Closing a venture capital (VC) investment is a big deal for any young company.
After all, less than 1 percent of all U.S. companies receive VC money. A VC investment represents market validation. An experienced group of industry veterans has decided that your company holds the promise and potential to make them (and maybe even yourself and a few of your employees) rich. They think you have an innovative idea, and their cash will serve as the catalyst sparking that growth.
Sounds great – and it is. Landing VC money is a huge accomplishment for any company that is able to make it through what is generally an ultra-competitive process.
It’s also a great opportunity to generate some media coverage, which for many young companies, will represent their first introduction to the market and first occasion to share their stories with potential customers, partners, acquirers and other investors.
The only problem? Announcements of VC investments happen all the time, so the media is not lacking in coverage options. To make sure your announcement about obtaining a venture capital investment gets noticed, keep these four integral principles in mind.
Do not withhold the dollar amount: If you’re looking to create media interest at all, I cannot stress enough the importance of including the dollar amount of the investment. This is a very important point for reporters who need some way of assessing the gravity of all the funding announcements they see. Obviously, $50 million will look better in headlines than $5 million, but $1 million looks a lot better than nothing. In my reporter days, when I saw a funding announcement without a dollar amount, it immediately went to the bottom of my queue of potential upcoming stories. Don’t fumble away this valuable opportunity by failing to get approval from your investors to include the dollar amount.
Describe how you’ll use the investment: All reporters expect that you’ll use your recent cash infusion to drive “growth,” but they’ll want more specifics than that. What are your key measures of growth? If it’s customer acquisition, what type of customers are you looking to acquire? If it’s employee headcount, how many are you looking to hire? (BONUS: Including potential jobs numbers in an area can help you get into local media AND aid in your recruiting efforts.) If it’s revenue, by what percentage are you hoping to grow revenue in the next year? Obviously, you don’t want to reveal any secret strategies to competitors, but your investment announcement provides an opening to begin shaping your company’s story and the way it’s publicly perceived. Do that by articulating a clear vision for the future that describes exactly what “growth” means to you.
Make sure executives are available for interviews on the day of the announcement: For the chance to pose questions like those mentioned above – plus plenty more – reporters will be interested in speaking with a top company executive, preferably the CEO. After coordinating key talking points with the CEO, be sure to coordinate schedules. As important as a funding announcement is, it’s not realistic to expect an executive to block off her entire day for interviews. But one or two decent chunks of time on the day of the announcement isn’t too much to ask.
Be sure to include investor and customer quotes: A VC investment serves as an important representation of market validation, and the funding announcement is a chance to shout that validation from the rooftops. A quote from the investor is a must, explaining why the VC firm thinks this company is one to take a risk on, why the market will ultimately choose their technology as a winner and what type of growth potential exists in this particular market niche. For bonus points, include a customer quote explaining (preferably with quantifiable outcomes) exactly how your technology helped them address a significant business problem.
Yes, it can be difficult to gain media coverage for venture capital announcements due to all the stiff competition out there. But it is possible to get journalists’ attention.
Drafting an announcement that follows the key principles above will help your announcement stand out while giving journalists what they want and need – a good, complete story to tell. And the same story that helped you win the investment in the first place.