Founder Friday: Max Flannery & Tom Shea, Co-Founders of Adgile 🚚
Founder Friday is a content series from SuperAngel.Fund highlighting companies in our portfolio and the inspiring founders behind them.
Max (President) and Tom (CRO) linked up in 2018 to begin working on the initial concept for Adgile at the University of Chicago’s New Venture Challenge. Before long, the pair were joined by Marc Strachan (CMO) and Mitchell Gordon (CEO), who collectively have deep roots in advertising, trucking, finance and marketing. With the leadership team in place, Adgile was ready to roll.
While out-of-home (OOH) is one of the fastest growing advertising segments, with increased demand due to recent changes in digital ad targeting, the supply for OOH ad inventory is finite. Media space on billboards, buses and other street placements is generally controlled by local governments and therefore limited by regulatory constraints. Adgile, on the other hand, converts the sides and backs of thousands of last-mile delivery trucks and turns them into mobile billboards. Next, they layer on a technology component featuring analytics and attribution tools to deliver customers the same, or better features that come with a digital advertising campaign, on a physical world alternative proven to deliver a higher ROI.
In just a few years, Adgile has managed to secure over 100k trucks around the U.S., and delivered billions of ad impressions on behalf of brand clients like T-Mobile, Bar Stool Sports, Topicals, Zola, Brightland, The Sill, among others. Given their early success, it is no surprise the company caught the attention of investors who recently put $5m into their coffers.
So be on the lookout in your neighborhood; a truck splashed with ads from one of Adgile’s advertisers is likely to be rolling by!
Describe your company in 5 words or less.
Max: Data-Driven Truck-Side Advertising.
Tom: Attribution-Enabled Truck-side Advertising.
What was your primary motivation for starting your business?
Max: To put my mark on the world and see my vision come to life.
Tom: I was really working hard at my previous corporate job and wasn't seeing reciprocity that reflected that effort. They routinely dolled out identical raises and promotions to our entire "analyst" class. At a certain point, it hit me -- why am I working this hard if, structurally, there is seemingly no way for outperformance to be rewarded?
What piece of advice would you give an entrepreneur starting a business today?
Max: Talk to your customers often and always. Learn why they purchased your product, why they churned, what problem you are solving for each one, and what could have been better with their experience.
Tom: Sometimes, it is all about how long you can stay in the ring. V1.0 of our business did not solve a problem -- it was a business for business' sake. It took us years to figure out what the market actually wanted, but it did solve a clear problem.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Tom: I love live music -- you can find me at multiple shows each month. It is nice to always have something to look forward to.
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited recently and why?
Max: Super Bowl LVI.
Tom: Fire Island -- one of NYC's best kept secrets! A really fun way to feel like you're going on vacation without actually venturing too far out of the city.
What is your favorite app or tool in your work life and in your personal life?
Max: Superhuman - The email app keeps me organized and makes me much more efficient.
Tom: Superhuman for work -- email service made for the Excel junkies who never use their computer mouse. Spotify for personal life -- music/podcast/audio books service that has something for everyone. Honorable mention for the Oura ring app.
What do you believe is the most important skill or attribute of a successful founder?
Max: Risk tolerance.
Tom: Emotional intelligence.
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