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Calling all Start-up Execs and Entrepreneurs

Proof that Early PR and Communication Investment Increases Series B Funding Size.

24 November 2020 by

 

New “Coverage to Capital” Report from Hard Numbers, Supported by CARMA, Shows Clear Correlation Between Coverage Output and the Highest Increases in Funds Raised.

 

Series B funding is viewed as the critical scale-up investment round. During the lead up to this point products and services have been proven in the market, there’s a customer-base in place, there may even be profit. What tends to be lacking is a significant investment in ‘paid for’ brand building, rather the emphasis is on driving awareness through owned and earned media channels.

 

This awareness strategy prompted the question; “what impact, if any, does PR and communications activity have on a brand’s Series B funding?”.  My Client Services team at CARMA, and PR agency Hard Numbers (both havens for entrepreneurs), joined forces to investigate. Using publicly available data, Hard Numbers researched all UK companies raising Series B funding in the last two years and then investigated the size of those companies’ first-round funding. This approach gave a sample of 120 brands that raised Series B funding between January 2018 and July 2020.

 

We then sourced online content generated by these companies across this two-year period focusing on UK online media.  Finally, my team of media intelligence experts interrogated the content to ensure accuracy in the data and analysis. While we appreciate the breadth that monitoring tools can provide, we know that accuracy and relevance only come from analysts thinking critically about the data.

 

The report’s findings show clearly that the companies securing the largest increments between their Series A and Series B fund raising also generated the largest amount of coverage, the findings are as follows:

 

**We grouped the companies into bands, based on the relative sizes of increases they say between their first fund raising event and their most recent Series B fund raise
High increase in funds raised – Companies with a funding increase of greater than 5,000% between first round and series B
Medium increase in funds raised – Companies with a funding increase of greater than 250% between the two rounds
Low increase in funds raised – Companies which saw an increase of 250% or less between the two rounds

 

The report also contains sector-specific findings along with comparisons between B2C and B2B companies. Threaded throughout are case studies from five companies that recently fundraised and who share their learnings about the impact earned media had on that process.

 

The report’s findings, coupled with real-world examples from high-growth UK businesses like Curve, Cytora, and Papercup make it a must-read for anyone leading a start-up or with responsibility for a start-up’s PR and communications; as Hard Number’s Managing Director, Darryl Sparey explains:

 

“The ‘Coverage to Capital’ report illustrates, when done well, the significant gains made by start-ups that adopt a smart and early approach to raising awareness.  For those in PR, marketing, and growth functions at any Series A funded business the report makes the case for allocating budget to PR and communications at an early stage. The emphatic message for entrepreneurs is about engaging a PR function early on. For me, however, the critical business imperative is to ensure that any awareness plan, objectives, and strategy fully align with the wider company goal, whether it be raising Series B funding or other top-line company initiatives.

 

Get the full report here.

 

Darryl Sparey and I (Alison Williams) will also be on a panel to discuss the report at the PRCA Measurement Conference. Joining us will be speakers from Curve and Papercup who feature in the report along with equity crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube. You can find out more about the panel here.

 

 

This research was conducted by CARMA’s Client Services Director, Alison Williams. Having spent over a decade in the media industry, Alison has become a trusted consultant to global brands, designing multi-market measurement programs for communications teams across traditional, digital and social media. At Carma, she manages a team of experienced consultants in the UK and USA, ensuring the delivery of measurement programs which are flexible, actionable, and industry-leading. On the weekends, Alison keeps busy running after her toddler, experimenting in the kitchen, exploring London on her bike and planning her post-lockdown travels.

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