Founders of OverstockAds.com launch Savveo
The founders of OverstockAds.com, a portal of discounted advertising inventory, have formed Savveo, a new venture designed to transform the way local advertising is bought and sold.
An evolution of the OverstockAds.com experience, the Savveo website, when open to the public later this year, will serve as an online marketplace to bring efficiencies to the USD445bn local advertising market.
“Local advertising is one of the most effective ways for businesses to reach their prospective customers, but the way it’s done today is wildly inefficient and frustrating,” says Shafi Mustafa (pictured), chief executive of Savveo and founder of OverstockAds.com. “There are more than 34,000 local media outlets in the US, but would-be advertisers – whether businesses or ad agencies – don’t have anywhere to go for a single, consolidated view of the advertising outlets available to them, and they certainly don’t have a single place to go to buy and track advertising across those outlets. That’s the problem Savveo solves.”
A derivation of the word “savvy,” Savveo will provide users with actionable intelligence on a wide range of advertising inventory across channels, including out-of-home, print, radio and television.
While unveiling plans for the new venture, Mustafa also announced investors in a USD2m round of Series A funding, which will help accelerate Savveo’s development. Investors include Tim Biltz, chairman of Savveo’s board of directors and chief executive of Lumos Networks; Sayoko Teitelbaum, co-founder of Toura; Simon Clark, senior partner at Engine UK; David Jones, chief executive of Peak 10; and Baycrest Capital, along with a select group of US-based and international investors.
Complementing the roster of blue chip investors is a strong management team led by Mustafa, who was also previously a partner at SMMC Studios and a managing director at KEA Marketing & Advertising. Mustafa is joined by co-founder Steve Villa, who will serve as president of Savveo, and was previously chief executive of Muzak and chief financial officer of Frisby Technologies. Key engineering and operations personnel include start-up veterans hailing from companies including EMC, RSA, Terracotta and DataTools.
“The opportunity here is enormous,” says Villa. “In 2011, the total global expenditure on local advertising was almost USD450bn. In the US alone, it topped USD137bn. To date, no one has done the hard work to aggregate, categorise and productise that ad inventory – especially the offline ad inventory which accounts for 91 per cent of the spend. We believe the market will amply reward the first company that does so, and we intend for Savveo to be that company.”
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