Waiting in line to use a portable toilet at a concert or sporting event may never be the same, if Matt Tunstall has his way.
The 30-year-old owner of Stall Talk, a Knoxville-based outdoor advertising company, is taking portable toilets digital with $1 million in Series A funding recently secured from a private investor.
Much like the way he transformed advertising on the outside of portable toilets three years ago, Tunstall plans to use the latest video monitoring technology to add digital screens that would create a video billboard above a three or six block of toilets.
He calls it the PortaTron.
The positioning of the screens will allow him to show short videos or commercials to a captive audience waiting to use the restroom.
"Digital was simply an evolution of our financial model, not product development," Tunstall said. "It made more sense to allocate our cost of goods sold on materials that were reusable and not as geographically limited as vinyl stuck to a toilet."
Since he founded Stall Talk in 2011, Tunstall has been able to build an ad network that consists of more than 300,000 portable restrooms across 84 markets in 27 states.
He provides advertising at NCAA athletic events, NASCAR and Indy Racing venues, outdoor concerts and at festivals across the country.
With the latest round of funding, Tunstall will be able to provide a new digital advertising option. The first prototype should be done by the end of March with mass production beginning in April or May.
Doug Minter, business development manager for the Knoxville Chamber who has served as a mentor, said Tunstall's ability to secure funding proves his ability "to listen, to be humble and seek advice." Something he said every entrepreneur needs.
"There's a tipping point for every company where you have to have an infusion of cash to take it to the next level. This gets him out of first stage and into the second stage of development, which is above $1 million in revenue. He can now pay for additional staff and grow exponentially," Minter said.
The local economic impact will come primarily in the video and film production areas through new advertising dollars and production contracts, he said. He expects to create 50 to 60 jobs.
"Our local digital content creators immediately came to mind once I saw our numbers," he said.
To kick off the new video billboard offerings from Stall Talk, Tunstall says he is creating a competition for East Tennessee video and film production companies to showcase their work on a national stage.
Tunstall has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Young Entrepreneur Award at the Pinnacle Business Awards in May 2013.
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