At First Round Capital, we build and deliver dozens of products, services and events to our portfolio every year - and today I’m excited to announce our newest experiment hackPR entirely new way for press and startups to connect.
Through building, investing and supporting over 200 companies, we've seen the disconnect between reporters and startups countless times. Reporters are constantly seeking interesting new people, companies and trends to cover – and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been contacted by a reporter/blogger asking me questions like “do you have any portfolio companies that have been sued for patent infringement” or “what are some crazy things that startup companies do to attract and retain good employees”. And startups are always looking to connect with those same reporters. These two parties often struggle to find each other and lack an efficient marketplace to connect.
hackPR is our attempt at creating a marketplace between press and startups. By giving reporters the tools to connect directly with companies and entrepreneurs, we hope to provide the means for more in-depth journalism while helping startups gain additional PR opportunities. Here's how we think it will work:
- A journalist will be able to send a request out to a range of startups based on size, sector or location with just a few clicks. Their request could range from anything like "I'm doing a piece on collaborative consumption, what are the startups I should profile?" to "We're doing a piece on college recruiting in startups - have any great stories on how you won a candidate?"
- Based on profile data that startups will complete, the appropriate startups will be able to respond.
- If the journalist is interested, a match will be made – and the responses will be sent to the journalist
- The journalist will receive the contact information of the entrepreneur – and the reporter can make the decision to reach out or not. (Since the startup will not get the reporters contact information, the reporter will not get spammed.)
This service will be available to any venture backed startup – not just the First Round portfolio. Like most marketplaces, scale matters and we think everyone will be better off if it's an open platform.
This is not a new idea – there are other similar services like Profnet (which charges companies to participate) or HARO (which is not limited to startups). But after using both of those services, I think there is real value that can be delivered by creating a platform exclusively for venture backed startups and the press that covers them…
We plan on launching the first iteration of hackPR in December 2012 – but be sure to grab your place in line as access will be opened very slowly to build the highest quality marketplace. We'll be aggressively iterating on our product as we approach launch – so if you're a startup or journalist, be sure to tell us what you'd like to see.
I strongly encourage any interested reporters or entrepreneurs to sign up at www.hackpr.co today to gain early access and help us beta test.