By Greg Avery, Denver Business Journal
A Denver ad tech entrepreneur who racked up accolades and fast growth at his first startup is at it again.
Jeremy Ostermiller, founder and ex-CEO of Denver-based Altitude Digital, has been named CEO of Edison Interactive, a Denver company aiming to put hundreds of thousands of internet-connected video displays for advertising in taxi cabs and ride-sharing vehicles.
“Our goal is to be in all the U.S. Ubers, Lyfts and taxis,” Ostermiller said, adding that by the end of the year it should have thousands of screens being used in cars internationally, too.
The company has 30 employees, 15 of whom work out of its north Denver headquarters; the rest work internationally.
Edison Interactive also named Ron Singh, former managing director of Silicon Valley Bank, to be its CFO.The company started in Australia 12 years ago making traditional video displays installed in the back of the headrests of a taxi’s front seats. It opened Denver offices in 2013 as it established itself in the United States.
Ostermiller has been working with Edison Interactive in recent months to develop displays connected to mobile broadband and software capable of delivering video ads targeted to passengers based on their apparent age and gender, and the vehicle’s location. The displays serve as Wi-Fi connections for cab passengers and have charging ports for their mobile phones.
Edison Interactive has its new screens going into 5,000 taxi cabs now and is expanding that number to 20,000 — including Metro Taxi and Yellow Cab taxis in Denver next month — after raising venture capital investment to fuel its growth.
Edison Interactive has 900 of its screens in Uber Technologies Inc.’s ride-share vehicles in South Africa, Ostermiller said. Later this year, the screens should be in thousands more Uber vehicles elsewhere on the African continent and start appearing London Ubers as well, Ostermiller said.
Edison Interactive will split revenue from advertisers with the vehicle owner and, in the case of ride-sharing, the ride-sharing software company.
Ostermiller, a former print advertising manager, started Altitude Digital with just $500 in 2009. The company serves ads around online digital videos, connecting advertisers and publishers through third-party ad exchanges.
The company grew to employ dozens, and Ostermiller won recognition as one of the Rocky Mountain region’s most acclaimed young tech entrepreneurs, being named Ernst & Young’s entrepreneur of the year for 2015 and being named to the Denver Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list.
Ostermiller left Altitude Digital last fall, though he remains a board member and shareholder in the company.
He first became aware of Edison Interactive while at Altitude Digital, he said. He became impressed with the size of opportunity taxi and ride-sharing vehicle advertising could be internationally, he said.
He approached Singh, believing he would be able to tap financial resources Edison Interactive would need to grow quickly, Ostermiller said.
“I brought him this idea, and he loved it,” Ostermiller said. The company isn’t disclosing how much venture capital it has raised from backers GKG Investments and Vinyl Capital.
Ostermiller said the round was “significant” and is likely to be followed quickly this year by a bigger round to fund Edison Interactive installing screens in hundreds of thousands of vehicles.