How Venture Capitalists and Startups Can Cross-Promote Each Other
VCs and their portfolio companies tend to promote each other around big announcements (funding, acquisitions, etc.), but that mutual promotion sometimes drops off. While each group promotes each other via word-of-mouth, there are numerous marketing opportunities available as well.
Cross-promoting is an excellent way to help both parties gain credibility, increase brand awareness, and get the attention of more (and larger) investors or partners.
There are many ways companies and their investors can work together and cross-promote each other. For example, VCs can do a Q&A with founders on their website or blog, or they can do something as simple as including the startup on the portfolio page of their website. By collaborating, both parties can help each other meet their goals.
Here are five strategies startups and VCs can use to cross-promote each other even when there’s not a big announcement.
1. Present live Q&A sessions
VCs can host live Q&A discussions with founders to offer advice, strategies, or best practices in different industries. This can take place via webinars or social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn Live, which will be coming soon. VCs can also post Q&A sessions with founders on their website or blog. Both parties should promote the Q&As on their websites, newsletters, and social channels.
Parallel18, for example, interviews subject matter experts on its video series called Mentored that airs live on Facebook several times a month. Episodes offer advice to entrepreneurs on topics ranging from pitching and financing to business operations and SEO strategies.
Streaming live interviews (or even posting pre-recorded interviews) with founders is an engaging way for both VCs and startups to demonstrate their expertise and gain credibility.
2. Share each other’s updates
VCs and startups should stay connected and let each other know when they have news. They can then share each other’s updates, such as company announcements or events, via their email newsletters and social networks.
This process doesn’t have to be very hard. VCs could create a Twitter list, for example, and put all of their portfolio companies in it. Scanning a few times a week, the VC group can Retweet news from this group, making sure to share when the portfolio company has a new feature or media interview.
3. Host in-person events or meetups
While there are numerous opportunities for cross-promoting online, investors and founders can link up to host physical functions, such as founder meet and greets, fireside chats, workshops, and other events. They can also leverage each other’s networks and increase their reach by promoting these events through both the VC and the startup’s websites, social networks, and newsletters.
Velocity Network tries to make the relationship between senior IT executives and tech founders easier. These sessions, based in NYC, consistent of informal lunches and pitches, as well as one-on-one sessions between emerging technology companies and corporate executives.
4. Make the relationship well-known
While many startups display their relationship with investors, some VCs are too busy to keep their portfolio pages updated. When a VC invests in a new startup, both the startup and the VC should share the news via each other’s email newsletters, social accounts, a blog post on both websites, a press release, etc. Publishing a story about the relationship helps both VCs and startups get their names in front of potential partners and investors.
First Round Capital, for example, dedicates a portfolio page on its website to the startups it funds. The investment firm lists each company with details like its CEO and location and links to their website. Visitors can search by location or category, such as fintech, consumer, or healthcare to filter through companies. Likewise, startups should display the VC logo on their websites to make the relationship clear to anyone researching either party. Displaying the relationship helps both parties build credibility by association.
5. Conduct interviews via podcasts
Podcast listenership is steadily growing. According to Edison Research, the total number of people in the US who have ever listened to a podcast passed 50% for the first time. Similar to hosting live video Q&A sessions, VCs and startups can interview one another and share stories via audio.
Crossing Borders, for example, is a podcast by Nathan Lustig (Managing Partner of Magma Partners) that shares the stories of top entrepreneurs in their portfolio, as well as other startups and investors, focusing mostly on companies or experts that have ties to Latin America.
Excellent results can happen when startups and their investors take on marketing together. By featuring their funded founders, VCs can stand out in a saturated investment market and attract other potential startups. Likewise, startups that cross-promote their investors can gain the attention of other potential partners and investors. Both startups and VCs can build trust with their audiences when they partner together for cross-promotions.
If you’re a VC or startup that’s ready to make a big announcement (or a joint announcement), check out our eBook on 50+ Public Relations Hacks.