10 Dec 18

Firefly, digital and smart advertising

What if drivers of ride hailing and taxi services could generate extra income without having to do much more than… driving around? The startup Firefly launched the answer with a big bang of $21.5 million funding. 

Through digital advertising, the San Francisco-based startup Firefly allows rideshare drivers to make more money while performing their job. Driving around with advertising on a taxi may already be applied frequently, the novelty of Firefly is making this advertising digital and smart. 

Digital and smart

By using digital smart screens, the display can be used for targeted, geofenced campaigns so advertising can be adapted to the audience in the operation area of the vehicles, optimising its effectiveness. However, Firefly is not going to let just any kind of advertising be run on its smart displays. Its ‘strict’ advertising policies will prohibit ads for tobacco, cannabis companies, and strip clubs among others. The company is also keen to work together with companies who even never advertised outdoors before, extending the market.

Extra wage

Besides attracting other advertisers, one of the main goals of Firefly is actually to allow drivers for ride-hailing services to make more money, which could be about an additional $300 per month. The driver will be paid a flat fee if he meets a certain threshold for hours on the road. However, Firefly states it is looking to maximise the revenue that it shares with the drivers. Firefly does not have an exclusive contract with any ride-hailing company and drivers of most ride-hailing services are free to sign up with Firefly.

Smart City

Firefly’s ambitions go even further. By collecting and sharing data with local governments and non-profits, the smart digital displays should become ‘the foundation for a smart city data network’. The company already has been sharing air quality data with the Coalition for Clean Air.
Hence, Firefly’s digital and smart advertising system could not only serve the driver but also the city. Its seed funding of $21.5 million demonstrates that various parties see a lot of potential in this idea. 


Authored by: Fien Van den steen