A Pandemic Pivot Helps Nashville AdTech Team Land $4 Million

The team behind AdCritter didn’t initially set out to build a DIY advertising platform for small businesses.

CEO and founder Gabriel Smith told Hypepotamus his team initially started looking at how to improve advertising for the continuing education space.

“We had to get ads in front of doctors and other very hard to reach professionals — doctors being among the most expensive people on the planet to try to advertise to. And we ended up needing to build our own advertising technology to do that effectively.” 

While the technology helped Fortune 500 companies improve their advertising plans, Smith and his co-founder Eric Busby believed what they built could help democratize the AdTech industry. 

That technology and platform ultimately turned into AdCritter, Smith’s tenth and first “non-bootstrapped” startup, which launched in Nashville in 2014. 

Smith and his team noticed that while small businesses know the type of customers they want to attract and advertise to online, they often don’t have the in-house capacity to create a professional ad. AdCritter is designed to fill in the gaps by providing a one-stop shop for ad creation and hyperlocal targeting for small and medium-sized businesses.


Even before the pandemic, small businesses struggled to find and build quality digital advertisements. But as online ordering becomes even more of an essential part of sales, the need for stand-out digital advertising has only grown.

The team took the pandemic as “an opportunity for us to take what we’ve learned so far about our customers’ needs and rebuild something that’s even better,” added Smith.

That meant re-launching the platform with 15 million pre-built ads that are specifically designed for over 1,000 business types.

AdCritter was able to create such a robust ad library — which touts ads specifically designed for everyone from accountants to zookeepers — so small business owners can create professional-grade on a budget. 



The programmatic ad platform has been noticed by investors and those in the AdTech and media industry. AdCritter raised a $4 million venture round in April 2021, bringing the company’s total funding to just over $6 million to date.

The funding news is followed by the announcement of several key executives hires for the AdCritter team. Paul Langtry joins as Vice President of Marketing, Sonya Crawford Bearson joins as Vice President of Communications and Partner Integrations, Chris Aitchison becomes the Vice President of Engineering, and Ryan Brown has been named as the Director of Strategic Partnerships. 

Hubspot also named AdCritter one of the top 5 digital media buying platforms earlier this month.

Example of AdCritter’s platform

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