Seldom has a sector changed so rapidly as hi-tech since the start
of 2000. First, the dot.com bubble burst as investors finally woke up to
the fact that many e-commerce ventures had unrealistic ambitions, were
built on shaky business plans and were unlikely ever to turn in a
As venture capital reserves were eaten up, and new funding became ever
harder to come by as investors ran scared, numerous dot.coms found
themselves in the unsustainable situation of bearing costs that exceeded
For some it meant ruin; for others a withdrawal from the marketplace;
for others still, brutal downscaling, with lay-offs and slashed
marketing budgets. For their PR agencies it entailed the sudden loss of
a client, or at best a scaling down in their communications spend.
Yet while some PR agencies suffered, seeing revenues fall due to dot.com
over exposure, the hi-tech league table shows that 2000 was a year when
many agencies registered tremendous fee income growth. For much of the
year it appeared that the malaise was confined to the
business-to-consumer (B2C) dot.coms, and there was logic as to why a
downturn should be so circumscribed.
After all, only a handful of dot.coms had business models offered
something groundbreaking. For the majority, the only substantial
difference between themselves and bricks and mortar retailers was that
the web was their main channel to market. Why should the travails of
such e-tailers have any bearing on the broader technology market?
Initially, the technology sector per se remained immune to the dot.com
shakeout. Hardware, software, infrastructure and IT services companies
continued expanding, with customer demand for their product
It meant plenty of opportunity for PR consultancies with hi-tech
But autumn last year was heralded by a chill wind blowing in from across
the Atlantic. Almost overnight, sentiment in the US, the world's
dominant technology market, shifted dramatically. Concern and caution
replaced optimism and aggressive expansion. Clients began freezing
budgets, mass redundancies were announced, technology stocks
Briefly it looked as if things might not get as bad in the UK. But this
was a vain hope. All that happened was that it took a little longer to
really take root in the UK and the rest of Europe. And it has not made
for pleasant viewing.
'Parts of the market are going through absolute carnage at the moment,'
says Firefly director Mark Mellor. 'We've had a number of clients fall
by the wayside. We have had three in receivership and we expect
'2000 will go down as a technology PR boom year,' says ITPR Group
chairman Bob Dearsley. 'However, 2001 will be a technology PR bomb year
for many unless they have been prudent with their choice of client.
Biting the arm off too many dot.coms who offered them business on a
plate will leave some PR companies with pretty severe indigestion in the
form of bad debts to come.'
Marconi's highly public difficulties, which led to the temporary
suspension of trading in its shares in July ahead of a profit warning,
illustrate that the telecoms side of the IT world is also less buoyant
than has been the case. Matters have not been helped by the huge amounts
some telecoms companies forked out to secure third generation (3G)
mobile licences across Europe.
Many, BT notably included, have been saddled with huge debts, which have
led them to focus on cost-cutting, sometimes to the detriment of their
marketing communications activity.
The Holway Report on the year 2000, produced for leading technology
sector analyst Ovum, indicates all too clearly a slowdown in revenue
Analysis of the financial performance of over 2,000 software and IT
services companies operating in the UK found revenue growth down from 25
per cent in 1998 to 9.5 per cent in 2000 - the first time growth has
been below ten per cent since the recession of the early 1990s.
There are still grounds for being positive, however. The B2B technology
market is in general fairing better than B2C - and businesses will
always need to buy hardware and software and to invest in their systems
in order to gain competitive advantage.
'UK companies have invested billions of pounds in technology to support
their businesses over the past couple of years,' says Text 100 UK
managing director Glen Goldsmith. 'Indeed, some have built their entire
businesses on technology - they've become dependent and can't just turn
the taps off overnight to save a few quid. So we must assume that the
technology sector will not experience recession, just a slowdown and
perhaps a welcome re-think about how it does business.'
Among some of the global technology giants the re-thinking process has
led to them consolidating their business into a single global
Firefly has been the victim of consolidation of this kind twice
recently, with former clients Liberate Technologies and Entrust both
taking the decision from their US headquarters to go for a global
There can be no argument that hi-tech is becoming more international,
pretty much by the day. While this plays into the hands of the big owned
networks, many of the mid-sized independents are fighting back by either
opening wholly-owned offices in mainland Europe, or by strengthening
their affiliate networks; Lewis, Johnson King and AxiCom - which has
recently opened an AxiCom Spain office in Madrid - are three agencies
that undertook these measures last year.
A third way has been mapped out by Banner Corporation, which has
recruited foreign market experts to work out of its Chelsea
headquarters. Banner had expected this set-up to appeal to smaller
companies without the resources to hire pan-European agency support, but
at a time of severe pressure on clients' budgets, blue chips such as GE
and Cisco have made use of it.
The growing influence of technology analysts on IT procurement - one
figure bandied about is that analysts influence 40 per cent of corporate
IT purchases - has led several hi-tech PR agencies to establish
specialist analyst relations teams to help clients influence the
business consultants and report authors at the likes of Ovum, Gartner
Group and IDC. Chime Online, which set up Insight Marketing and
Communications, and Brodeur Worldwide, which established its own
specialist technology analyst relations team, are two such agencies to
embark on this initiative.
Increasingly, journalists covering technology stories turn to analysts
for information and insight.
Perhaps the best news for agencies in these tougher market conditions is
that one of the biggest problems they faced last year has eased
Namely, a shortage of skilled staff. More CVs are circulating and the
upward pressure on salaries is abating as the balance of power moves
back in favour of employers.
Clearly, the supply and demand equation has altered so far as clients
and agencies are concerned. Not so long ago the best agencies were
cherry-picking the clients they wanted and fees were escalating. Now
clients have the whip hand and a tighter grasp on the purse strings.
While many agencies still expect to grow revenues this year, only a few
are likely to post big increases.
This cocktail of harsh reality and frugality has had an effect on agency
valuations, too. As Lewis chief executive Chris Lewis points out: 'It
has become a lot easier to acquire companies. Purchase prices have
tumbled.' For those agencies with cash in the bank or backers with deep
pockets, the coming year may be a good time to make acquisitions.
What else may happen? Well, even in harder times innovation is sure to
continue; that is the nature of the hi-tech. 3G, despite its crippling
cost to the telecom company licence buyers, should lead to a spate of
m-commerce and other wireless internet developments. Increased broadband
infrastructure penetration will add further potency to the web, helping
businesses with their extranets, boosting e-marketplaces and giving a
fillip to those surviving B2C websites that have got their business
Computers will continue to get smaller, faster and cheaper. Technologies
will carry on converging. There will undoubtedly be opportunities - even
in these more trying times. But what no one knows for sure is when the
boom times will return.
TOP HI-TECH CONSULTANCIES 1-50
Rank Company UK Hi-tech UK Hi-tech % Growth
00 99 (pounds) (pounds)
1 - Chime Online 10,203,950 - -
2 1 Weber Shandwick UK 9,259,410 12,128,844 -24
3 3 Firefly Communications 7,076,003 5,652,082 25
4 4 Citigate Technology 4,415,402 5,314,762 -17
5 5 Brodeur Worldwide 4,278,678 5,225,370 -18
6 11 Lewis Communications 4,212,659 2,690,606 57
7 12 AxiCom 3,811,934 2,443,737 56
8 6 Hill & Knowlton (UK) 3,732,486 5,014,999 -26
9 - Porter Novelli
Convergence Group1 3,480,421 1,398,317 149
10 2 Text 100 International 3,105,572 2,337,064 33
11 35 Burson-Marsteller 3,093,660 1,102,590 181
12 16 Kaizo 2,643,775 2,056,250 29
13 8 Edelman Public Relations
Worldwide 2,509,813 3,060,240 -18
14 - August.One Communications 2,484,260 - -
15 10 Grant Butler Coomber 2,377,620 2,735,290 -13
16 14 Beattie Media 2,375,674 2,360,000 1
17 20 Band & Brown
Communications 2,368,098 1,796,165 32
18 33 Nelson Bostock
Communications 2,345,496 1,137,436 106
19 49 Fleishman-Hillard 2,313,360 721,486 221
20 28 Companycare Communications 2,259,402 1,496,484 51
21 21 Banner Corporation 2,247,830 1,781,511 26
22 13 Bite Communications 2,217,908 2,382,844 -7
23 25 AD Communications 2,043,909 1,601,434 28
24 31 Roger Staton Associates 1,913,466 1,340,751 43
25 19 Noiseworks 1,899,126 1,804,029 5
26 17 DPA Corporate
Communications 1,887,726 1,972,092 -4
27 36 Johnson King 1,881,992 1,071,128 76
28 27 Strategic Alliance
International 1,728,142 1,506,635 15
29 26 Grayling Group 1,719,000 1,565,350 10
30 15 Ogilvy Public Relations
Worldwide 1,674,558 2,342,400 -29
31 29 GCI/APCO UK 1,628,200 1,483,424 10
32 - Midnight Communications 1,614,090 - -
33 24 MacLaurin 1,461,364 1,665,527 -12
34 22 BSMG Worldwide 1,433,537 1,767,810 -19
35 30 Berkeley Public Relations 1,429,107 1,385,938 3
36 34 Oast Communications 1,250,083 1,137,436 10
37 37 Portfolio Communications 1,224,010 1,011,118 21
38 43 The Whiteoaks Consultancy 1,215,828 813,539 49
39 40 Herald Communications 1,178,353 885,251 33
40 - Rainier 1,139,063 - -
41 - Eclat 1,114,652 - -
42 - Cohn & Wolfe 1,093,156 - -
43 - Mantra Public Relations 1,035,700 - -
44 - Biss Lancaster/Euro RSCG 1,015,353 - -
45 - The Euro PR Group 1,015,220 - -
46 39 Manning Selvage & Lee 974,400 906,570 7
47 46 Stewart-Muir Communications 923,599 796,053 16
48 - Multimedia Public Relations 854,097 - -
49 48 Warman & Bannister
Cambridge 843,180 788,840 7
50 - The ITPR Group 744,839 - -
Rank Company Total % Dot.com Staff
PR income overall %
00 99 (pounds) income income
1 - Chime Online 10,741,000 95 - 166
2 1 Weber Shandwick UK 31,929,000 29 22 419
3 3 Firefly Communications 7,076,003 100 19 113
4 4 Citigate Technology 4,415,402 100 - -
5 5 Brodeur Worldwide 6,112,397 70 - 83
6 11 Lewis Communications 4,212,659 100 0 73
7 12 AxiCom 3,811,934 100 0 34
8 6 Hill & Knowlton (UK) 28,934,000 13 8 368
9 - Porter Novelli
Convergence Group1 3,480,421 100 13 35
10 2 Text 100 International 3,105,572 100 5 57
11 35 Burson-Marsteller 17,187,000 18 23 194
12 16 Kaizo 3,281,775 81 1 48
13 8 Edelman Public Relations
Worldwide 10,457,554 24 2 124
14 - August.One Communications 6,210,651 40 1 85
15 10 Grant Butler Coomber 3,602,455 66 33 57
16 14 Beattie Media 6,604,528 36 5 107
17 20 Band & Brown
Communications 4,736,195 50 10 79
18 33 Nelson Bostock
Communications 3,127,328 75 13 48
19 49 Fleishman-Hillard 6,426,000 36 0 120
20 28 Companycare Communications 2,378,318 95 21 39
21 21 Banner Corporation 2,247,830 100 5 23
22 13 Bite Communications 3,539,403 63 17 54
23 25 AD Communications 2,043,909 100 0 25
24 31 Roger Staton Associates 1,913,466 100 0 19
25 19 Noiseworks 1,899,126 100 5 32
26 17 DPA Corporate
Communications 1,887,726 100 10 24
27 36 Johnson King 1,881,992 100 0 35
28 27 Strategic Alliance
International 1,728,142 100 0 20
29 26 Grayling Group 9,290,600 19 15 115
30 15 Ogilvy Public Relations
Worldwide 6,002,000 28 10 76
31 29 GCI/APCO UK 16,282,000 10 14 231
32 - Midnight Communications 1,614,090 100 0 39
33 24 MacLaurin 4,871,212 30 7 73
34 22 BSMG Worldwide 17,919,214 8 29 223
35 30 Berkeley Public Relations 1,429,107 100 20 28
36 34 Oast Communications 1,470,686 85 6 36
37 37 Portfolio Communications 2,604,277 47 1 42
38 43 The Whiteoaks Consultancy 1,279,819 95 0 24
39 40 Herald Communications 1,855,674 64 0 41
40 - Rainier 1,139,063 100 0 10
41 - Eclat 1,114,652 100 0 15
42 - Cohn & Wolfe 8,408,892 13 27 98
43 - Mantra Public Relations 1,035,700 100 24 25
44 - Biss Lancaster/Euro RSCG 11,281,698 9 - 156
45 - The Euro PR Group 1,664,295 61 10 23
46 39 Manning Selvage & Lee 4,872,000 20 - 71
47 46 Stewart-Muir Communications 923,599 100 2 14
48 - Multimedia Public Relations 871,528 98 0 16
49 48 Warman & Bannister
Cambridge 1,081,000 78 7 23
50 - The ITPR Group 744,839 100 0 15
All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000 Fee income = PR
fees + mark-up.
1. Chime Online (£10,203,950)
Table-topping brand Chime Online was created in March 2000 out of the
group of companies within Chime Communications that specialises in new
and emerging technologies and media. The core of Chime Online is
provided by PR consultancies Harvard PR and Insight Marketing and
Communications, together with digital marketing companies Blood
Partnership and Interactive Bureau.
Earlier this year Chime Online's PR offering was expanded, following the
incorporation of Landmark Consultants into the group from Good Relations
and a first foray into the US with the acquisition of Boston-based
technology PR company LNS Communications.
'Given the current economic climate, it is essential for tech-nology
companies to continue to communicate,' says Chime Online chief executive
Nick Taylor. 'The risk of cutting back on PR services is that the media,
industry analysts, channel partners and customers have little or no
information on which to base their opinions. So they speculate. And
speculation is rarely positive.' Chime Online clients include
corporations such as Cisco, National Semiconductor, Computer Associates,
Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens and Peoplesoft. One area pencilled in for
expansion is the recently-created analyst relations service offered by
Insight, which numbers H-P, Amdahl and Computer Sciences Corporation
among its clients.
2. Weber Shandwick (£9,259,410)
Last week saw the announcement of a global mega-merger with Interpublic
merging BSMG Worldwide into Weber Shandwick. The combined company, whose
merger completes on 30 September, will have combined hi-tech billings of
In 2000, BSMG reported hi-tech fee income of £1,433,537, despite
not having a dedicated tech division. The company currently handles a
range of clients including IBM, Sapient and Cap Gemini across its
corporate, financial and marketing practices.
The original Shandwick/Weber merger in September 2000 led to a
re-allocation of business elsewhere within the Weber Shandwick group,
and there are now three separate hi-tech PR brands operating under the
Weber Shandwick banner: Miller Shandwick Technologies - which saw the
departure of MD Kristin Syltevik late last year to set up her own
consultancy, Hotwire PR - Weber Group Europe and B2C specialist Red
Whistle, launched with Zoe Arden at the helm, following a successful US
debut in 1999.
According to Cathy Pittham, Weber Shandwick Technologies Brands managing
director Europe, who heads up the stable of hi-tech brands - it is too
early for the company to discuss the impact that the merger may have on
the hi-tech structure.
Pittham says technology PR income rose by 70 per cent at Miller
Shandwick Technologies and 20 per cent at Weber Group Europe during
2000. New accounts gained last year include Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi
Europe, e-tailing software and services company Blue Martini Software
and employment website Monster.
On a more negative note, business was lost when online gold retailer
Gold Avenue pulled out of the UK market and when broadband services
company Abovenet was bought by Metromedia.
'In the case of both Weber and Miller, 90 per cent of our business is
pan-European,' says Pittham.
5. Brodeur Worldwide (£4,278,678)
'The era of the technology turkey shoot is well and truly over,' says
Brodeur Worldwide vice-chairman Jonathan Simnett. 'The technology
industry is currently in meltdown.'
An 18 per cent fall in fee income shows Brodeur to be among those to
have been hit early by the changing climate. Some clients have scaled
back their PR spend and one, removable hard drives company Onstream, has
Happier developments include the establishment of a specialist
technology analyst relations team headed by Duncan Chappell, formerly of
Ovum. A corporate communications group with internal communications
skills has also been set up.
'Internal communications are vitally important now in technology because
so many people are being laid off,' says Simnett. 'But it's important
that these severances are handled well, because technology is so
cyclical that these companies may soon need many of the same people back
New business picked up includes sophisticated search engine Envisional
and wireless interoperability specialist Argogroup, for which Brodeur
has a broad brief spanning the development of a corporate identity to
7. AxiCom (£3,811,934)
Seven-year old hi-tech specialist AxiCom moves into the Top 10 for the
first time, following up a 55 per cent growth in fee income in 1999 with
a 56 per cent rise for 2000. Among the new clients driving this growth
are Linux company Red Hat & Symbian, which develops operating systems
for hand-held devices. E-skills NTO, a Government-backed body charged
with improving IT skills at all levels, was added to the roster early
AxiCom, founded by former Herald Communications consultants Julian
Tanner and Helen Ridgway, has hitherto shunned dot.coms in favour of
technology clients such as semiconductor companies ARM and Cirrus Logic.
The business has set out its stall to become an international player,
with fully-owned offices in France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands,
Italy, Spain and the US as well as the UK.
'Loose affiliation networks don't work,' argues managing director
'There's no authority and no control. If you can't control, you can't
9. Porter Novelli Convergence (£3,480,421)
The December 2000 acquisition of consumer-tech specialist Fodor Wyllie
Associates, which boasted hi-tech fee income of around £1.3m,
played a substantial part in pushing Porter Novelli Convergence Group's
revenues up by a fraction over £2m to almost £3.5m. The
transaction involved the discontinuation of the Fodor Wyllie brand with
agency founders Grace Fodor and Jean Wyllie taking the helm at the
Convergence Group as UK joint directors.
'We've noticed over the last year that the major technology companies
are once again consolidating their agencies,' says Fodor. 'Lots of
briefs we are getting are pan-European. That's one of the main reasons
we thought we'd do the deal. It makes a lot of sense to be part of a
group that has wholly-owned offices globally.'
Major wins for the Group in 2000 included networking giant Novell,
telecoms company WorldCom and electronic semiconductors business ADI.
Shopsmart ended its relationship with the agency, which was also left
with a bad debt following the knock-down sell-off of client Express New
11. Burson-Marsteller (£3,093,660)
Under managing director e-commerce and new media Jonathan Hargreaves,
Burson-Marsteller has shot up the league table, with growth of 181 per
cent taking it from outside the Top 30 to 11th spot in a single
The success is down to targeting key corporate clients for high-tech PR
initiatives. According to Hargreaves, what B-M excels at is offering
clients 'the big campaignable idea'.
Major B-M corporate clients such as Accenture and Johnson & Johnson have
turned to the consultancy for e-business strategy advice, while new
business has come from the likes of Alcatel, 3Com and mobile solutions
joint venture M7 Networks. I-syt, a joint venture with South African
company Unison, has been established to offer web development and
back-end solutions, and investor relations sites have been developed for
clients including mining company Anglo-American.
The hi-tech team has been bolstered by the arrival from Biss Lancaster
of Simon Milton as director specialising in new economy and innovation
and Tony Crawshaw coming on board from Shandwick as associate director,
'As a company we were never really set up to service dot.com clients, so
the effect on us of the bubble bursting is slight,' says Hargreaves.
'Client companies that were spending a lot on marketing and PR early in
2000 without a proper business plan aren't around anymore, which I think
is a good thing.'
18. Nelson Bostock (£2,345,496)
Although 75 per cent of Nelson Bostock's income is hi-tech related, it
also has a thriving consumer practice serving clients such as Bacardi,
Swatch and Raleigh bikes.
This, says managing director Martin Bostock, is a 'conscious strategy'
not to become a niche consultancy.
'The people who drink Bacardi are the same as the people who buy
internet enabled PDAs. You are talking to them through predominantly the
same media,' he adds.
Toshiba has been a client since 1988, initially with its laptop
computers but these days the agency is talking to consumers about its
DVD and MP3 players. Clients picked up in 2000 include wireless internet
product company OmniSky, the Independent Newspaper Group's iTouch
wireless portal, web streaming video on demand company Freedomland,
digital content re-purposing specialist Elata and Yeoman Group, which
has a wireless navigation product.
Bosch was lost when it decided to pull out of the mobile phone handsets
market. But V-Tech took its place.
Small B2B technology specialist agency Blink was acquired and its
founder Daniel Walker was made an associate director of Nelson Bostock.
This contributed to the 106 per cent growth that propelled Nelson
Bostock into the Top 20.
'We had a few dot.coms last year and a few fall-outs,' says Bostock.
'But where we really were was the serious side: the backbone, the things
that make the internet work.'
19. Fleishman-Hillard (£2,313,360)
With a 221 per cent leap in fee income during 2000, Fleishman-Hillard
director technology, media and telecommunications Jonathan Jordan has
every reason to declare last year a success. An expanded brief for Dell
and new business from a raft of clients drove the consultancy from 49th
spot last time around to a place in the top 20.
Among the wins were Nortel Networks, the platform independent mobile
transactions product company 7.24 Solutions, internet security
specialist Entrust and B2B procurement and systems integration software
'As good people are always in short supply, the biggest challenge we
faced during 2000 was hiring outstanding consultants to help grow the
business,' says Jordan. 'We cast our net wide and recruited not only
those who had strong tech PR pedigrees, but also those who had shown
success in other professions, including management consultancy,
advertising and public affairs.' But the heady growth of 2000 is
unlikely to be repeated this year, given the prevailing market
conditions. Clients are finding it tougher, among them PSINet, which has
filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.
27. Johnson King (£1,881,992)
Johnson King has been busily building a presence for itself abroad,
opening offices in Munich, Paris and Breda in the Netherlands. This has
enabled it to pick up clients such as Boston-based high-speed
communications systems company Quantum Bridge, for which it is handling
trade media relations across Europe.
'To have a European capability is essential,' says managing director
Mike King. 'The clients we are working for almost exclusively don't look
at the UK in isolation.' Whereas, about 18 months ago, around 80 to 90
per cent of the agency's clients were, like Quantum Bridge, US-owned,
now it is nearer 55 per cent, adds King. Most growth has come from
Significant wins in 2000 included Enterprise Ireland, the Irish
Government-backed body promoting Irish technology firms to the UK and
Interoute, which is building the largest fibre optic network across
Europe. NCorp, a database retrieval system that works 'intuitively',
joined the roster early this year.
'We've never moved away from the B2B focus we had. We never got involved
in the dot.com frenzy,' says King. It was a strategy that helped lift
fees by 76 per cent.
30. Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (£1,674,558)
It was a far from vintage year for Ogilvy. The agency's biggest client
IBM, for which it managed a pan-European network for six years, took the
task in house - and with it fees running into several hundred thousands
of pounds. The dot.com boom hitting the buffers also affected the
agency, leading to the winding up of its e-commerce division, with
former head Howard De Souza moving to take charge of the corporate
practice and taking some of his team with him. No wonder hi-tech income
fell a painful 29 per cent.
On a more positive note, UK managing director technology practice Simon
Quarendon arrived in March last year after selling his Words Group
company to Flagship. Client wins in 2000 included IT services supplier
EDS and electronic procurement and supply chain management business
An online PR capability, under Kiran Sharma, has been launched to help
clients in areas such as virtual press offices and investment has been
made in extranets to improve account management.
38. The White Oaks Consultancy (£1,215,828)
A 49 per cent uplift in fee income saw The WhiteOaks Consultancy break
the £1m barrier, assisted by wins such as outsourcing specialist
Director Bill Nichols says WhiteOaks 'sat outside the dot.com bubble'
but admits that things have been tough this year following the US market
'going off a cliff face' at the end of last year.
The business, which is headquartered in a Grade II listed Georgian
farmhouse in Farnham opened up a London office in 2000. This was on the
back of launching a majority-owned joint venture partnership with Deep
Group, owner of companies such as the award-laden new media design
Relish, as the joint venture is called, numbers anti-virus software
company Sybari among its clients. Its managing director is Suzy
In August 1999, WhiteOaks set up a wholly-owned French subsidiary under
Veronique Lurot and last year announced the launch of White Oaks
International, a network with partners in Germany, Italy, Spain, USA and
the Netherlands. 'The future is going international with the White Oaks
brand name,' says Nichols.
43. Mantra Public Relations (£1,035,700)
Formed in February 2000 by ex-Brunswick consultants Debbie Wosskow and
Laurence Dore, it took Mantra a mere ten months to reach £1m in
Wosskow, still only 27 was a former IPR Young Communicator of the Year
when at Citigate.
Mantra offers technology and telecoms clients a full-service, extending
from corporate and financial to B2B IT PR and consumer campaigns. All
staff have equity in the agency which is minority owned by two venture
capitalists: Longacre Partners, which is the corporate finance arm of
leading new media lawyers Olswang, and the vehicle of former Hillsdown
chairman Sir Harry Solomon, whose daughter Louise Solomon, an erstwhile
Dewe Rogerson consultant, sits on the Mantra board.
Wosskow says Mantra has aggressively targeted technology VCs, not just
to get their business but to use their connections as well. Among the
agency's first clients was Silicon Valley VC Benchmark Capital, which
recommended Mantra to its clients Flutter (online betting) and Keen
(online advice), who both hired Mantra. Other wins include Moreover.com
- run by Nick Denton, the influential founder of the First Tuesday new
media networking evenings - and online dating service Udate.