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Every week, the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute elects a Startup of the Week. We invite the founders of these startups to share a blog post with our community. These posts can be inspirational, educational, or entertaining.
This blog post was written by student author Koko Xu (Courant '25) based on an interview with Miguel Guerrero (Tandon '19), Co-founder of Otis AI.
Otis AI is a digital marketing assistant for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The startup, cofounded by CEO Miguel Guerrero (Tandon '19) and CRO Clarence Williams, takes away the complexity of digital marketing with its all-in-one, data-driven platform that focuses on performance. The product’s simplicity allows new users to launch marketing campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, and Google within minutes of signup.
“The timing of Otis is crucial because the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of small businesses. Otis is the perfect solution for these businesses to connect with their customers and find new ones online,” says Miguel.
Miguel, a serial entrepreneur and NYU alum, took his first startup TABu through the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute’s Summer Launchpad in 2018. “The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute’s programs helped us appreciate the value of validating assumptions and iterating based on customer feedback, which played an important role in strengthening our degree of product-market fit,” describes Miguel. Miguel actually met his co-founder Clarence through an advisor from the Summer Launchpad, and the pair launched Otis’ product in May 2020.
Otis recently raised a seed round, bringing their total funding to $2.5M, from investors such as Studio VC, Insta Ventures, and DEPO Ventures. The seed financing came after the startup crossed a $1M annual run rate and secured several strategic channel partnerships in the SMB space. This progress was fueled by the startup’s earlier $1M pre-seed round, which was raised from top executives in the fintech space.
When a user signs up for Otis, they simply link their retail accounts like Shopify, OLO, and QuickBooks. Using the user’s customer and transaction data, Otis then generates marketing strategies such as retargeting, online-to-offline attribution, creative optimization, and performance optimization. This approach has resulted in an average of 10x return on ad spend and 2-3x improvements in ad effectiveness. Some businesses have even seen a 40x return on ad spend.
With their most recent round of financing, Otis will continue to expand its operations and perfect its software. Otis aims to reach more SMBs and bring on more customers to its platform, helping businesses build out their online presences amidst the digital transformation catalyzed by the pandemic.