Fuzic Closes on $3.5 Million Seed Round, Plans to Expand Reach
Fuzic, the Indianapolis-based marketing tech startup, announced this week that it has closed on a $3 million seed funding round, bringing the total amount of money raised since inception to $3.5 million. Fuzic’s backers include High Alpha, Allos Ventures, and Hyde Park Venture Partners, as well as local angel investors.
“We are very impressed with Fuzic’s growth and early customer adoption,” High Alpha partner Mike Fitzgerald said in a prepared statement. “This is a strong, accomplished team who is perfectly positioned to build Fuzic into the market leader in location-based marketing.”
Fuzic uses licensed music and custom advertising to help retail businesses engage with their customers. The subscription service is managed online, and the company’s customers can access a Web-based dashboard to control music, messaging, and advertising—whether at one store or across multiple locations.
Brent Oakley, Fuzic’s co-founder and CEO, says what sets his product apart from other music-driven marketing enterprises is its roster of on-demand voice talent, always ready to record new ads in real time. If a Fuzic customer operating a cafe wanted to run an afternoon special on lattes, the cafe makes the request online, submitting a sentence or two to guide the jingle writers. From there, a Fuzic voice actor creates and records the pitch, and, within an hour, the ad will play on the cafe’s speakers.
Oakley says the company has grown to 35 employees servicing customers at more than 300 locations since it launched last spring. Fuzic rolled out with version 2.0 of its cloud-based software; today, the company is on version 2.3. Oakley says he has incorporated changes suggested by customers, such as a controller for the music’s volume that can be set in advance to play louder during times when the customer expects a noisy rush.
“We’ve added to the production team and put more bells and whistles” on the software, he adds.
A plan to release a mobile app this month is now on the backburner, Oakley says, because Fuzic’s customers “aren’t using the service on mobile the way we thought they would.” The company plans to use its new capital to expand market reach and advance product development. Fuzic is also planning to relocate to a new building in Fishers, IN.
“We needed more space as we grow,” Oakley says.
The state of Indiana has supported Fuzic through workforce grants, and Oakley will announce plans in the next few weeks to hire more staff, he says.
As for what he’s learned so far, Oakley feels tweaking the technology just because you can is not always the way to go. “The biggest takeaway has probably been to listen to customers before changing the software,” he says.