Diary - Fledgling Versata woos UpStart CEO with flower power

Some of these West Coast start-ups are taking the spirit of Valentine’s Day a bit too seriously.

Some of these West Coast start-ups are taking the spirit of Valentine’s Day a bit too seriously.

Some of these West Coast start-ups are taking the spirit of

Valentine’s Day a bit too seriously.



It’s no secret, of course, that new Silicon Valley-area companies are

practically falling over themselves trying to get the attention of the

best hi-tech PR agencies. But few have resorted to outright romantic

courtship - until now. Witness the recent experience of Emeryville,

CA-based UpStart Communications.



Last week, a messenger from a new company named Versata dropped by the

office with a dozen roses and an elaborate come-on: ’Dear Patty (Lund,

agency CEO), UpStart Communications is our top choice for a new PR firm

at this point. I know you’re busy, but I would love an opportunity to

meet with you and your company. These flowers are certainly not to

oblige you in any way. I thought I’d turn the challenge of getting your

time into a great opportunity to send someone flowers. In this

crazy-busy world we seem to be working in, no one gets enough

flowers.’



UpStart president Kimberly Fox painted Versata’s pursuit as a sign of

the times.



’I’ve been doing tech PR for 11 years, and this is a first for me,’ she

said. ’It’s a tempting time to over-commit and under-deliver - we’re

turning down five to 10 new business calls per day. We don’t do it

because we’re trying to protect our own brand ... but I can remember the

days we used to beg for budget.’



Alas, UpStart did not prove impervious to the charms of Versata’s

gimmick: Lund has agreed to meet with the fledgling company at some

point in the near future. ’We figured the least we could do was return

the favor,’ said Fox.



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