Startup PR: David & Goliath

Getting coverage in the press can be critical for many startups when they’ve just launched. It’s one of the most effective ways to acquire that all important “early adopter” cohort.

As these are the people that go on to evangelise your brand to their friends and family network and enable you to scale faster. All the big players in startup land understand the value of effective PR early on. Airbnb, Uber, Netflix. They all did it.

The trouble these days is that startup PR has become rather elitist. Leading tech publications like Techcrunch only tend to cover startup funding rounds, and large ones at that. You can see the last 3 Africa-focussed stories on Techcrunch were all related to funding with the minimum round being $9 million.

Far larger than the average funding round on the continent which in 2020 was around $1.7 million. It’s almost impossible to get your startup a mention on Techcrunch without having closed a mega round from Sandhill Road’s finest.

And people are starting to call it out. Last month, startup stalwart and founder of Microacquire, Andrew Gazdecki made the following tongue-in-cheek tweet.

He followed up with a few more tweets like this one:

And this one:

TechCrunch didn't respond and rather than continuing to share what the entire startup community is thinking Andrew took action and actually did something about it. He launched his own publication called Bootstrappers.

Bootstrapped startups are undoubtedly an under-represented startup category in today’s media. They most certainly deserve a larger share-of-voice. These are self-funded companies which have to turn a profit from very early on if they are to survive - a stark contrast to some modern tech unicorns who have raised hundreds of millions of dollars but are yet to be profitable.

Thankfully, on the African continent we still have tech publisher sites like Disrupt Africa and Techpoint Africa which cover startups of all sizes, both bootstrapped and funded. Long may this continue, otherwise Africa may have to launch its own version of Bootstrappers in years to come.

In the news 🚀

🇲🇦 Moroccan B2B e-commerce app, Chari.ma, has closed a round of funding and announced the acquisition of mobile credit book application Karny.ma.

🇳🇬 Nigerian B2B marketplace startup, Sabi, has secured a seed funding round as it surpasses the milestone of over 150K SMB’s on its platform. 

🇸🇳 Ride-hailing service Kai Senegal has secured seed funding from Mobility 54, the corporate venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho Corporation, to help it scale.

🇷🇼 Rwandan medtech startup, Viebeg, has raised a pre-seed round funding to help it expand across the continent.