Friday, September 7, 2007

Displaypoints – Digital Advertising comes to the Restaurant Table

Last spring, the Central Texas Angel Network sponsored a funding event in conjunction with the Acton Angel Network. Five entrepreneurs from Acton’s faculty/alumni/student body presented their business plans. One of the top presenters was Greg Fitzgerald of Displaypoints which is a digital advertising company that uses a 7-inch digital display (similar to a tablet) to bring advertisements to the customer. Compared to billboard advertising, the table top display can be customized to the target audience with greater frequency and relevancy.

Greg and his team are targeting the fast-casual and casual dining restaurant chains first, throughout the state of Texas. You can see their displays at Iron Cactus, Bennigan's, Austin's Pizza, Cane & Abel's, and Mangia Pizza.

Interest in advertising on the Displaypoints system appears to be strong. The US Army is going to start advertising through Displaypoints’ system for recruiting. The Displaypoint system allows them to target their demographic with laser-like precision. Now that the Army signs up then the other US military forces will soon follow. MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) will run a ad campaign showing the effects of excessive drinking. In tests at Bennigan’s, Greg talked about how their point of sale advertising can measurably change the buying habits of the customers.

The biggest surprise is how restaurants are challenged with high turnover and how much time and cost they invest into training their staff. The Displaypoints system can help offload the wait staff by handling the specials the restaurant offers each day.

Best regards,
Hall T.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Demand Fitness - Fitness through the web

I had the opportunity to meet Mike Salas who previously worked at PMC-Sierra and Britestream. He started an online fitness site called Demand Fitness. The site provides over 200 online training videos streamed through the web to subscribers who want to improve their workout routine but without a trainer. Often times the user is someone working out at home. I asked about the need for equipment, but it appears that most of the courses do not require machines or weights. The courses tend to emphasize yoga, pilates, and aerobics. Most gyms offer training courses targeted at the mainstream, but the use of the web allows Mike to reach the “long tail” of the market and provide training to expectant mothers, those with limited mobility, and other niche areas. There’s also an online “tracker” that tracks the subscribers goals and progress status.

Demand Fitness went live last year and now has a growing subscription base with fees around $15/month. Mike is seeking to expand into the corporate fitness center market and to provide “branded” training courses with a company’s logo and backdrop. With only two people he’s able to create a growing business with a sustainable model.

Best regards,
Hall T.