Posted by Jon Schubin on Wed, Mar 16 2016

All Posts by Jon Schubin

5 Smart Ways to Promote Your Next Funding Round

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There’s been some truly eye-popping finance and FinTech funding rounds in the last year. Affirm raised $275 million, SoFi raised $1 billion, and these weren’t the exceptions—CB Insights found that between 2011 and 2013, there were fewer than 15 $50M+ rounds to venture-backed FinTech companies. In 2015 alone, the number of $50M+ FinTech deals jumped past 60.

In the age of the mega-round, the early-to-growth stage ventures may worry about their chances of earning media attention for a smaller fundraise. Investments that once seemed significant—$2 million, $5 million or even $20 million—are now ho-hum to the press. Reporters at major business, technology and even venture capital publications increasingly tell us, “I will not cover rounds under $50 million.”

That doesn’t mean you can’t get coverage; it just takes a bit of extra leg work. Here are 5 ways to help make your next funding round stand out with the media that matter.

1. Seed Press Relationships Now. Do not wait for the ink to dry on the Form D. While you’re working the VC roadshow, work the press, too. Start to network with the publications you want to write your story. It doesn’t have to be hard. Create a list on Twitter of 10 reporters who you think will make the biggest difference in your business. Follow them, retweet their posts and comment on their story. Give them every chance to follow you back and line up a future DM right into their inbox.

2. Get the Formula Right. There’s a certain way the press write stories, especially for funding rounds. You need to frame out the 5Ws (Who, What, When, Where and Why) as well as offer a great, simple guide for framing your message. Document and perfect your message early on, as opposed to under the gun of an announcement date. These facts will be helpful for employee, customer, partner and other stakeholder communications.

3. Don’t Expect Media to Follow the Money. It’s true for every funding article we read or secure for clients: The money is not the crux of the story—it’s the “why” that matters. Stop a reporter from asking “What’s the real news?” by making your story about why there is even a dollar figure to mention. Our friends at Xignite used their Series C round in Finance Magnates to promote the rapid increase in API calls on their platform and plans for Asia. The story was about the firm’s underlying growth and expansion, with the funding only further evidencing their success.

4. Find an ambassador for your brand. When Stefan Tirtey, Managing Director of Commerz Ventures, wrote his LinkedIn note “Why we invested in Marqeta,” we knew his words would go a long way. The post, which explained why Marqeta is a great brand, led to more coverage in publications like TechCrunch. Find your own Stefan Tirtey. Your investors, partners, customers, board directors and special advisors can all play a role in sharing your story. Our experience shows when influencers lend their voices, more people listen. Even if the press placement lags, you have a multi-touch point approach to your communications.

5. Be your own PR asset. Any public relations you’re doing now is pivotal to your next funding round making waves. Stay on top of editorial calendars, use Twitter and keep reporter relationships warm. Do this regularly, and like TickerTags, you, too, may be named by Business Insider as “One of the 20 Startups Out to Create a New World Order on Wall Street”. Having a proactive media relations program scouting out opportunities for you far and wide is a good way to introduce your brand to the press, so they are more open to taking up your later funding story later.

Follow these 5 approaches and your funding round will mean more than money in the bank. You’ll come out in the press with stronger brand recognition, a more defined view of your company and a clearer reason to why others are investing in you.

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