Fishers tech firm Vibenomics raises $6M in growth capital

Fishers-based audio marketing technology company Vibenomics Inc. announced Tuesday it has closed on $6 million in  funding.

The funding round, which closed Feb. 17, was led by Atlanta-based BIP Capital and brings total venture and growth funding for Vibenomics to $13.5 million.

The most recent round, company officials said, will largely support the expansion of the firm’s business with convenience and grocery stores.

Vibenomics last fall launched an audio out-of-home advertising marketplace headed by former Emmis Communications executive Paul Brenner. The company began selling ad spots to national advertisers for audio commercials that are played across clients’ in-house controlled radio stations.

Founded as Fuzic in 2016, Vibenomics offers cloud-based services that allow retailers, restaurants, gyms and other clients to engage on-site customers with custom announcements and licensed-music playlists.

“Our team is pioneering programmatic audio [out-of-home] media and has emerged as a resounding success story of how a traditional ad medium committing to digital transformation can achieve significant growth in both revenue and share of ad spend,” Brent Oakley, co-founder and CEO of Vibenomics, said in a statement. “We will use this Series A investment to accelerate product development and scale go-to-market execution, building on the momentum we’ve already seen in only a short period of time.”

Vibenomics, which has 36 employees, reaches more than 100 brand advertisers in more than 4,000 locations across 48 states—reaching more than 150 million people, the company said.

Vibenomics “provides a vehicle for retailers to monetize their private, physical-location airwaves to transform a legacy expense into a new profit center,” Oakley said.

“Vibenomics is a fresh new way to reach shoppers at the point of making purchase decisions,” Paul Iaffaldano, chief investment officer at BIP Capita, said in a statement. “It has an amazing effect on both impulse items and brand preference within competitive categories.”

In addition to the funding, Vibenomics recently welcomed several new customers, including convenience store chain Kwik Trip and additional national retailers that will be announced in the second quarter of this year.

Kwik Trip has more than 720 stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. “That’s a big win for us,” Brenner said.

This funding round comes on the heels of Vibenomics $5 million seed round last November.

Before the company was rebranded as Vibenomics in 2017, it raised $280,000 from friends and family and $3 million in seed funding.

In October 2017, the company announced it would spend $3.7 million to build out a new 11,736-square-foot office in the Braden Building in Fishers’ Nickel Plate District. At that time, company officials also said the company would add 255 workers by the end of 2020. It’s not immediately clear what the current projections are.

Brenner told IBJ this week that Vibenomics continues to add employees. “In fact, we’re hiring this week,” he said.

Vibenomics has doubled its revenue each year since it launched, Brenner added, and is on course—despite the pandemic—to more than triple its revenue this year. “Business has been and continues to be very good for us,” he said.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. agreed to provide the company $3.35 in conditional tax credits and up to $145,000 in training grants based on the job-creation plans.

Vibenomics has collected about $33,000 in tax credits and $125,000 in training grants from the state incentive contract, according to the IEDC web site.

Vibenomics timing for its most recent round of fund raising was good, as angel investors and venture capitalists hit the brakes on investing in March in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

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