Mac Nagaswami has moxie.
The 24-year-old Carvertise founder and Wilmington resident injects his methodically scrappy affability into every inch of his business. All you have to do is look at the photo for Carvertise’s News Journal profile to realize Nagaswami means business (he managed to convince Downtown Visions to cut off an entire city block on Market Street at 12:30 in the afternoon).
He’s an entrepreneur — arguably one of Wilmington’s most promising — but at the heart of it all, Nagaswami straight-up knows how to sell.
It’s not entirely surprising, then, that Nagaswami managed to lasso three of Delaware’s top investors into Carvertise: Labware Inc. founder and Leading Edge Ventures VC Vance Kershner, real estate developers Chris and Rob Buccini and the increasingly ubiquitous Paul McConnell.
Kershner came onboard after hearing about Carvertise through Mike Bowman of the Delaware Small Business and Technology Development Center.
“I think what we are working on really clicked with him,” said Nagaswami. “He saw the vision and what we are going towards and wanted to be an integral part of helping build the company.”
Chris Buccini, on the other hand, was sold on Nagaswami without even hearing a pitch.
“I’m getting my pitch deck ready and Chris said, ‘Mac, put that away. I want to hear more about you, first,'” said Nagaswami. “I let him know where I was living, on Adams Street. He was taken aback because it’s not exactly Trolley Square. That’s how we initially connected on a deeper level.”
As for Paul McConnell? Meeting with him was a little easier after Carvertise made the move from coIN Loft to 1313 Innovation.
“We wanted to get more heavily involved in that network that hovers around 1313 Innovation,” said Nagaswami. “We decided to join 1313 Innovation in addition to continue being members of Start It Up Delaware. It wasn’t an either/or situation.”
Nagaswami said McConnell up and left about halfway through the pitch.
“There were a couple other people in the room, so I kept on going. I wiped it off, I know he’s extremely busy,” he said.
McConnell came back into the room ten minutes later. This time, accompanied by his lawyer.
“He said [to his lawyer], ‘Sit down with Mac and let’s work out a deal to get them some funding.’ We came to a verbal agreement on funding right then and there,” Nagaswami said. “When Paul sees something he likes, he goes for it.”
What will Carvertise do with their new funds? Nagaswami said he’s entirely focused on investing in sales and building out necessary technologies — aka, the impression calculating algorithm that makes the company so appealing to both advertisers and investors.
Here’s how it works.
When Carvertise gets a fleet of ad-slathered cars on the road, it collects the GPS data on where the cars are traveling. The company then overlays the GPS data on top of a traffic-engineering algorithm, which looks at the traffic volume on the road, the time of day, pedestrian volume, how fast the car was traveling on that road, etc. From there, Carvertise is able to get an accurate count of how many people were exposed to its rolling advertisements.
“A key part of the use of the proceeds was investing in the science, the math part of the company to give our advertisers an accurate count on how many people are exposed to the cars,” Nagaswami said. “It’s all about impressions. This is how we verify the service we’re providing.”
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