SAN FRANCISCO: Following the ’PR incubator’ model forged by Palo Alto’s SparkPR, a trio of Schwarz Communications execs have jumped ship to open LaunchPod, an agency focused strictly on launching hi-tech start-ups.
SAN FRANCISCO: Following the ’PR incubator’ model forged by Palo
Alto’s SparkPR, a trio of Schwarz Communications execs have jumped ship
to open LaunchPod, an agency focused strictly on launching hi-tech
The firm, which opened for business in San Francisco last week, will
cater to pre-IPO, venture-backed companies in the hi-tech hotbeds of
Silicon Valley and Seattle. Like Spark, LaunchPod will also work for a
combination of cash and equity, and plans to turn over clients to larger
agencies once they have moved beyond launch stage.
According to principal Jesse Odell, what sets LaunchPod apart is its
exclusive focus on PR virgins: ’Our motto is ’Telling stories that have
never been told before.’’
To be sure, Odell and partners Jason Mandell and Jason Throckmorton
bring plenty of experience with emerging companies to the table.
Collectively, their previous clients include Lycos and Digital
LaunchPod also has the backing of some of Silicon Valley’s top VC firms,
such as Fisher Jurvetson and Trinity Ventures. Such tight VC
relationships are known to provide a direct pipeline to big-budget new
’These guys have the portfolio and expertise to become the PR ’guns for
hire’ for the handful of companies that we choose to invest in every
year,’ said Noel Fenton, a general partner at Trinity.
The emergence of firms such as Spark and LaunchPod has led some to
ponder whether traditional agencies are nimble and entrepreneurial
enough to compete on the dot-com playing field. The opportunity to cull
equity in rising Internet stars has led some larger tech firms (such as
The Weber Group) to break out subsidiary companies focusing on this
model, while others are content to pick up where the launch-oriented
firms leave off, adding companies after the PR infrastructure and
groundwork has been laid.