3 Tips For Bootstrapped Tech Startups to Leverage PR in Fundraising

3 Tips For Bootstrapped Tech Startups to Leverage PR in Fundraising

3 Tips For Bootstrapped Tech Startups to Leverage PR in Fundraising

Admin | 15 June 2024

Development is often synonymous with technological evolution and in the 21st century, the term has broadened to give rise to cutting-edge innovation driven by originality, collaboration and experimentation.

Technology startups embody the spirit of innovation in this digital age, driving the development with never-seen-before innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. In 2023, India boasted 111 unicorns with a combined valuation of $349.67 billion. More than half of these unicorns (45), began as startups in 2021 and 22 started their journey in 2022. Their technological prowess, combined with competent PR strategies helped them to scale effectively, enabling them to streamline fundraising efforts. From the likes of Zepto and OneCard to CoinDCX, CarDekho and Digit - the technological innovation contributed to optimising India’s push to become self-sufficient, with one mutual aspect.

All of them achieved optimum brand positioning with favourable media outcomes and narratives. In two words, Public Relations.

A case study

While establishing a tech startup, many founders put PR in the backseat for numerous reasons. While the tireless job behind the curtains often ensures the idea of the particular startup is viable, potential investors are more interested in its worth in the public domain. For example, numerous headphones, earphones and wireless speaker brands like Sony, Skullcandy and others were operating in India in 2016. However, in less than a decade, boAt has captured the lion’s market share, becoming the world's second-largest wearable brand. Innovation and experimentation drove the Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta-founded company’s growth, however, it was their exceptional narrative building through adept communication strategies that piqued the interest of the investors.

This offers a classic case study for tech entrepreneurs with bootstrapped startups on the importance of PR in their business. For product & service-based tech startups, fund crutches are often normal at the initial stages. However, what sets them apart is their exceptional positioning in the public domain, achieved through competent PR strategies that lead to raising critical funds. Otherwise, as statistics suggest, almost 90% of startups fail to make it past its 10th anniversary.

PR is synonymous with fundraising

Out of the 90% of startups that fail in the first decade, an astounding 70% shut shop in between 2-5 years. Up to 29% of these startups are closed for fund crunches, failing to attract the interest of investors while competing with an overwhelming domain. What these firms fail to understand and often ignore, is that PR agencies are designed to take the task of establishing a robust brand positioning from them, something that leads to improved investor relations. From media relations and garnering favourable narratives to crisis management and investor relations — PR agencies offer numerous benefits that directly enhance the abilities of tech startups to garner strategic fundraising. Keeping all this information in mind, let’s look at three useful tips for bootstrapped tech startups to leverage PR strategies that can lead to fundraising.

Utilising PR to establish a robust brand identity

There is no dearth of innovation and originality in tech startups. However, most of these businesses fail to market their products/services properly, failing to garner a favourable customer perception of their brand. There are numerous brands out there whose offerings have the potential to transform their domain, however, the lack of sufficient exposure and brand identity force these brands to reach the pinnacle of their potential. Public relations act as the one-stop solution for these technology-oriented startups, enhancing their brand identity and making their prospects increasingly alluring to investors.

Founders must recognise that from a creator’s perspective, it is often challenging to educate customers about the benefits of a certain technological service or product. However, a PR firm is adept in crafting that narrative and garners favourable relations with all stakeholders — media, customers, investors, peers and others. The brand acts as the story in this strategic narrative itself, something founders are often unable to perform. However, a seasoned PR strategist is often an expert in finding the right chords to highlight the positive aspects of the brand itself, garnering favourable reviews and storylines.

Utilising the track record and credibility of a PR agency

While starting, technology startups often do not have a credibility or track record apart from that of their founders. This acts as one of the challenges of garnering fundraising opportunities. However, a PR firm’s credibility and prior record can be replicated to suit the requirements of the brand itself, when the firm’s PR professionals reach out to media outlets, consumers and other stakeholders on behalf of the startup. This exercise can prove to be fruitful to recognise the value of a tech startup, especially for investors, who often become attracted to certain startups through positive storytelling, interviews or various media placements. Angel investors and venture capital firms are often on the lookout for new startups that offer a bright future, garnered through positive story placements, robust brand identity and public perceptions.

Showcasing worth behind the noise

To ensure strategic fundraising, the most important aspect for tech startups is to showcase their worth to all their stakeholders, including potential investors, customers, peers and others. PR agencies hold a certain advantage to successfully achieve this. A proficient PR strategy can represent the brand’s essence by utilising its prior relations with media outlets, consumers and investors to highlight the qualities that make the startup stand out in a crowded space. It also offers added benefits like connecting the tech startup with a proper audience that solidifies the brand’s identity, helping it to create a pipeline to attract investors for fundraising. This also provides an assured way to long-term success and thus, continuation to become a unicorn in due course.

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