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When A VC Fund Shouldn’t Hire A Public Relations Agency

Moms at BAM: A Fishbowl Conversation

Money is everywhere in the world of venture capital. In 2021, U.S.-based startups saw a record $93 billion worth of funding in the seed stage. Since money is such a commodity, a lot of VC funds have pondered working with PR agencies to bolster their presence so as to not miss out on checks, either signed for the next big startup or received from a big name limited partner (LP). As alluring as press clips and media mentions in top-tier outlets may seem, venture funds are often not well positioned to make any of that media happen. Based on our experience at BAM, here are a few reasons why venture funds should skip the PR agency:

Your fund isn’t unique. It’s already been a record-breaking year for funds in 2021. Claiming that your fund backs “amazing founders” who are “changing the world” isn’t distinct in the least. To grab the eye of a reporter — and a PR agency, for that matter — a VC fund needs to differentiate itself beyond the money raised and founders backed. Are all of the partners immigrants? Is there a deep vertical your firm absolutely dominates? Did your fund just turn a $250,000 check into $300 million for a controversial startup that went public? These are a few distinctions we’ve recently worked with that secured solid media attention.

You raised some money (like everyone else). We’ll often get inquiries from funds that want to start a PR campaign after raising a first initial fund. Years ago, the close of an initial fund could garner some stories, but given the current landscape, a first fund close is rarely news itself. A great exception is the close of a fund by a Silicon Valley outsider person or team, such as Arlan Hamilton or Harlem Capital. Otherwise, the better metric to focus on for press interest, and one that simply takes time to unfold, is the performance of the portfolio companies.

You don’t have an internal quarterback. We’ve consistently found that if a VC fund doesn’t have an internal quarterback — someone on the operations team who owns marketing or communications full time — expectations are sure to be unmet. Despite best intentions to work with an external PR team every day, partners at funds are often too consumed with other functions to give the PR team the attention they require. Get a quarterback in place first before bringing on an agency that will demand time, attention and logistics to do their jobs well.

For the full article, visit Beck Bamberger’s original article published in Forbes.

 

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