We talked to Bo Sijuade of Oyster about the digital media platform and COVID-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Bo Sijuade: Happy to report our families are well and in good health. We want to extend our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to anyone who’s lost a loved one during this pandemic.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Oyster.
Bo Sijuade: Fermin Morales (Co-Founder) and Bo Sijuade (Co-Founder) are former Solera (a Vista-Equity Partners Company) Alumni. Because we both live downtown, we always Ridehail to get around. We realized there was a market opportunity if our driver could recommend places to go on any given day or time, and thus our company was formed. Traditionally we’ve all have seen screens in the back of Taxicabs, but those screens tend to play generic national branding that brings no real-time value to the passenger in the backseat. Oyster is an upgrade to an archaic form of media and connects retailers within close proximity (street-level) to an active audience within mobility. Our mission is to help our clients make the city their billboard.
How does Oyster innovate?
Bo Sijuade: Every day, we’re analyzing real-time data to better understand how audiences are engaging with media within mobility and translating that into actionable insight for our clients, partners, and industry. Through campaign performance and real-time analytics, we then develop new product features for our platform that enhances the experience for both the audience and advertiser.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Bo Sijuade: COVID-19 uniquely accelerated certain aspects of our business, but certainly decelerated the brick-and-mortar segment of our customer base with being classified as “essential” or “non-essential” and some being forced to shut down temporarily to prevent the spread of COVID.
Secondly, we had to take precautionary and necessary measures to ensure both driver and passenger safety.
1. We’ve disabled touch-screen abilities on our screens.
2. Both drivers and passengers are required to wear masks.
3. We spray each screen with a hydrogen-peroxide based cleaning agent and perform routine inspections of our vehicles.
4. We’ve promoted COVID-19 testing on-screen through collaborations with agencies like Le’ Social.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Oyster in the future?
Bo Sijuade: With a simple motivational illustration I came across social media, “do you have a problem (yes), can you do something about it (yes or no), then don’t worry about it.
The future is always uncertain. Currently, we’re focused on specific industry challenges that we believe will shape the future of our company:
1. Stimulating commerce for retailers/consumer products within hyperlocal markets.
2. Tracing customer journeys (A-Z) from media exposure to the transaction at point-of-sale.
3. Influencing and standardizing best practices when it comes to Digital-Out-Of-Home media.
4. Making sure companies of all shapes/sizes have access to the necessary resources in order to build and execute meaningful campaigns.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Bo Sijuade: There’s certainly a number of different players within our niche / vertical which is capturing the attention of audiences on the go through mobility and media. For example, within the last few years, there’s been $20M+ of venture capital injected into the smart screen in-rideshare model and $75M+ with car roof-top advertising. We feel confident in our future outlook if we stay the course of being data-centric and putting customers first, the rest will take care of itself.
Your final thoughts?
Bo Sijuade: We thank you for your time and appreciate the opportunity to tell the Startup Info community about Oyster. If you’re a stakeholder in the media/advertising space and want to learn more about how we can collaborate, please contact us: [email protected]