Startup Spotlight: Wilmington Based Carvertise

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Launched in 2012, CEO Mac Nagaswami and Chief Operating Officer Greg Star were still college students at the University of Delaware. Carvertise was one of the first businesses to come out of the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship.

Screenshot UD Horn Program Twitter
Screenshot UD Horn Program Twitter

The business quickly became a centerpiece of Wilmington’s burgeoning tech scene, first as a tenant of The coIN Loft and now in its own space next to 1313 Innovation. Carvertise also landed financial backing from principals with Leading Edge Ventures, one of the few venture capital firms in Delaware.

With nearly 60 ad campaigns under its belt, the company is now beginning to plot its move from a lean startup with a dozen employees to a major player in the industry.

Nagaswami said he’s received about 30 inquiries in the last year from entrepreneurs around the world who are looking to franchise Carvertise in their own countries, ranging from Pakistan and the Czech Republic to Mongolia and Mozambique.

“That’s just one of many options that are on the table for us,” he said. “We’re just beginning to have those conversations now.”

One choice would be to stay the course and continue growing at a steady, organic pace. The company also is weighing whether to undertake a major expansion financed through venture capital. And a partnership with a Fortune 500 media company willing to add rolling billboards to their marketing mix is not out of the question.

“The only thing that’s holding us back right now are constrained resources,” Nagaswami said. “We’ve added six employees in the last year, but we still need a bigger team.”

Growing an advertising company outside the industry’s poles in New York or Los Angeles might seem counter-intuitive. But Nagaswami said Carvertise owes its success to growing up outside those markets.

“In those places, we would have been just another startup fighting to get noticed,” he said.

“Delaware is a market that values hard work, personal connections and generating an actual cash flow,” Nagaswami said. “That forced us to focus on business fundamentals from the very beginning, and I firmly believe that’s been the key to getting us where we are today.”


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