First of all, welcome to Press42, my new project. So, many of you wonder what’s Press42 about. For me, it’s been an evolution of what I’ve already been doing in the startup value chain. When I started doing startups 4 years ago, one of the things I saw after a while was that there was a huge gap between first time entrepreneurs and what was expected in the market. I founded Tetuan Valley as a way to help bridge that gap and it’s been working amazingly. While working on it, I realized that the next step for many startups was to get funded and/or get exposure to acquire new users. Nevertheless, what I found out was that, this next logical step, was extremely complex and obscure for many of them.
So I started thinking how could I help bring startups into the spotlight. I checked how the US market worked and compared it with the European landscape and I started seeing that the patterns were very different. There were two problems, one on the side of startups, but another very important one on the side of journalists/bloggers. I realized that, one of the reasons why many startups get low valuations and raise few money is because there is no buzz about them. If you go to Silicon Valley, you realized that the whole ecosystem has one single purpose, reverberate what’s going on there. While there are issues with that, there is one outcome that is genius and is one of the corner stones of its success, it treats startups like rock stars, giving them an exposure that transcends the Bay Area and spreads worldwide. That, my friends, is key for many of these startups. Investors, customers, providers, etc. know or have heard of these startups, even when they’re tiny or of recent creation.
When you think about Europe or even areas in the US, there is nothing like this. There is a huge problem of market fragmentation that affects communications. Reaching out and making your startup known in Europe is an excruciating task. It means dealing with over 10 different languages and many more publications, as each country has its own specific startup reference news outlet. Not only reaching out is hard, but a lot of startups just have no clue how to do this. Worst of all, they have no idea that they have to do it. As Mark Suster explains on this wonderful post, “PR is a process, not an event“. For me, many startups should be doing PR, even when they don’t have anything to show. I won’t lie, it’s quite a subtle art, but it’s extremely important. Problem is, for many startups, spending time doing PR is a waste of time. Now, trying to do PR just when you want to get something published doesn’t work either.
On the side of journalists/bloggers I also learned of fundamental problems. Except if you’re called Mike Butcher (Techcrunch EU), Mike Arrington (Techrunch) or Robert Scoble (Scobalizer) (yeah I know, there are many more, but for the sake of the argument I’ll keep it short), you’ll run into problems reaching out to startups. I have many friends writing about tech and one of the most common requests I get is: “Hey Alex, do you any cool startups in the X space?“. When I spoke with many of them I realized that there is a big issue for many of them. Those that write as collaborators don’t have the back channels some of the editors have, and that means, it’s harder for them to reach out to entrepreneurs. Not only that, there isn’t an easy way to reach out, without exposing themselves and receiving tons of spam press releases instead.
So, after all the research, I decided to build Press42.com. It’s a platform that puts in touch the right startups with the right journalists/bloggers across any language and country. Hey, you need to reach out to Germany and France to get your startup noticed there? You can. Are you a blogger that covers Android apps? You’re probably sick of getting iPhone apps press releases, well, with Press42 you can filter out what you want to receive. Do you want to build a relationship with bloggers and learn how to write a good story that raises the probability of getting published? You got it!
The project has many problems and issues that need to be address, but so far, all the feedback has been amazing. I continue to build the prototype and show it around to get it as closer as you guys want. Make sure you follow our Twitter and you become a fan on Facebook and please drop us a line if you have any feedback, suggestions, questions, etc.
Keep rocking people!