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Over the past 10 months, I’ve spoken with a ton of tech startups and scaleups, all from different sectors and industries, and all at different stages in their growth journeys. I wanted to understand where and when in that journey PR became important in achieving those growth ambitions. The conclusion? Having a strong PR campaign throughout was crucial, especially when seeking to fundraise.

The sessions I’ve delivered, aimed at giving tech startup and scaleup leaders the insights and knowledge needed to develop and deliver PR strategies, have always been well-attended, adding weight to this theory.

This awareness of the important role PR can play when seeking investment is positive news, especially when recent research into the impact of PR on levels of investment found that the companies which saw the highest increase in funds raised also generated the highest volume of media coverage – on average 206 pieces over a two-year period. This compares to an average of 146 pieces for the companies which saw the lowest increase of funds raised between Series A and Series B. [1]

However, despite the obvious benefits, budget continues to create a huge barrier to engaging with PR, meaning many of the smaller startups with limited capital will be unable to build a strong enough reputation and will often see investors opting for businesses with a higher, more public profile.

I think of this a little like chicken and egg.

If you’re a startup with high growth ambitions but limited funds, when do you start to invest in PR? Should you allocate some budget to building a profile for yourself and the business in order to appeal to potential investors from the get-go? Or should you wait until you have more money in the pot, and opt to use that small budget in other areas of the business?

When seeking opportunities, investors will always do their due diligence; they will want evidence that the company has appeal both in the eyes of the target customer and the media. If they can see a startup and/or founder has already begun to gain visibility with key stakeholders, influencers and journalists, then their investment will feel safer. Compare that to a startup that has no public or media profile, and the likelihood is the latter will lose out to the former when it comes to funding.

Think about your own experiences as a consumer; if we see and hear of brands through friends, journalists, TikTok’ers, then we’re much more likely to buy from them as opposed to a competitor that has little visibility. It’s human nature. And the reality is, that investors are the same. They want reassurance that what is on offer is solving a problem; they want to see journalists talking about the founder; they want to know that their potential investment will add weight to these existing efforts, rather than having to start the PR from scratch and enter the unknown.

Our work within the tech startup ecosystem has highlighted that, while founders and leaders understand the need for good PR and communications in order to attract investment for growth, many simply don’t have the budget to make it happen.

Which is why we have developed a series of packages and workshops that will enable these businesses to access the PR and comms expertise they need, at a cost that is more closely aligned to the stage they are at in their growth journey.

Technology is infiltrating every aspect of our lives and business, and we are incredibly excited to be a part of this flourishing sector. We look forward to continuing to support the tech innovators right across the UK in 2022 and beyond.

 

[1] https://hardnumbers.co.uk/news/hard-numbers/coverage-and-capital/

 

Sara Donnelly

Director, Social Tech Communications