SAN FRANCISCO--Andy Cunningham, who recently returned to the PR world to head Bite Communications North America, has launched an additional new venture that aims to provide a broad range of marketing services and support to startup companies.
Cunningham is calling the new business Series C, in reference to the startup funding stage on which she is concentrating her efforts. The firm already counts 10 staffers and a number of clients, along with a minority stake from Bite parent Next Fifteen.
Bite, which already handles a number of startup clients of its own, will provide Series C with communications support. Cunningham, however, has broader plans for her own startup, in recognition of what she calls the “unique problems” that companies face when receiving a series C funding round.
“They already have a product and customers, and some degree of momentum, but their goal is to go public and it’s a big bet,” says Cunningham of startups at that stage. “They are generally run by the engineer/founder, who is good with the product and technology but not at all experienced in marketing. It’s a stage of the company’s development where they don’t have a strong marketing function.”
Cunningham feels that the situation calls for a three-pronged marketing approach, to help these companies “accelerate growth, scale the CEO and increase their valuations.” Accordingly, Series C will offer such services as product marketing, analytics and lead generation expertise, and will also partner with recruiters to help build internal marketing teams.
Cunningham is drawing on a 30-year track record in Silicon Valley, which includes handling Apple’s PR in its early years and, more recently, serving as CMO for Rearden Commerce. She joined Bite at the start of this year.
Series C marketing challenges, adds Cunningham, are not dissimilar to the issues faced by very large companies in a turnaround situation - “many are acquired by private equity and have a new CEO who has attacked all the other problems, but marketing is last.” Hence the presence on Series C’s client list of established telecoms player Avaya, which is joined by such startups as Net Power & Light, SoFi, Tendril and Sonics.