Introducing Second Avenue Partners
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Introducing Second Avenue Partners

Founded in February 2000, Second Avenue Partners stimulates the development of early-stage companies through highly personal involvement in funding, mentoring and strategic counsel.

Paul Holmes

Founded in February 2000, Second Avenue Partners stimulates the development of early-stage companies through highly personal involvement in funding, mentoring and strategic counsel.  The Seattle-based firm is led by Pete Higgins, former group vice president, Microsoft Interactive Media Group; Mike Slade, most recently founder and CEO of Starwave; Keith Grinstein, former CEO of Nextel International; and Nick Hanauer, founder and chairman of Internet Media company Avenue A.  CVC Capital Partners (CVC Europe); Steve Jobs, chairman and CEO of Apple Computer; and Stuart Sloan, founder of Sloan Capital Companies, are strategic partners in Second Avenue Partners.
As highly successful industry leaders, the partners are driven by a desire to build strong, lasting companies.  With more than 80 years of operational experience, the partners provide hands-on expertise to entrepreneurs and offer guidance in the development of strategic partnerships and relationships critical in building successful companies.  Second Avenue Partners is redefining what it means to be an “active investor” in a company through their roles as value-added partners. 
In April 2000, Second Avenue Partners challenged MWW/Savitt to publicize the founding of the firm and to create name-brand awareness about the firm among its key target audiences: regional entrepreneurs/startups and venture capitalists, as well as to educate these audiences about the vision of the firm.  MWW/Savitt secured coverage in numerous key outlets, including front-page business section of The Seattle Times, and articles in The Puget Sound Business Journal and The Wall Street Journal.
MWW/Savitt developed a set of internal key messages for Second Avenue Partners that assisted in clearly defining the firm and its offerings.  We used these messages to define the firm’s character and brand identity in ways that created interest, excitement and buy-in among key target audiences.  Across all programs, we tied in a unified platform of key positioning and messaging statements via press releases, targeted pitches, and briefings. 
MWW/Savitt’s objective was to increase visibility dramatically in local media in order to support the firm’s goal of attracting locally-based entrepreneurs seeking early-stage investments.  MWW/Savitt pursued placements across a range of business, financial, lifestyle and New Economy media outlets including print, broadcast and online.  We successfully rolled out a series of media placements that established the four founding partners of Second Avenue Partners as sources for thought-provoking commentary on issues facing the economy and in particular, the greater Seattle region.  We effectively pursued articles featuring the day-to-day, hands-on role that the partners play in developing successful companies, as well as feature articles about new portfolio companies.
MWW/Savitt was retained by Second Avenue Partners to help the partners to learn to speak with one voice as a firm and to clearly explain the distinct mission of the firm to the media.  The general perception of the four founding partners was as highly successful business leaders, each with their own area of specialization, and not as a cohesive group with across-the-board business objectives.  As a new, small venture capital firm focused on early-stage ventures, Second Avenue Partners faced the challenge of differentiating themselves from other larger firms in the region, as well as separating themselves from firms that simply function as investment clubs. 
The planning process involved detailed research on over a dozen regional venture capital firms, reviewing the strengths of each firm’s portfolio and analyzing press coverage of each firm.
Objectives for Second Avenue Partners:
  • Differentiate Second Avenue Partners from other regional venture capital firms.
  • Position each of the firm’s founding partners as authorities and thought leaders in their individual fields of expertise.
  • Identify how the firm is redefining what it means to be an active investor and a
    value-added partner.
  • Explain how Second Avenue Partners combines the best qualities of VCs, angel investors and management consultants.
  • Define how the firm stimulates the development of original technologies through highly personal involvement in the funding, mentoring and strategic counsel of a limited number of early-stage companies.
Our strategic approach focused on building close relationships with Seattle-area reporters who covered in-depth financial issues and venture capital investing trends. Our strategy focused on garnering attention for Second Avenue Partners by highlighting the accomplishment of the firm’s portfolio companies, a strategy that enhanced Second Avenue’s expertise considerably. In addition to building a strong media relations component, MWW/Savitt positioned each partner at Second Avenue as an authority and expert speaker in a variety of public networking events where they participated in speaking venues, and panel discussions pertaining to venture capital trends in the New Economy.
MWW/Savitt secured over 60 interviews with selected media over a 10-month period securing approximately 110 media hits. In addition, we coordinated over ten speaking opportunities for Second Avenue Parnters, as well as scheduling a variety of media relations opportunities for their portfolio companies on such topics as The Future of the Wireless Industry, Marketing in the 21st Century, and How to Build the Foundations of a Successful Company, to name a few. The total program is ongoing, and has resulted in approximately a half million impressions to regional target audiences in the Puget Sound area, spilling over to several national venture capital media across the country. Second Avenue Partners and their portfolio companies have become a recognized name in the local, Seattle-based investment community, with familiarity growing throughout the West Coast.
All four of the Second Avenue Partners founding partners highlighted in full-page, photo spread in Town & Country Magazine highlighting Seattle’s most affluent and influential citizens.
Increased the amount of new business plans submitted by potential investment companies.
Pete Higgins, founding partner of Second Avenue Partners, featured on PBS’s Serious Money highlighting the founding partners and the firm’s expertise.
Weekly coverage in local Seattle media outlets.
Over 100 local, regional, national and international media hits.
Increased awareness for Second Avenue Partners portfolio companies in the local press, both print and broadcast.
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