In the tech PR field, we have an interesting and sometimes tortured relationship with VCs. Especially for those of us that work with startups, we value the financial muscle that they bring. We greatly appreciate it when they they introduce us to their portfolio companies.
On the other hand, things can get tricky when VCs try to micromanage PR programs, as I wrote in this post awhile back.
As a group, they have always seemed a bit impenetrable. Sure most of them are scary smart and understand all areas of business including PR. However, many have been reluctant to toot their own horns and use the tools of the PR trade.
This seems to be changing, according to an article in the NY Times yesterday, which highlights the success of Andreesen Horowitz (a firm that has not been shy about using PR), and the trend of VC firms to embrace PR and other forms of marketing. Here is an excerpt:
It wasn’t so long ago that venture capitalists kept secrets...Self-promotion was shunned [by VCs] as crass. Now, Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley is one long parade route. Venture capitalists are hiring full-time public relations experts to tell bloggers and reporters of their investing prowess. They publicize their every doing and thought on Twitter and in blog posts.
The self-promotion, branding and race to build an admiring Twitter following, people here say, is a symptom of the stresses on the consolidating venture capital industry...
But the biggest catalyst for the attention-seeking atmosphere, venture capitalists say, has been the rise of Andreessen Horowitz. The speed with which the venture firm — started by Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape, and Ben Horowitz, a former executive there — has rocketed to the top ranks has served as a case study in successful self-promotion.