As the commercial says, everybody needs a side hustle these days, and a Las Vegas-based startup is giving people an opportunity to get a side hustle off their side hustle.
Currently in beta, Comped Marketing is an artificial intelligence marketing application that allows Uber and Lyft drivers the opportunity to earn revenue by hosting televised ads in their vehicles. Powered by Sprint, the televisions are placed in vehicles at no cost to the drivers.
Founder Ryan Miyaki said he and fellow owners Donoven Martinez, Mark Hackmann, and Joseph Bryant knew a good opportunity when they saw one. Comped Marketing began as a package delivery service, but while conducting their due diligence they heard from drivers looking for additional revenue streams. That experience, combined with conversations at industry conferences and the rise of ridesharing, made the pivot a logical one.
The ads you see depend on who you are, Mr. Miyaki said. Once a passenger is seated in front of a monitor, the technology starts identifying factors such as their age and gender and then produces an ad based on them. The viewer’s reaction is assessed, with the data compiled in a backend portal managed by IBM’s Watson, a self-learning AI platform that becomes more accurate as it absorbs more information.
The concept is an attractive one, and the business community agrees. Within six months of the quartet joining forces they secured a spot at Collision 2017, a conference where startups showcase themselves to potential investors. Comped Marketing is also part of IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program, which is how they gained access to Watson. Several conference appearances are scheduled, and a date on Shark Tank looms.
If you like it so far, just wait, Mr. Bryant said. Comped Marketing hopes to employ gamification that allows riders to build up points as they interact with the ads. A referral program where drivers can bring in advertisers and vehicle wraps are also in the works.
One certainty is how drivers are paid, Mr. Hackmann said.
“We pay the driver on a per head, per car basis, so they know exactly what to expect. We were trying to make it driver friendly.”
Drivers can also choose which ads are shown and not shown in their vehicles, Comped Marketing will not air ads with political, religious or other potentially contentious content.
Count Comped Marketing among the new wave of companies seeking to deliver added value by employing AI and other technologies to increase the relevancy of every touchpoint.
“We’re bringing an entirely new form of advertising,” Mr. Miyaki said.
Comped Marketing is currently available in Las Vegas, with expansion to Los Angeles and San Diego coming soon.