I am a former VentureBeat writer and a current Mentor at the Founder Institute. I previously founded an angel-investor backed startup in Silicon Valley.
Publicize is a startup aiming to disrupt the PR industry. The company was founded by a former VentureBeat writer, when he realized that the PR industry’s business model was broken for startups. Their mission as a company is to change the way companies approach PR and the media.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is Publicize all about?
Publicize is a startup aiming to change the way companies approach PR. We provide a cost-effective alternative to the traditional PR industry for entrepreneurs and fellow startups. What we’ve done is deconstruct the PR process to its core essentials. Whereas traditional firms charge $10,000 or more per month, often with mandatory six-month retainers, we provide the very effective and efficient services for as little as $399/month, on a month-to-month basis. In doing so, we recognize the shifting needs of the innovation economy and the limited budgets that most startups have.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?
I am a former VentureBeat writer and a current Mentor at the Founder Institute. I previously founded an angel-investor backed startup in Silicon Valley, as well as a co-working space in Medellin, Colombia. I regularly contribute articles to TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, VentureBeat, and other leading tech publications.
Publicize started as Brownstein & Egusa, which was a full-service marketing firm that I founded in New York. I decided to pivot the company into the startup Publicize in March 2014, when I realized that the PR industry’s business model for startups was broken. My goal with Publicize was to completely change the way that companies approach PR, by offering an affordable and comprehensive service for budget-strapped startups.
Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?
Two of the biggest goals for Publicize right now are scaling our services to meet increasing demand, as well as initiating various projects that aim to give back to the media outlets and journalists that are integral to the success our work. The latter is especially important for us, as we believe that the integral role that journalists play in the PR process is often taken for granted or overlooked.
Q: What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?
Our aim is to eventually grow Publicize into a $100M startup. We plan to grow through improving our solutions by at least 10% every month, and by continuing to recruit a world class team.
Q: How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life though through an exceptional team. Normally when we have an idea, our designer first drafts a wireframe, then our developers bring it online. In the meantime, our marketing team finds a way to make it a reality at an operational level.
Q: What’s one trend that really excites you?
One trend that excites me is that today, we’re seeing startup hubs pop up all throughout the world. It’s exciting to visit these cities and watch new ecosystems be born.
Q: What were the top 3 mistakes you made starting your business and what did you learn from it?
The top 3 mistakes I made were scaling too quickly before finding product-market fit, waiting too long to recruit the best people, and not doing a good enough job of seeking negative feedback. From this I learned that every thing starts with product-market fit, however once you have this you shouldn’t be worried to find the best people and grow.
Q: How do you go about marketing your business, and what has been the most successful form of marketing for you?
Our marketing strategy is focused primarily on thought leadership. One of the ways we’ve able to do this is through publishing guest articles on PR strategy in various publications, including TechCrunch and TheNextWeb. This has been effective since it not only distinguishes us as a valuable PR resource, but also gives prospective clients an insight into our unique approach to Public Relations.
The most effective form of marketing for us however has been word-of-mouth recommendations from previous clients. We aim to provide a transparent process for our clients and this has been met with a very enthusiastic response, and has spurred many recommendations for our services.
Q: What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur – and why?
The top 3 skills would be being relentless, as there are always challenges along the way with startups, truly caring about members of your team, as you’ll need to recruit the best to grow, and a dedication to working hard, as most entrepreneurs I know easily work 6 days a week (and there is no off button).
Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?
We currently use High-Rise to manage and track our vast database of media contacts, and we use Basecamp to create a transparent space where our entire team can track each team member’s daily tasks and internal projects. I’m also a big fan of MailChimp for email newsletter, HelloBar for customer acquisition, and Wufoo for customer forms.
Q: What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?
Three great books are:
- Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
- From Zero to One – Peter Thiel & Black Masters
- The Hard Things About Hard Things – Ben Harowitz
Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” -Warren Buffet
Q: How can our community get in touch with you?
People can reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. as well as on LinkedIn