At Ads For The Road, 2016 has been our year to succeed. The year’s achievements range from our first digital display going online and playing advertisements, to securing contracts to go nationwide in 2017. None of this came easy or without setbacks, but the team at Ads For The Road overcame every challenge and continued to push forward.

The first few months of this year were spent building our first set of Taxi Top Digital Displays. These displays were originally built in China, but because we wanted to offer a higher quality product, David and Dallas Dibkey re-engineered the signs and built them better here in America. These 10 new digital billboards were finally installed throughout the months of June and July on LoneStar cabs. We were thrilled the first time we saw one of our signs go by on top of a taxi right here in Austin, Texas!

The first few weeks after installation were spent working out programming errors in software we bought off the shelf, and we soon realized that we needed to build our own software in order to move towards our goal of being a cutting-edge, technology-driven company. Additionally, with the help of SCORE Austin and our mentor Bennet Neiman, we were able to focus our sales efforts more effectively and generate revenue. Having Bennet as a resource is invaluable and we still reach out to him when we hit a road block or need some advertising industry advice.

In the month of July, we entered the Austin tech community through a program called Bunker Labs Austin, an incubator for any veteran company who needed guidance. Their resources and knowledge helped us along our path in the technology space. We also got involved with another program called Patriot Boot Camp hosted by TechStars, which is a three-day intensive course for veteran entrepreneurs. Words cannot express the amazing things these two organizations are doing for our nation’s veterans. Steve Meyer also became a mentor for Ads For The Road and has contributed greatly to our growth and success.

Within the same month, Justin was featured in a 512tech article where he shared our story and highlighted the struggle that veterans face when coming out of their service to our country and transitioning into a new stage of their lives. The article caught the attention of KVUE, and Justin was interviewed for their Tech Tuesday slot. The interview highlighted our mission to help veterans and the partnership we developed with Electronic Cab, another veteran-owned company. From the publicity of these interviews, we were able to secure contracts that positioned Ads For The Road as the largest digital billboard provider in the Austin area over the next few months.

September and October were the highest gross revenue months that we had so far, but it did not come without struggle. Sound on Sound Festival utilized the full range of our capabilities for their advertising campaign during ACL Fest. A week before ACL, one of our vendors had trouble meeting our deadlines, and because we were determined not to disappoint our client, we rolled up our sleeves and built five digital billboards in five days. It all came together for the opening day of ACL, and seeing our hard work pay off was incredible. Because our billboards could just walk past the vehicle blocks and straight to the festival gates, Sound on Sound’s ad campaign was able to make a huge impact. To top it all off, Ads For The Road was tapped as one of the “10 super promising new companies from Austin Startup Week 2016.”

As the number of signs started to grow, so did our need for more efficient software to manage advertising and monitor results. The team designed a new way to manage our content and track real-time views on an advertisement, but we needed a little help—well, a lot of help—in software development. That is why we applied to TechStars, one of the largest accelerators in the world. The process took all of November to complete and made us realize the tiger we had by the tail. Over 1,000 companies applied for just 10 slots in the Austin program. Ads For The Road made it to the final 30 companies, with help from our adviser, Steve Meyer, and we were able to give our pitch. Ultimately, we did not make it into the program but grew as a more focused and determined team.

As the year came to an end we welcomed Kristine Bryant as our Head of Marketing. Kristine is a driven and passionate professional with over 10 years’ experience as Director of Marketing for multiple companies, and we look forward to her work to help increase market share and revenue. Additionally, Ads For The Road brought Steve Meyer on as our CTO. With 30+ years of experience in developing emerging technologies, his knowledge will be critical in building the smart billboard solution that will challenge the industry norms. Remembering all that has happened in 2016 is an uplifting feeling. It seems like what we have accomplished should have taken years, but it was only five months ago that we spent six hours figuring out how to install our very first digital billboard under the hot Texas sun!

2017 will be the year we expand to additional cities, including St. Louis, San Diego, and Miami. We also plan to develop the smart billboard solution and bring it to market as the year progresses. The new year looks bright for Ads For The Road!

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