If you are a technology company with an exciting new funding announcement you want to shout from the rooftops, you’re not alone.
Seattle-area startups raised a record-setting $3.1 billion across 205 deals in the first half of 2021, according to Geekwire. That’s up from $1.8 billion across 162 deals during the same period last year. This surge in funding isn’t unique to Seattle either. Startup hubs such as the Bay Area and New York City have also seen record-setting funding amounts in H1 2021 at $54.1 billion and $22.4 billion respectively.
With an increasing amount of cash flowing into startups across the nation, how do you stand out and get the media to pay attention? Voxus has been in close communication with business and technology media outlets to find out what it takes for them to cover funding news. Here is everything you need to know:
1. The early bird truly gets the worm. Because of the high volume of funding rounds happening on a daily basis, be sure to start pitching at least a week in advance to secure a spot in a reporter’s list of scheduled articles for the day of your announcement. A TechCrunch reporter told us, “If you are pitching news that is embargoed for one or two days from the date of your original email, it’s difficult for me to cover (unless it’s breaking). My schedule for the week gets filled pretty quickly, so the more advance notice I have, the better.”
2. Exclusivity may be the ticket. If you’re announcing over $100M in funding, you’re already at a better starting point than a majority of other startups, but be aware that even a 9-figure round doesn’t guarantee top-tier coverage. The bar is constantly getting higher for securing a top-tier feature story. Getting into the likes of Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal requires offering them exclusive coverage. They’ll want to go out with the story 12-24 hours before the news crosses the wires. You can also sweeten the deal by offering an exclusive quote from your top investor.
3. Bigger is better. If you are announcing a less than $100M round, it’s going to be difficult to get coverage on that number alone. If you can, emphasize the total funding raised to date and/or your company’s valuation. Heck, even when over $100M in funding, top-tier outlets may require a company’s valuation to get a sense for the scale of the company and the deal. Sometimes you can get away with a ballpark valuation not attributed to your company (such as “according to a source familiar with the transaction…”) if you aren’t comfortable sharing your valuation on the record.
Note: be sure to check with major stakeholders before sharing your valuation, as sharing it too early can impact additional funding rounds down the road or even your IPO.
4. Funding numbers alone are boring. While funding alone may not be enough to intrigue reporters, specific growth metrics that show momentum and future plans can make for a more interesting story. For instance, Geekwire wants to know: Can you provide revenue metrics, and other growth metrics over the past year? While VentureBeat wants to know things like: What is the new money for? What products and features will it help to fund? How many employees does the company expect to have by the end of the year? All of this context takes a standalone number (especially in the currently massive sea of deals) and gives it a narrative.
5. A little creativity can go a long way. Reporters today are swamped. Due to job cuts and newspaper closures, there are now more than six PR professionals for every reporter. Even if you have a huge funding round with well-known investors, that still might not be enough. To ensure coverage (though it may not be on the day of your announcement), consider what more you can add to the story. Has the cloud boom spurred by the pandemic given you an unanticipated uptick in business throughout 2020 and 2021? Are you in an exciting and growing new market, such as ClimateTech? Or maybe you have an intriguing founding story. For instance, a Business Insider reporter recently shared he didn’t have the bandwidth to cover some funding news, but expressed interest in an interview with the co-founders who left Microsoft to launch their startup for a future feature story. By adding more to the news, you can extend its life and reach reporters that may not have covered your company otherwise.
Competition for funding coverage is fierce. With record-breaking deals and fewer reporters to cover the news, even many worthy stories can’t be pursued because of lack of resources, making it much more difficult to secure coverage. This is why it’s important to put your best foot forward and we hope these tips help you do just that. If the current media landscape sounds intimidating, we are happy to brainstorm how to make your funding announcement more compelling. Just give us a call.