Charting the future of public relations

LaunchSquad

Holmes Report

Holmes Report

As the name suggests, LaunchSquad devotes itself to helping growth stage technology companies build market momentum through strategic public relations. Founded in December 1999 by Schwartz Communications veterans Jason Mandell, Jesse Odell and Jason Throckmorton, LaunchSquad today is led by four principals (Brett Weiner, another Schwartz exec, joined in 2001) who between them have more than 50 years of experience working with more than 100 technology start-ups and upstarts across a wide range of industry categories and who share a philosophy that emphasizes hands-on partner involvement, account teams structured to the needs of each individual client, and a lack of hierarchy and bureaucracy to empower employees.
The firm calls its approach “handcrafted PR,” based on the idea “that every company we work with is as innovative and diverse in its communications needs as it is in their products and services.” So LaunchSquad likes to get to know a company by immersing itself in its business, challenges, team, technology, customers, market and competitors. Then the firm discusses, brainstorms, whiteboards and analyzes everything it learns and distills it into a story that makes people stand up and take notice.
Over the past 12 months, the agency has grown from 11 people to 18, with additions including vice president Gavin Skillman, a 10-year tech PR veteran who joined from Cohn & Wolfe and heads up the firm’s new east coast operations, and to an annual run rate of approximately $2.4 million. The firm added a dozen clients in 2006, including Jingle Networks, provider of the fast-growing new 1-800-FREE411 directory assistance service; SuccessFactors, a leading “software-as-a-service” provider; Adify and TimeBridge, two new companies funded by seasoned entrepreneurs, both selected to present at the Web 2.0 Summit’s Launch Pad event in November; and NewsGator, one of the most well-known Web 2.0 companies and key driver of the RSS revolution.
 “There are a lot of moving parts at NewsGator with different business units and initiatives where we’ve needed to educate the market quickly and put a stake in the ground as the leader,” says NewsGator director of marketing Todd Berkowitz. “LaunchSquad has met and even exceeded our expectations so far… What I like most about working with LaunchSquad is how much of a part of our team they feel; their senior members are extremely hands-on and actively involved on a daily basis, and I have multiple go-to people that I can reach virtually anytime to discuss activities and receive sound input and counsel.”
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