industry executive, Kobi has worked with brands to create strategies that make cool and meaningful connections with consumers for national and global initiatives. She has produced consumer experiences, brand strategies, content and media plans for the likes of Nike, Spotify, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Cîroc Vodka, Google, JetBlue and a host of others. Prior to VisuWall, Kobi was the SVP of Strategy and Creative for Combs Enterprises where she led strategy for the chairman's portfolio of brands.
Kevin Tung, Co-Founder & Partner, has enjoyed two exits and is now an angel investor and partner at Interplay. His operational prowess informs VisuWall’s path to growth.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know VisuWall. We hope you'll join us on our journey!
The smallest investment amount that VisuWall is accepting.
VisuWall needs to reach their minimum funding goal before
the deadline. If they don’t, all investments will be refunded.
The Crowd SAFE is an agreement for future equity in the startup,
meaning that it can convert to equity in the future.
The Crowd SAFE is an agreement for future equity in the startup, meaning that it can convert to equity in the future.
$25,000 – $1,070,000
VisuWall needs to raise
before the deadline. The maximum amount VisuWall is willing
to raise is $1.07M.
We are using Republic's Crowd SAFE security. Learn how this translates into a return on investment here.
Jesse Draper: ... That's two, so what do you think? Should we bring on our first entrepreneur?
Andy Tang: Sounds great.
Jesse Draper: But first, let's take a look behind the scenes.
Kobi Wu: My name is Kobi Wu. I am the founder and CEO of Visuwall Technologies. Visuwall, in its simplest form, is a marketplace to put advertising in the window. Visuwall started in B-School. I was at a competition, and we won. This idea, at the time, was just a marketplace, no technology behind it. The model itself has been doing what it's supposed to do, I think. We were able to build and make relationships with people, no problem.
Kobi Wu: The hard part kicks in when you don't have the money, and you don't have a team that's committed to the business because you're not paying them full-time. That was hard to figure out how to get people to buy into the dream. And after a while I started learning how to actually convey to people that this is something that you could be a part of, as well. You can create something for your family.
Kobi Wu: I think Jesse and I might have some stuff in common. She seems to be into girl power, and wanting to understand how we work and our need. I think she might have the most interest in Visuwall, or if not Visuwall, me.
Jesse Draper: Welcome to Meet the Drapers. Give us your pitch.
Kobi Wu: Thank you so much. My name is Kobi Wu, I'm the founder and CEO of Visuwall Technologies. The premise of Visuwall is very simple. What we do is we take vacant commercial real estate, as much as we can get our hot little hands on, create a supply of it, and then present an aggregate of this supply to advertisers, media buyers, brands, et cetera and say, "Hey, put an ad in it that looks like this." Behind this ad, we have a very simple sensor in the window, one like this, that looks outside and counts the number of people walking by. It tells you if there's many faces that are looking directly at you, how long they're looking, male/female breakdown, sentiment and even approximate age range.
Kobi Wu: The dashboard of analytics provides you with an easy and digestible outlook. You can take action and make decisions based on that, and that works for both advertisers and the property owners. To date, we've been making some decent traction across the last 18 months or so. We are looking at growing our supply in New York City and in Los Angeles. We're gonna look at a third market in the next few months to start presenting that to advertisers, and, that's about it.
Tim Draper: So, this is between the time that somebody leaves the space and the time that somebody else leases the space. You try to grab that window.
Kobi Wu: Ideally.
Tim Draper: Now, the owner may want to put something in the window that says, for lease, right?
Kobi Wu: Correct. We will work within that space and give them a footprint if they desire, but typically, because we're paying them for that time, they're willing to take their broker information, either put it to the side or take it down for the 30, 60, 90 days that the ad is in window.
Jesse Draper: So the ad, is it a sticker ad and then that is embedded in it? Or is it a projection?
Kobi Wu: It is a sticker.
Jesse Draper: Okay.
Kobi Wu: We cut a little quarter-sized hole in it so that the eyeball can look right out. It's pretty invisible, and it's just peaking out and looking at it. It's a very simple installation process, plug it in and go.
Tim Draper: And these are best in big urban settings?
Kobi Wu: Ideally, yeah. We're finding a lot of interest with some mall owners, which are a different model for us in terms of physical logistics because it's a mall. It's strictly pedestrian, not also street traffic. But, it's also very interesting to us because it helps those property owners actually understand how many people are entering the space, how many people are dwelling in certain areas more frequently than maybe others. And it gives you a lot of insights on maybe even what kind of occupants might do best in that space.
Tim Draper: This becomes cyclical over time, because if you fill all that space and it's a big boom time and all these spaces are completely filled, then you have no inventory. Then when it falls apart, you have all the inventory.
Kobi Wu: That's a funny conundrum, but, it's actually over the past decade or so, there's always been about a 10% vacancy rate across the country. Right now, we're seeing in incline to 14% because retail, it tends to be declining at the moment. Visuwall helps to offset that downtime and it'll really help property owners maintain some sort of income while this is changing.
Andy Tang: What's the scale of this income for the owner? Does it move the needle for the ...
Kobi Wu: It can. It could be something as simple that we offset their property taxes for the year, if it's a very popular location. We can make that 10 times over, especially if it's a very high profile location like say something like Times Square. That place is gonna be empty for 15, 18, maybe even 24 months and in places like New York City where I'm from, a lot of vacancies are open for 36 months. That's a long time to not be making any revenue.
Tim Draper: What's your split? How does this ...
Kobi Wu: Not 50/50. We're getting away with 60 ... Up to 35% to the landlords.
Tim Draper: And then how big's the market for all of this space? If you grabbed all the empty space, what would the market size be for everything?
Kobi Wu: In everything across the US, a good 92,000 locations. We could easily occupy $20,000 per location and that's on the low end. For larger windows, we charge incrementally by square foot. The total number, would be probably looking at 1.8 billion. Whoo hoo.
Tim Draper: That's good you're a good salesperson, because I think you've got to sell the landlord and you gotta sell the advertiser. People have to physically put these posters up.
Kobi Wu: They do, and that's the easy part.
Tim Draper: Does the landlord do it?
Kobi Wu: No, the landlords don't have to do anything. They just have to say yes.
Tim Draper: Say yes, get money?
Kobi Wu: Correct.
Tim Draper: Yeah.
Q Motiwala: How much revenue did you say you were making annually?
Kobi Wu: We've only been around for about 18 months.
Q Motiwala: Okay.
Kobi Wu: In our first six months we made about 250. We're looking at about three to 500 in the next three months.
Q Motiwala: Okay.
Kobi Wu: So that we will be able to claim a million dollars at the end of the year, knock on wood.
Tim Draper: Now, why raise money at all? It looks like you got an interesting, nice-
Kobi Wu: Thank you.
Tim Draper: ... cottage business going, and it probably doesn't need a lot of capital. Why bring on an investor who gives you pains and makes your life miserable?
Kobi Wu: Well, here's the deal ...
Tim Draper: [crosstalk 00:10:37] when you've got this great thing.
Kobi Wu: Yeah, it does, yeah. But this is why I'm raising money. It's because of this little piece right here. When I can bring in data, this data becomes interesting market research information. I can flip this and provide insights to different business industries, and I want to grow this component.
Tim Draper: Terrific. Well, thank you so much for coming to Meet the Drapers.
Jesse Draper: Thank you.
Kobi Wu: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
Jesse Draper: Thanks for the time.
Kobi Wu: It was nice to meet you. This is cool.
Andy Tang: Thank you.
Q Motiwala: Thank you.
Speaker 15: Congratulations.
Kobi Wu: I think it went really well. All of the judges were very engaged the entire time, asking tons of questions, even kind of interrupting me a little bit here and there, which I always find is a good sign. Seasoned folks like the Drapers, they're gonna ask questions that they know are gonna make the business go, or the challenges or pitfalls that I might face. And I feel like I answered them effectively to the point where they are like, "Okay, she's got some chutzpah. She knows how to make this go a little bit." I don't wanna get too cocky but I think it went well enough.
Kobi Wu: Visuwall is at a stage now where we're ramping our product development, and what we wanna do is really create an aggregate of data that can then be resold and can grow our business beyond just the point of entry today, which is the marketplace and licensing the windows for advertisers. What we're really doing is creating the data, and if you wanna be a part of our team, invest in Visuwall's campaign on Republic.
Speaker 1: (silence)
Jesse Draper: So, what did we all think? What did you think, Q?
Q Motiwala: This looks really good. I think, instead of thinking of windows just in the malls, I'd like to think of windows of Uber drivers in the taxis and things that could be really big. But, not sure if this is for the VC model.
Jesse Draper: I feel the exact same way. I wasn't sure if this was a VC investment. She's dealing with marketing dollars, it is a pretty cash-heavy business. I feel like she could sell a lot and be able to fund the company based upon that pretty quickly.
Andy Tang: I liked the idea of a problem looking for a solution versus investing in a sexy solution looking for a problem. I find that once you can get the revenue, the cash, she could probably find the right tech talent to implement. The idea of that little camera and data is pretty interesting. So, yes, as is, it's probably not a venture backable model. It's an interesting prospect for a year from there, I think.
Tim Draper: I really liked her.
Jesse Draper: Me, too.
Tim Draper: I thought she really had something, that strength and intelligence and drive. And, a lot of companies have done really well with alternative ways to advertise.
Andy Tang: Focus Media?
Tim Draper: Focus Media in China was just putting these little TV screens in elevators. It's now worth 10 or $20 billion, I think. And, it's probably good for a crowdfund, because as a venture model, it's a tough one, because you're saying there are no barriers to entry. It's an ad model that's kind of odd. This is a tough way to run a business, but if it starts working it's gonna be pretty big.
Jesse Draper: Okay, well, should we vote?
Tim Draper: I think we need to go to the Visuwall ... First you go to the crystal ball and you just see what the crystal ball sends you.
Jesse Draper: What is it sending you?
Tim Draper: So you got the energy and then you go, "Okay, I got it." Ooh, tough [crosstalk 00:14:16].
Jesse Draper: Okay, should we vote?
Tim Draper: Yeah, absolutely.
Jesse Draper: So, here's how we vote. We do thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs all around and then you go up or down or middle, or whatever you're feeling. Would you invest in this company?
Tim Draper: Visuwall, thumbs up ...
Jesse Draper: Visuwall, thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs all around.
Tim Draper: ... thumbs down, thumbs all around.
Jesse Draper: I liked her.
Tim Draper: I was the most optimistic here.
Jesse Draper: Wow.
Tim Draper: That is really interesting. This is like a two-thirds, three-quarters, [crosstalk 00:14:41]. .7 range.
Jesse Draper: This is up to you. We can vote. You see how we feel, but how do you feel about Visuwall? Do you wanna own a piece of this amazing business? You can invest $10, $1,000. Or you could just vote and support them.
Jesse Draper: Go to meetthedrapers.com. But first, let's take a look at what's happening behind the scenes.
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