Firefly raises $21.5 million

Thanks to VentureBeat – 

Most gig economy workers don’t make anywhere near six figures, and that’s particularly true of ride-hailing drivers. According to a TechCrunch study, Uber drivers bring in $19 per hour on average; Lyft says its U.S. contractors’ median earnings work out to $18.83 an hour nationally, and $21.08 an hour in the top 25 markets. And studies that take into account expenses such as insurance, fueling, and maintenance paint an even less rosy picture. A Buzzfeed surveyfound that Uber drivers in Denver, Detroit, and Houston earned less than $13.25 an hour on average, and in a recent survey disputed by Uber, MIT researchers reported that Uber and Lyft drivers’ median pretax profit was $3.37 per hour.

Those sobering numbers motivated Kaan Gunay, a Stanford graduate and longtime Habitat for Humanity volunteer, to cofound Firefly, a San Francisco startup that works directly with rideshare drivers to install advertising displays on top of their cars. It today launched out of beta after 50 ad campaigns and 110,000 hours of testing with pilot participants. The company announced that it has raised $21.5 million in seed funding led by NFX, with participation from Pelion Venture Partners, Tencent cofounder Jason Zeng’s Decent Capital, and former Shutterfly CEO and Softbank Vision Fund managing director Jeffrey Housenbold.

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