A few weeks back, I sat down to write about the Top 5 Trends in Local Advertising in 2016. I knew that Offline fit into these trends fairly well, but I can honestly say that I was shocked by what I saw in the tea leaves.

Local advertising and media are changing faster than ever and faster than anyone predicted. Here’s just a taste:

    • There is a huge discrepancy between advertising dollars spent in print and the amount of attention Americans are devoting to print. Over the next 5 years, roughly 15 billion will be pulled out of print and redeployed straight to mobile.
    • Google searches with “near me” in the query were up 240% in the last year. That said, only 1 in 3 people start their local purchasing decision with a search engine. Two-thirds start elsewhere online, with topic-specific apps/websites like Offline as the 2nd most popular starting point.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want the full picture, it’s worth 2 minutes.

These trends point to an exciting future for local advertising, broadly, and for Offline in particular. With our phones quickly becoming our wallets, the $82 billion spent annually on extracurricular food, drink and entertainment will soon flow entirely through our smartphones. Purchasing will be influenced by products that command user attention and hyper-local purchasing behavior. Offline offers both.

When we founded Offline, we did it primarily to solve a very human problem, and we were on the bleeding edge of these trends. We were betting that the business case would materialize over time.

Well, it has.

I’m very excited that the value Offline brings to humanity now aligns with one of the most exciting and growing markets in technology today.

I want to thank our team, investors, advisors and everyone who has supported us along the way. We’re all looking forward to an exciting future.


Offline Media Closes $700K Seed Funding To Expand Local Experience Discovery and Advertising Solutions

Experienced advisory team with former execs from iContact and Angie’s List leads capital raise aimed at accelerated expansion and new advertising solutions.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RALEIGH, NC – April 12, 2016

Offline Media, a leading O2O technology platform that connects mobile and online users to curated local events and experiences, today announced the closing of a fully-subscribed $700,000 seed round led by Michael Holt (former EVP at Angie’s List) and including several prominent investors with Triangle ties: Ryan Allis (former CEO at iContact), Joe Kustelski (former CEO at Etix), Michael Olander, Jr. (MDO Holdings) and Bill Spruill (TAP).

Offline will use the seed investment to continue building its Distillery technology platform for consumers and advertisers, further drive customer growth and build out the leadership team. Product integrations in 2016 will include OpenTable, Ticketmaster and Uber, and will allow consumers to seamlessly conduct in-app transactions.

“2015 marked incredible progress for Offline,” says founder and CEO David Shaner. “As we look forward to 2016, this new capital—and, more importantly, the new advisory team’s expertise—will allow us to pursue our full vision of becoming the leading location-based O2O platform for events and experiences.”

With the addition of of their iPhone app in early 2015, Offline has experienced rapid year-over-year active user growth of over 500%, with a strong user experience leading to nearly 50% of members remaining active each month. “One of the exciting things about Offline is their record of user retention,” says early-stage investor Mark Easley. “People looking for interesting experiences in the area quickly become addicted to popping open the Offline app to see what’s going on. Offline’s most frequent feature request is to open in new cities where existing members are traveling or have moved.”

In January 2015, Offline expanded to Charlotte, NC, with Nashville, TN, following quickly in August. “Both markets continue to grow at an incredible pace. In Raleigh and Charlotte, our analytics show that 1 in 3 iPhone-carrying, college-educated millennial women are Offline members, and Nashville is right behind,” says Shaner. “Offline continues to drive a competitive advantage over other media solutions because our content platform, Distillery, enables us to produce highly engaging, curated content at scale.”

Offline and its investors see an enormous opportunity in connecting their members to high-quality local advertisers. “Offline is the only media outlet in Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte and Nashville where 100% of their audience comes to them to decide how to spend money,” says Michael Holt, former EVP of Advertising at Angie’s List. “Offline began beta-testing advertising solutions in December 2015, and initial pilots have shown strong results. With more and more consumers using their mobile devices to make purchasing decisions, we see platforms like Offline as the future of local advertising.”