Mersey outdoor ad venture secures £400,000 for UK expansion

OPEN Outdoor Media operates two digital advertising sites in Liverpool and has secured backing from MSIF to support expansion at lucrative sites in Manchester and London. Tony McDonough reports

OPEN Outdoor Media
Paul Humphray of MSIF, left with Mike Smith of OPEN Outdoor Media

 

Outdoor advertising specialist OPEN Outdoor Media has secured a £400,000 investment Merseyside business equity and loan provider MSIF.

The Liverpool-based business, which operates two digital advertising screens in the city centre, will use the cash to invest in four new digital screens for two newly-secured spaces at outside Old Trafford in Manchester and Wembley in London.

MSIF’s North-West Business Growth Fund, supported by the British Business Bank, is providing the funding.

The business was established in 2014, and was originally called OPEN Taxi Top. MSIF previously supported it with an £80,000 loan to OPEN Taxi Top. At the time, the business was installing dual-sided digital advertising screens on top of Hackney cabs.

Managing director Mike Smith identified that city centre premium banner sites as being of much more interest to businesses. OPEN Outdoor Media went on to secure a temporary site on the old ABC cinema, opposite the Liverpool Lime Street.

This proved to be popular, with companies including Jaguar Land Rover, JD Sports and SKY renting the advertising space.

It’s current sites in Liverpool city centre are the city council’s multi-storey car park in Victoria Street and Barratt House on the corner of Lord Street and North John Street close to the entrance to Liverpool One.

Mike Smith said: “I am super proud of what OPEN has achieved in the last 12 months and to add these two premium locations to our portfolio is very exciting. Our strategy is to concentrate on the quality of location over quantity.

“Our goal is to be in every key city in the UK by 2020, and by having the support of MSIF and the best team around me I am certain that this goal achievable.”

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

Paul Humphray, MSIF investment director, added: “I’m really happy MSIF were able to support OPEN Outdoor Media. It’s great to see how the business has evolved to suit the clients’ demands, and how Mike was able to change the business strategy to suit their needs.”

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