The rideshare entertainment startup Octopus Interactive has raised $10.3 million funding round led by Sinclair Digital Group. In one year, the startup has drawn huge popularity by bringing interactive entertainment and ad experience into Uber and Lyft rides.
Bringing advertising, gaming, and transportation in one plate, Octopus helps three communities: drivers, brands, and riders. The backseat ad plus entertainment is well-accepted in New York City since its inception itself. Currently, Octopus is playing in four major cities in the US: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Over 3 million people per month use Octopus across 10,000 screens in markets.
Launched in 2018, the startups provide the rideshare drivers with a back seat tablet. It plays brilliant, entertaining, and interactive videos with ads of different brands. The video games do two functions: marketing the brand and entertaining the rider. The 13-minute video helps riders get gifts by winning the games. If riders are not happy with the video, they can turn it off.
The effect of this new way of marketing is incredible as it provides an engaging and entertaining time to the riders while traveling. It helps the brand reach millions of users with unparalleled engagement. According to Octopus, it is getting over 500,000 touches per day, and it brings more engagement to the brands than other publishing platforms. Brands are allowed to change the content, content duration, and the context of playing.
Similarly, the game-ad video brings a better rating for Uber and Lyft drivers by providing entertainment and earning to the riders. It helps drivers get extra tips up to $100 per month.
“What we see here is an untapped medium with a truly captive audience that is buckled in and looking to engage,” said Sinclair Executive Chairman David Smith in a statement. “We invested in Octopus because the team has successfully created an innovative and differentiated branding opportunity that we can help scale further.”
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