The last twenty-five years have seen a tectonic shift in the way the process of capital formation happens. Where core competencies in the venture investing world centered on gathering capital then, core competencies today have shifted more and more toward venture capital marketing.
The VC business today is an almost a taken-for-granted leviathan — the money’s there if a company’s technology and industry space are hot enough, and its management team’s aspirations are lofty enough. Their inner unicorn will be released as soon as they choose among the multiple term sheets offered them.
But as anyone around the industry will tell you, it wasn’t so very long ago that merely finding venture capital — any venture capital — was an objective that could only be accomplished with great difficulty and at exceptional cost. Before venture capital had achieved true institutional quality status — when the case had to be made to prospective institutional investors that yes, this venture thing really was a legitimate asset class, and yes, you really could add value and earn outsized returns by getting good at venture investing — all a venture investor needed to do to attract great deal flow was to assemble the capital. A big fund was in and of itself the best venture capital marketing a VC could do.
Marketing Your VC Firm Is Not What It Used To Be
But how things have changed. Today the Valley and the entire world feel like they’re awash in VC dollars. Suddenly your VC firm is in a brutal competition to make a compelling case to entrepreneurs about why their high-potential companies should take your money as opposed to the dozens and dozens of other firms that are aggressively working to throw term sheets in their direction.
As one Valley observer said recently, “It’s all about venture capital marketing now – the dollars are just table stakes. You’ve got to show what you know. You’ve got to show that that YOUR ecosystem is far more likely to help that company produce outsized returns, and you’ve got to find a way to demonstrate it in a way that everyone in this crazy place can understand it.”
So a venture capital firm’s brand, not surprisingly, boils down to this: Truth. It’s all that’s left. Why are you the investors that are far more likely to help that company hit its inflection point. What do you know that other firms don’t know. Who can you lay hands on and what doors can you open that others can’t. What similar paths have you walked, what lessons have you learned, how big is your brain, and how strong is your gut.
That’s your brand. And if you want to get deals done, that brand better make the case that “These are the people that I MUST get on my side, because they are the absolute monarchs of THIS well-defined space.”
That’s the state of venture capital marketing today. Does it all have to be true? Of course it does. With the intensity of information that now floods our consciousness, there’s no room left for anything but your firm’s truth. Want to claim expertise in a sub-sector where you don’t have it? You’ll be found out. Want to spin the portfolio in a way that’s not down the fairway? Same deal.
That leads to the single question your firm must answer: What is your truth? If you’re asked what your firm is the absolute zen master of, the space that you unqualifiedly can help dominate in a way that no one else could — what is it?
How To Market Your VC Firm Today
Marketing your firm’s depth is the absolute imperative. How do you do that? The only way to show that scope is to put it on display, through the creation of highly sophisticated content that shows both the enormity and intricacy of what you know.
Assuming your firm actually has that brainpower, that insight, and that depth of expertise (and god help you if you don’t), you need to be creating content that’s wrapped in the cloak of real authority. You need to put every neuron and every insight you can on display, and you need to do it in a way that’s consistent, sophisticated, and entirely worthy of the brand you seek to reinforce.
Practically speaking, publishing content on your firm’s blog is ok…but it’s just ok. And unless your name is Andreesen or Horowitz, your firm’s blog likely has neither the visibility nor authority your content needs to begin to make a difference in your firm’s deal flow. (Save for a few select exceptions.)
Your firm needs an ongoing flow of content that delves deep into everything you know about the industry sub-sectors you want to dominate from an investment standpoint. You need to know that this content is getting under the noses of the target audiences you want to reach. You need the content to have the credibility that major news and financial sites can bring it. And then you need to make sure, through smart targeting and aggressive social media management, that the lure you’re fishing with is ending up right under the nose of every fish you believe you’d like to catch.
The good news is that those national media platforms need and want highly informed expert commentary. The bad news is, creating content that clears that quality bar isn’t tiddlywinks — and it isn’t something you can show up and do once a quarter.
Clearing that bar is exactly what we help clients do at Deke Digital. By tapping into the unique voices and opinions available at your firm, we help to elevate your expertise to the platforms that count, and elevate your firm’s visibility at the same time. We know venture capital – it’s in our bones. We have extensive connections throughout the Valley, and it doesn’t hurt that our founder’s a Stanford GSB graduate who cut his journalistic teeth at San Francisco’s Chronicle Publishing Company.
We know how to help you transform what’s in your head and in your gut into digits. We know how to help you shape your knowledge and make it relevant for media platforms.
We can help you market your venture capital firm by getting you visibility on exactly the kinds of platforms with the exact audiences you want to reach. And we know how to help you activate that content to achieve the ultimate business objectives you’ve got for credibility and deal flow.
Interested in learning more? Contact us with the form below and let’s get the ball rolling.