This past month the PR Club sought to demystify VC fundraising language for PR practitioners. What do commonly used terms mean? When pitching media, what information is helpful and what shouldn’t be shared? Matt Burke, a marketing and communications executive with decades of experience in startups and venture capital, joined us at Version 2.0 Communications for a crash course.
Matt shared that today, VCs are investing earlier and earlier in an idea’s lifespan in order to get a competitive foot in the door. It’s not easy for fledgling start-ups, though: Only about 1 percent end up earning VC backing. Similar to our own media outreach, securing VC funding goes beyond cold calls; it takes introductions and relationship-building to secure financial backing. The Bay Area and Boston continue to act as hotbeds for start-ups with deep tech, artificial intelligence and travel technology reigning supreme (for now).
After walking attendees through the players involved with funding rounds, the timeline and process, Matt got into how PR pros can leverage capital in their outreach (and shared a couple pointers):
- Reporters love VC, but coverage is hard these days given how busy the landscape is today.
- Investors own most of the start-up so bear that in mind when they make decisions about media.
- Funding rounds are the best way to leverage them.
- While they may not agree to interviews, here are some appropriate requests (that many are happy to oblige):
- Press release quote
- Social media sharing of the news
- Award nominations, so long as they don’t have to write them
- If you want to land TechCrunch (as so many of our clients and partners do), your best bet is to go exclusive – and note it in the subject line so someone actually opens the email.
- There’s no risk in pitching multiple reporters if you get crickets from your first target.
- Reporters may ask the following questions. Do not answer them:
- What’s your valuation?
- Who invested what amount?
- What’s the ownership?
- Do encourage your clients and partners to disclose the dollar amount of a round and build a story around it.
- At the same time remember to set expectations: the round matters and for a seed or A round, press are generally looking for minimum $8 million.
- Merchandise your existing coverage. A sponsored LinkedIn post highlighting an earned story can go a long way.