A well-timed funding announcement is your introduction to the world. It’s a way to increase your visibility with prospective investors, talent and customers. It’s also a signal that your company is gaining traction and momentum – you’re putting a stake in the ground for competitors.
Over the past eight months, many companies in the Version One portfolio have released funding announcements including Uniswap, Jam, SilviaTerra, Patch, Premadonna, Cap Hill Brands, Opyn and Cape Privacy. ICYMI, here is a list of our posts on why we’re excited about backing these startups.
In helping our portfolio startups go through the announcement process, we’ve compiled some suggestions to guide you in putting out your message and making sure it gets amplified in the right way. If you’re somewhat familiar with the PR process, none of these tips will be new – but put together, we hope they serve as a handy checklist!
- Founder’s announcement
Arguably, the most powerful piece of content that can be written is by you, the founder. Take the time to craft a blog post on the mission of your company and the product you’re developing. In fact, consider your funding announcement as a wedge to get coverage, but that the most important result is others learning about your product, business, and the vision you have for the world and future. Too often, we see the opportunity to capture this mindshare lost because the focus is too much on the financing itself.
- Prepare a press kit
A press kit doesn’t have to be super fancy, but it’s an important tool to share with media outlets, reporters and investors, so that your messaging and story are consistent. A good press kit should include:
- The news you want to share. As with any pitch, you want to tell a compelling story around your company, what you’re building, why now, and why you. You may want to share your own blog post (see #1) to provide more context.
- Assets: high resolution logos, headshots, demo videos, etc.
- Quotes from your investors, customers, etc.
- A clear embargo date and time (see #3)
- Pick your timing
Is Monday a good time to announce when there might be a backlog of news that has waited to come out from the weekend? Will you lose mindshare on Friday as everyone heads into the weekend, particularly a long weekend? Look at a calendar and anticipate what other events might detract from your news. For example, one of our portfolio companies delayed their announcement due to the inauguration. Or, is there a time that will make your news even more relevant? For instance, if you’re a climate company, you could get some good synergy around Earth Day.
About embargos: You should plan on pre-pitching journalists at least 48 hours before your official announcement day, as they need time to conduct interviews and write their story. Not all media outlets agree to embargos, so if an embargo is important to you, make sure to get buy-in before you send over the details.
- Put a clear call-to-action on your website
When your announcement is out, you’ll want to have a call-to-action on your website that is accessible and easy to complete. Make it simple for people to contact you and take the next step, whatever that might be: “Join our waitlist,” “Sign up for a demo,” “Download our whitepaper,” “We’re hiring – work with our team.”
- Leverage your investors
Your investors are impactful and powerful PR allies. They can make introductions to media outlets and journalists. If they blog frequently (like we do!), ask them to write their own piece on why they are excited about investing in you, how your company fits their thesis, etc. And, ask them to spread the word (see #9)!
- Define your target publications and writers
You’ll want to build a list of key media contacts that you’d like to cover your news. Your list should include any reporters with whom you already have a relationship, as well as those who write about the companies in your sector and cover startup funding. Outlets can include:
- Most popular tech publication = TechCrunch
- National/Global tech/business sections = e.g. WSJ, Bloomberg
- Regional/local outlets tech = e.g. BetaKit, The Logic, Globe & Mail, Techcouver (Canada), Geekwire (Pacific Northwest)
- Relevant podcasts
- TV news outlets
- Industry-specific publications
- Include VC daily newsletters
The evening before your announcement date, forward your news to the following VC/startup daily newsletters:
- Prep your social media list
On announcement day, you’ll want to amplify your news through your social media channels. In anticipation, come up with a list of all the social media platforms that are relevant for your announcement and make sure your company profiles are consistent across all platforms.
- Product Hunt – have a top hunter “hunt” you.
- Hacker News
- Instagram, TikTok, Clubhouse
- On the day of the announcement
First thing: your blog post should go live. Then, share the post, as well as any news coverage, on all your relevant social media accounts. Don’t forget to post on your personal accounts too! Send an email or message to your investors, friends, and followers with pre-written tweets and talking points, and/or quick links to retweet, like, hunt, upvote, etc. on all the platforms above. Also, encourage your own team to spread the news! And, stay online and engaged throughout the day. Be prepared for all the inbound you’re going to get!
Raising a seed or Series A round is a big milestone for any startup and deserves a great announcement strategy. You should feel comfortable engaging your investor for specific help or advice at any point in the process. It’s never an imposition: your investors want you to succeed! Maximize this opportunity for press and visibility – after all, funding announcements won’t happen every day.
What other tips have worked for your funding announcements? Please share them with us!