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Mentor, Ohio-based graphic films manufacturer Avery Dennison has invested $3 million in San Diego-based Wrapify, a Solana Beach, California company that pays drivers to have their cars wrapped with an advertising message.
This is the largest investment for Wrapify since it raised $3.1 million in seed money in order to launch in 2015, says CEO James Heller, who adds that the new money will help the company hire the necessary sales force to go from the 29 cities it currently operates in to being in the top 50 largest metropolitan areas by the end of 2017.
“We leverage Avery Dennison films—we do all the prints and pre-press production, all of the design, all of that stuff happens in-house at Wrapify—and we leverage our network of certified installers to actually do the installs on the vehicles,” Heller says.
A shop must be Wrapify-certified to do business with his company, Heller says, and that would be on top of other required certifications that the shop has already earned, including Avery Dennison certification.
Bill Podojil, senior business director for Avery Dennison Graphic Solutions, North America, says Wrapify has been on his radar ever since the company launched in the summer of 2015, but it was only last summer that he and Heller started serious discussions about Avery Dennison investing in the company.
Podojil says he wasn’t sure how others in his company would react to investing in Wrapify, given that it’s a bit different than the types of investments Avery Dennison makes. More typical, he says, would be its recent buyout of Hanita Coatings, an Israel-based pressure-sensitive materials manufacturer that makes specialty films and laminates.
But the Wrapify investment makes sense for several reasons, Podojil says: it helps spread wraps further and further out into the marketplace (using more and more Avery Dennison film), and it allows wrap shops to draw from another revenue stream. And ultimately, Podojil says, it’s good for consumers as well.
“Wrapify is actually paying drivers to do what they normally do anyway,” he says. “They’re not going out of their way to drive around in their car. They’re literally driving on their normal routes, whether it be to work, dropping their kids off at school, whatever.”
So far Wrapify has signed up more than 42,000 drivers coast to coast, Heller says.
“As soon as they start moving they start getting paid, and we pay our drivers on a per-mile basis,” he says. “We have a pricing algorithm that actually prices the mile dynamically based on time of day, traffic flow and a few other metrics.
“Our advertisers pay us on a per-car basis based on the wrap type and the duration, and we have a rate card similar to like an out-of-home advertising company would sell transit or billboard, and we do that in 29 U.S. cities today.”
Drivers can make approximately $260-$450 per month, according to Wrapify’s website, and advertisers include brands such as Bud Light, eBay, Lyft and Petco. According to the company, advertisers pay approximately $2 or less for every thousand impressions, making it one of the most cost-effective forms of out-of-home advertising out there.
Since its inception Wrapify has exclusively used Avery Dennison films. The two companies are currently in the qualification stage for a new type of film developed specifically for use on Wrapify vehicles, Podojil says.
Avery Dennison’s films are made to last years, not months, he says—whereas the typical Wrapify campaign is three months long.
“Where the challenge came in for Wrapify is they needed the same printability characteristics, they needed the same conformability characteristics, but they also needed to have an adhesive technology that was going to release quickly, after three months,” Podojil says. “So it was really kind of a new application for us.
“It has to work equally well anywhere. This is what made it kind of tricky—we needed a type of film with an adhesive that would remove cleanly from several different kinds of paint jobs. It was actually quite a bit of work to do that, but we’ve got a great team and they’ve come up with a great product.”
Field testing of this film is going on now and it’s performing up to standards in every market it’s being tested in, Podojil says.
With Avery Dennison’s investment, Wrapify should have no trouble working its way into the top 50 markets this year, Heller says. And as his company is growing he encourages more shop owners who are interested to apply to become a Wrapify-certified install shop. He cites one shop in San Francisco that was able to book an extra $40,000 in revenue in one year’s time.
“There is real money to be made,” Heller says. “That’s $40,000 that they otherwise never would have seen.”
Those interested should visit http://install.wrapify.com, he says.