Voice of startups by KVB has been working with startups from various sectors like fintech, logistics, insurtech and so on in building brands as part of their growth strategy.
Of course, for startups’ growth, fundraising is something vital. Similar to enterprises exercising Public Relations when they go public [IPO], startups need to apply a bit similar things too for fund raising.
Prep Works – Before Fundraising
1) Personal Branding
We do business with someone we trust. I am sure it also applies for almost everyone. Trust is earned. Earn your trust as startups founders. Do your personal branding.
Investors buy into you and your vision, and you want to focus on them for fundraising. This is especially true in the seed stage where your startup has almost nothing for investors to speculate on. This is why personal branding is very vital for startup founders and serial entrepreneurs.
There are many who are against the term “personal brand” itself and would rather call it “reputation” or other terms. But whatever people calls it, they do not deny that this concept exists.
The concept is explained by Jeff Bezos really well:
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”
While at KVB, we view personal branding to be related to trust, which means someone tells about you to others, not you tell yourself to others.
A common mistake that some people commit in their personal branding is the fact that they have inconsistencies, both in the virtual and real world. In this era of social media, people are more skeptic towards others. When you try to fake others, people will spot you easily.
That is why you should stay genuine as to who you are. When you do that, you will be consistent and everyone will believe that you are the you in LinkedIn.
It is not that we recommend that you live under a rock and just do your business. It is perfectly recommendable to get out there and post on twitter once in a while.
What we do not recommend is for you to delve too deeply in the online world. You do not have to tweet your blogposts several times a day, comment on every trending LinkedIn article, and go to every relevant event in town.
Invest actual time in your work and do not spend too much time on personal branding.
Brand yourself in moderation.
For a more complete guide on personal branding, check out this link.
2) Develop your Growth Stories
Investors, rightfully so, want to make profits. What PR for Fundraising (and PR in general) does is to act as a spotlight in order to publicize the “signs of growth” to the appropriate people through appropriate channels.
That is why investors look for potential and PR acts as the spotlight.
Of course, PR cannot and should not falsify a claim, that is why in the beginning we recommend you to consult the experts to know whether your company is ready or not to be publicized.
The first thing that you might want to know about is perhaps what kinds of content should you work on in order to embark on this journey.
Company Growth: What Constitutes Growth for a Company?
The answer lies in each company’s business model and business plan.
For example: A freemium (a business that is usually free of charge but charges a premium for additional features e.g. LinkedIn) values customer acquisition lesser than a completely free solution (such as Facebook where all of its end-user is non-paying). Although in this particular case, LinkedIn boasts about its vast userbase as one of its marketing ploys.
Note: We will take the time to remind you that PR can do more harm than good if your company is not ready or your goals are not clearly defined yet. If you are uncertain whether your company has reached this point or not, you can consult an expert before you do your PR activities just to make sure that it does not backfire on you.
Take note that there are some industry standards that pertain to each industry, which investors will be very knowledgeable on. It needs to make sense for your business model to use that particular growth metric.
Once your company has decided on a particular or a few metrics to focus on, you will want to package your growth story that is attractive to the public and not all about stats and numbers.
One sample would be Investree: Late last year, they announced their Series B funding with the title;
“Having Secured Series B, Investree Expands Peer-to-Peer Lending Reach to the Southeast Asian Region”
For the full press release, click here (in Indonesian).
After Coverage – Post-Fundraising
So, your fundraising was successful and the media has covered it, but is that it?
You have to remember that your current publication will be useful as a leverage for any of your future endeavors.
Therefore, you have to make the most out of it, but do not overdo it.
3) Let Your Stakeholders Know
First and foremost, you should inform your target customers and investors know about your fundraising coverage. By this period of time, you should have done your homework on them.
- E-mail your database but do not brag. Tell story. People want to read story.
- Use social media and spread it around.
- Ask, but do not beg, your connections and your friends in your industry to share the news around.
4) Take advantage of it
Once you have let your stakeholders know about the good news, you can go ahead and capitalize on your fundraising coverage.
- Post the press release on your website. Build a newsroom section on your website which includes all your press releases and a digital press kit.
- Post a great quote from a journalist or analyst about your product on your website and marketing materials.
- Measure the impact of your publicity in your presentation slides to investors. Track data before and after the publication and include all the positive ones e.g. increase in leads, sales, etc.
- Hang framed articles from a good publication in your waiting room and/or lobby. Do not hang too much though or you will look too braggy.
Once again, we want to remind you that all of the strategies above hinges on the assumption that your startup is ready and your goals are clearly defined.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know.
We always strive to Grow With Impact and are therefore open to learning.
Written by Orvin Hatmosroyo, Lead of KVB Co-Venture, Edited by Dian Noeh Abubakar, Founder, CEO & Inclusion Driver of KVB.