Octopus Interactive, a startup bringing an interactive TV and advert expertise into Uber and Lyft rides, has raised a $10.three million funding spherical led by Sinclair Digital Group.

Backseat TVs mixing present snippets and commercials have turn out to be a standard a part of the taxi expertise in New York Metropolis and elsewhere. Octopus is providing one thing a extra interactive model of this idea to rideshare drivers, who can use it to maintain their passengers entertained and in addition earn extra cash.

Octopus says it gives drivers with tablets that mix video games (which may embrace money prizes, and may also be sponsored), trip info (like maps and climate) and advertising in a 13-minute loop. Even when the passenger doesn’t win something, this might assist maintain them occupied throughout a protracted trip, which may result in increased driver scores. And if the passenger isn’t , they’ll simply mute the display screen.

The corporate says it’s deploying expertise to make the advertising smarter, for instance with geofences to focus on adverts or improve their frequency in a sure neighborhood, and by providing real-time analytics to advertisers. It additionally displays the seat to verify that there’s really a passenger sitting there when an advert performs.

After launching in 2018, Octopus says it’s now reaching greater than three million individuals every month throughout 10,000 screens in markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C. By working with Sinclair Digital Group an affiliate of TV large Sinclair the startup can convey content material from native TV stations onto the platform.

“What we see here is an untapped medium with a truly captive audience that is buckled in and looking to engage,” mentioned Sinclair Govt Chairman David Smith in a press release. “We invested in Octopus because the team has successfully created an innovative and differentiated branding opportunity that we can help scale further.”

MathCapital, an investment agency partnered with programmatic advertising firm MediaMath, additionally participated in the funding.

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