After Leadership Shakeup, Wellesley Ad Tech Company Goes For Growth

Jan 26 2017


January 26, 2017, 7:06am EST


Wellesley-based inStream Media Inc. has found its niche in a crowded local advertising technology scene by printing targeted ads at the bottom of printed sales receipts for stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar.


It may sound like a small patch of real estate to build a company on, or that the world is a digital one, but inStream contends that there's still plenty of room to grow. The company says it's already delivered 20 billion ad impressions in a format that customers find familiar and useful.


Founded in 2008, inStream replaced its long-time CEO Ann Raider last year, and a new leadership team has laid out an ambitious goal of at least tripling the company's approximately $20 million in revenue over the next few years.


Dekkers Davidson, formerly the head of mobile-payment company Merchant Customer Exchange, joined inStream as chairman of the board a year ago and took on the CEO role in June, a move he said was "born of potential."


“Gee, a company that should grow to be a $60 (million) to $80 million company organically — let’s get going,” Davidson said, describing the leaderships team's thought process. "The board felt that some fresh perspective and some fresh energy would help."


Davidson recruited new heads of marketing, sales and retail partnerships with a two-pronged growth plan in mind. First, inStream is looking to expand its presence beyond the "value channel" retailers that currently buy its ad targeting and printing software. Davidson said convenience stores and restaurants are two industries he wants to capture.


inStream is also focused on bringing its ad-targeting expertise to mobile phones, which are becoming more and more a part of consumers' "shopping journey." Though Davidson doesn't expect printed receipts to disappear anytime soon, he said "the value is shifting certainly more to mobile... And that's why we have to get on mobile and build on our success in the printed receipt."


Davidson is on the hunt for potential acquisitions that could help inStream with either goal. He said the company doesn't need new investment to continue growing, but that he may raise a round later this year to help fund his acquisition strategy. The company has raised a combination of private equity, venture capital and debt financing during history, though Davidson declined to share specifics. He did say the company has raised less than $10 million lifetime, including from a number of local angel investors.


inStream will move its approximately 25 employees from Wellesley to Waltham next month, where it will inhabit space at the Watch Factory offices alongside a number of other startups and technology companies. Davidson says he's looking to hire 10 to 15 people by the end of the year.


Kelly O'Brien

Technology Reporter

Boston Business Journal


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