As a PR professional I am biased, I always see the importance and need for PR even when a company doesn’t. But with recent changes in the financing landscape for startup companies, not to mention the competition for funding, the consequence of not investing in PR may be far greater than the check you write at the end of the day. No matter how intriguing or “cool” your new startup may be, without proper communication and ultimately brand awareness your pockets will be left vacant of investors’ dollars.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on the lack of smaller companies taking advantage of mini-IPOs, better known as Reg A+ offerings. The Reg A+ rule allows for small companies to issue securities to the general public in an effort to raise capital. The rule change is something to be excited about, however the outcome of startups looking to take advantage of this practice has been somewhat disappointing. As the Journal reported, 94 companies had filed to raise funds under Reg A+ as of early June, of those only 45 offerings have actually qualified.
So what is the road block startups are facing? Finding investors seems to be a doozey.
Like I mentioned previously, being cool isn’t enough. Reg A+ investors are regular people, so your company is not going to have the opportunity to stand at the front of a board room and deliver your elevator pitch them. Leveraging strategic PR to tell a story and build awareness is crucial when seeking to secure funding from an investor who has endless options for where to put their money. When used properly, PR is a young company’s best bet for amplifying its story. Earning press coverage for securing funding is a start, but having a medium to talk about your mission and how your hot, young company is changing the status quo will take your reputation leaps and bounds further.
Young startups looking to steal the attention of Reg A+ investors need to prove that they are more than meets the eye, PR is your key to capturing the ear and trust of stakeholders. Remember, Reg A+ investors aren’t your typical VC or angel, they can be your neighbor, your colleague or someone you pass on the street. Making a true connection and earning trust of the general public is paramount to bringing in funds through the process of a mini-IPO.