Firefly Raises USD 30M & Acquires NYC Based STRONG Outdoor

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Fresh from raising USD 21.5M in seed funding back in December 2018, Firefly has now announced a USD 30 million Series A led by GV.

Firefly also announced its acquisition of the ‘digital operations’ of STRONG Outdoor, marking its expansion into New York City.

Adam Ghobarah, General Partner at GV, indicating clearly that he doesn’t know what he is talking about in the OOH space was quoted as saying “Firefly is creating a significant new ad format at scale. In addition to taxis, the scale of rideshare networks has created a large opportunity to provide digital out of home advertising with granular city-block and time targeting. Kaan, Onur and the Firefly team have executed very well so far, and are motivated by the long-term mission of enabling cities with data”.

Anyone undertaking even a modicum of basic research into taxi top advertising, will tell you that this is not a format beloved by brands or media buyers and that what Firefly is offering is in no way innovative, It’s been tried many times before and failed each and every time.

The press release stated that in acquiring STRONG’s digital operations in New York City, Firefly secures ownership of their digital taxi top advertising deal with the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade (MTBOT) and that through STRONG’s digital assets, Firefly enters New York City with an established presence, while at the same time driving growth and evolution in the city’s media landscape.

Kyle Cerminara, CEO of Fundamental Global and Chairman of STRONG Outdoor said “We are excited about the potential for growth in digital advertising and we believe that Firefly, led by CEO Kaan Gunay, is the right team and platform to combine with our digital platform in New York City. We look forward to being significant shareholders in Firefly and benefiting from the growth in digital at Firefly while maintaining our significant market presence in non-digital advertising at STRONG”.

Kaan Gunay, co-founder and CEO of Firefly said “By combining our Firefly operating system with STRONG’s existing digital network, we’re able to immediately scale upon market entry so we can support the New York community with no downtime.”

This new funding round brings the company’s total funding to USD 51.5 million and surely proves that you really can raise money for any old business.

Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (NYSE American: BTN) was founded in 1932, and through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ballantyne Strong, Inc. is responsible for tens of thousands of signs and screens globally. STRONG Outdoor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ballantyne Strong, Inc. controls nearly half of the traditional and premium taxi top advertising inventory in the New York City market. STRONG Outdoor entered the New York City market in 2018 by taking-over roughly half of the traditional and premium taxi top advertising inventory in the New York City market. Today, STRONG has over 3,200 traditional static tops. Fundamental Global is Ballantyne Strong’s largest shareholder and is an investment management firm that manages equity, fixed income and alternative funds and strategies.

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