There is an unusual story out today about a venture firm retaining a public relations agency. Why unusual? Because a) it is not common for venture firms to have PR agencies in the first place, and b) the piece contains a paraphrased quote from Leapfrog Ventures’ Peter Rip that I’m sure he’d disagree with:
Peter Rip, one of [Leapfrog's] managing directors, said the VC business has changed so much in a few years that his company needs a marketing agency to help it find entrepreneurs to invest in.
While Rip undoubtedly said that venture capital has changed in recent years, and I can imagine him saying that a higher profile would help his fund find more entrepreneurs, I’m doubtful that he implied nearly so strongly that he needs a marketing agency to find investable entrepreneurs.
So, should venture firms have PR agencies? One first-tier venture firm sniffed at the idea a year ago in a meeting with me. “We don’t even put out press releases,â a managing partner said. People who need to find us know where to look and who to call.” While I think that it’s extreme and I generally think that most venture firms a) need to do more marketing and b) are hopeless at it, I’m still not convinced we are going to see a press of VCs becoming ad-firm clients.