What's next for PreSeed Now?
...and how to pitch your startup for coverage
PreSeed Now is back in your inbox! Could you help it grow? Read on for more about that…
One of the things I didn’t expect about running this newsletter is how publishing during lulls in tech investment activity turns out to be bad for everyone - audience, startups, and my open rate - hence the break from publishing over the holiday period.
But worry not, I’ve been busy using that time preparing interviews with B2B and deep tech startups from across the UK (as well as having a horrible cold all through Christmas and New Year which cleared up as soon as January arrived 🙄).
Hello to everyone who has signed up over the holiday. In December, TechCrunch published a piece about what we’ve been up to, which gave a nice end-of-year boost to subscriber numbers.
The startup profiles return twice-weekly from this Thursday, but I want to use this first email to give you an update on PreSeed Now. I also want to provide a guide on how to pitch a startup for coverage, as it’s something I get asked about pretty much daily.
Growing this newsletter in 2023
PreSeed Now got off to a great start in 2022, prompting investors and founders alike to tell me things like “I’ve wanted something like this for so long!” and “This is the best writing about early-stage startups I’ve come across”. 🎺
Launching at a time when investors were becoming more cautious hasn’t hindered the supply of great startups worth sharing with you, even if funding deals are taking longer to close than they used to.
But investment is only part of the picture. PreSeed Now coverage has led to startups meeting new employees, opening up new business opportunities, uncovering new support, and gaining other media coverage. Thoughtful, well curated writing about the early-stage startup space has an impact.
So in 2023, I want to kick things up a level.
Building a media business
This newsletter is a one-person operation. Sourcing, researching, interviewing, and writing profiles about two startups per week is a time-consuming process. What PreSeed Now needs now is more focus on the business side of things. And while I can do this single-handed to an extent, it will progress a lot faster with a collaborator.
So I’m looking for someone to help grow PreSeed Now as a business. Revenue so far has principally come from paid subscriptions, plus a small amount of sponsorship. This year I want to:
Grow paid subscriptions
Experiment with other revenue streams
Develop relevant partnerships to grow the PreSeed Now audience and create business opportunities
If you would like to discuss how this could work, please get in touch and let’s talk: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to pitch PreSeed Now
As we begin the new year, we already have startups lined up to cover into the start of February, but I’m always looking for interesting companies to cover.
To help you decide whether your startup is a good fit, here’s what I’m looking for, how to get in touch, and what to expect:
What kinds of startups does PreSeed Now cover?
B2B and deep tech startups from across the UK. They can be at any stage from inception, through pre-seed, to the point at which they’re raising a seed round.
‘Seed round’ means different things to different types of founders (and investors!) in different parts of the country. I remember a startup in Northern Ireland telling me they had raised a £400k seed round - that’s firmly in pre-seed round territory in places like London.
It would be wrong to say this was about differing levels of ambition. A lot of it is just about labels, how you choose to think and talk about fundraising, and what other founders around you do.
So as I don’t like to define specific raise amounts to signify whether you’re a good fit, let’s just say ‘earlier than the tech press will usually cover you’ is the window we go for.
As early-stage investors are a key audience for the newsletter, we generally don’t cover companies that want to stick to bootstrapping their business, although there’s nothing wrong with that approach at all; not all startups need external investors.
Do you charge startups for coverage?
No. Charging startups for coverage would turn this newsletter into advertorial. That would be bad for the audience, because I’d be choosing the startups who pay rather than those that the audience really should know about.
The content would be far less valuable to the audience, and (perhaps counterintuitively) to the startups too. Paying someone to write nice things about you is far less impressive than someone writing about you because they genuinely find you interesting.
It would certainly be a simpler business model to charge startups, but who said media was an easy business? As with when you’re building a tech product, quality really matters in media.
Do I get to see a draft of the article before it’s published?
No. See the answer above: this is not advertorial. PreSeed Now publishes independently written articles about interesting early-stage startups.
If I gave copy approval to each startup before the article was published, I’d subconsciously write the articles for the startups, not for the readers. That would be a disservice to the readers and lead to a lower-quality newsletter.
Just be sure that, with more than 50 startups already profiled on PreSeed Now, and thousands of articles about early-stage startups under my belt over the past 14 years, I’m certainly not going to be writing inaccurate dross.
How do I get covered?
Simply drop a line to email@example.com with some details of your startup. It really helps if you have a pitch deck, a one-pager, or can write a concise description about what you’re building, why, for what market, and why you’re different from the competition.
While most of the companies we cover come through referrals (from accelerators, investors, other founders etc), some of the most interesting founders I’ve spoken to sent cold emails. As many a PR professional who has worked with me over the years will confirm, I DO read and reply to pitches!
When I encounter a promising startup, I arrange an introductory call or meeting, do some research, and then if it’s a good fit for coverage, I will schedule an interview call or meeting.
Back on Thursday
PreSeed Now will be back on Thursday with a profile of a B2B startup, and then a new B2B or deep tech start every Tuesday and Thursday after that.