This post is courtesy of Rip Empson and originally appeared on TechCrunch.
October 16, 2012
Last month, we covered the seed funding announcement of AirPR, a platform that aims to connect small businesses and startups with the right PR representation. The startup is the brainchild of Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, a former EIR at Shasta Ventures and Senior Associate at Sierra Ventures and Rajagopal Sathyamurthi, who, prior to AirPR, was a technical director at Dreamworks Animation and a software engineer at Zynga.
When asked about his motivation for founding AirPR, Fouladgar-Mercer told us that the “PR industry is horribly broken” and that, throughout his time in venture capital, he saw countless companies struggle with sourcing small PR firms and “finding the right representation to accomodate their needs.”
Today, AirPR is officially launching its Match.com for startups and PR, peeling back the curtain on its PR marketplace for the first time. Essentially, AirPR has created a tech platform that aims to increase PR performance and remove the barriers that stand in the way of startups discovering and recruiting top PR talent to help them carry out specific projects.
It does this through a marketplace, in which startups and PR talent are vetted using its proprietary matching algorithm. Once approved, PR reps can search for projects that are relevant to their strengths and quickly create proposals to bid for them.
In spite of the reports otherwise, PR isn’t dead, but (to quote Frank Zappa), it does smell funny. Rather, it’s changing, because it has to — a conclusion supported by First Capital’s development of HackPR, for example. Hell, even PR newswire is making attempts to streamline the process.
Even so, when we initially covered AirPR’s raise, the reaction to its mission was polarized — both among the media and among PR professionals. Some were incredulous over the fact that the AirPR co-founding pair would presume to be able to fix PR without having spent their entire lives within the industry. While this might seem a valid concern on the surface, the truth is that there’s been little change in public relations space over the past 10 years.
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