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Startup

President Obama Wants to Help You Pitch Your Startup Clients


Well, not really. No need to break out those 1984 ”Big Brother” references today.

The most important takeaway from the president’s video address to the  4th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia last week is that nonprofit Up Global will partner with the State Department to ”establish entrepreneurship programs in 1,000 cities around the world by 2016″ with the goal of helping the most innovative startups succeed via tutorials, “corporate connections” and exposure in Startup Digest.

What does that mean for startup PR? Well, the fact that your client’s founders participated in one of these programs will certainly make for a stronger pitch, won’t it?

A New Trend in Successful Startup Pitches: Anonymity!

Given recent reports about the NSA‘s ability to foil pretty much any form of privacy encryption/ protection on the Web and the lengths to which Americans go to (unsuccessfully) erase their digital footprints, we’re not surprised to learn that startups promising online anonymity have been doing quite well on the fundraising and earned media fronts.

Beyond the success of Snapchat and Bitcoin, tech writers and investors are paying more attention to “anonymous” apps and networks like Spraffl, The Story Vine, PriveyoDuckDuckGo and, most recently, Whisper. This app, which just raised a good bit of money, gives users the power to share photos and text completely anonymously with a growing digital community that’s interested in this sort of thing. Sounds like a high school goth message board to us, but we get the “morbid curiosity” angle.

What we’re saying is: this theme would make a great topical pitch to any major tech or business publication. Hint, hint.

Founder of Ogilvy’s ‘Espresso’ Unit Discusses PR Challenges for Startups

This week Ogilvy won headlines by announcing the creation of Espresso, a “service offering” designed to cater exclusively to the startup set. We were interested in learning more about the techies who create some of our favorite apps and other digital toys, so yesterday we spoke to Luca Penati, Espresso founder and head of Ogilvy’s technology practice, for the inside angle.

What unique business and PR challenges do startups face? 

Growth. Specifically, they need rapid growth on a limited timeline, and only exposure can help them achieve that growth with limited resources. It’s very important for them to do the right thing at the right time, because while bigger companies have the leeway to experiment, startups have only one shot at getting it right.

Even if you have a unique story it’s a struggle to get that exposure. And many startups were built by engineers who are brilliant but have a hard time telling their story.

How important is the origin story? 

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Chirpify Empowers Non-Profit Fans to Donate Directly via Facebook Comments

Earlier this week our sister site SocialTimes reported on a development that could be good news for SM-savvy non-profits: two services have joined to make donation as easy as clicking “reply” or posting a comment.

Transaction startup Chirpify launched in February 2012 but made headlines with a new round of funding last month. As TechCrunch notes, its selling point is not entirely new: several competitors already allow consumers to buy things by replying to tweets (after allowing PayPal or another similar service to connect to their Twitter accounts, of course). The model works for everything from downloads and digital subscriptions to clothes and concert tickets.

This week, however, Chirpify revealed plans to expand its existing presence in the non-profit space by partnering with Greater Giving, a PayPal equivalent dealing exclusively with charity organizations.

The deal: one of Greater Giving’s non-profit partners (which include DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, Metropolitan Performing Arts Academy, Stiletto Stampede, and The Shade Project) posts a message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. After they’ve enabled Chirpify, fans who want to donate can simply reply or comment with “donate” or another designated keyword. Here’s an early adopter you might recognize:

And here’s a slightly different client:

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Cities Worldwide Address Urban Issues Using Digital Technology

New Yorkers have often heard about Mayor Michael Bloomberg traveling domestically and overseas to meet with city leaders to compare notes on urban innovation projects. On Monday during the first day of Internet Week, representatives from a dozen cities around the globe, including New York, convened on the Mayor’s home turf.

The officials appeared at the symposium to describe their initiatives for improving their residents’ lives using digital technology. These represent quality of life and business issues rather than the most pressing urban problems. Each speaker was allotted only ninety seconds, so here’s a brief snapshot:

New York City: Last year the Big Apple launched its Made in NY website to promote local entrepreneurship. Since then they’ve expanded the effort with increased access to workspaces, partnerships with academic institutions as well as other programs and competitions to assist startups.

Boston: launched its Street Bump app, a citizen enabled sensing device for potholes. This project was introduced following extensive road construction, including the Big Dig tunnel project that lasted several years and took its toll on locals’ automobiles.

Philadelphia: The PHL program is a social enterprise partnership with funding from Michael Bloomberg. The civic challenge asks entrepreneurs to identify, select and pilot new programs that solve a host of local issues.

Chicago: Mayor Emmanuel’s ‘Broadband Challenge’ is aimed at improving the city’s fiber network by offering free wi-fi and low cost connectivity. The process even involved updating the sewer network infrastructure.

Quebec City: The Canadian city has its own social network and also has the capability for residents to send personal text messages to help with snow removal. That way they don’t ended up stranded in their cars during snowstorms.

Ottawa: The Canadian city encourages citizen engagement and government transparency. Through an open source website, the public has access to all data. The Apps4 Ottawa open data contest rewards developers who create the most valuable uses and visualizations of the open source data.

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Elevator Pitch: ‘Burn Note’ Keeps Private Messages Private

Remember on “Mission Impossible” when messages would self destruct after an agent listened to them? In this episode of “Elevator Pitch,” Alan Meckler speaks with Jacob Robbins about his startup “Burn Note.”

“Burn Note” allows you to send a secure email and set a timer to destroy the message after it’s read…forever…without all the smoke and drama.

For more videos, check out mediabistroTV, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

New Show! Elevator Pitch Fast Forward: I-Ella

They came on the mediabistroTV series “Elevator Pitch” hoping someone would take a chance on their ideas. In our new show, “Elevator Pitch Fast Forward,” host Alan Meckler checks up on the new business owners to see how they’re doing.

In our first episode, we dropped in on I-Ella CEO and founder, Ella Gorgla to see where the fashion insider’s marketplace is today. Gorgla showed us how giving clients a red carpet experience put new life into her business. She also gave “Elevator Pitch” hopefuls some solid advice to make sure their startups never go out of style.

For more videos, check out mediabistroTV, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

UK Firm Creates Its Own ‘Kickstarter PR Division’

Kickstarter BadgeHere’s an interesting piece of news via PR Week: UK firm Dynamo, which specializes in promoting consumer tech, mobile and digital brands, has launched an internal division exclusively dedicated to projects launched via crowdsourced fundraising platform Kickstarter.

The company decided to create this division (homepage here) after its success promoting the 3Doodler, or the “world’s first 3D pen”. The project raised $2 million in less than a month, and Dynamo hopes to help other tech innovators reach their goals via media exposure.

We have a feeling that many Kickstarter entrepreneurs are too economically challenged to afford proper PR services even after they raise the money they need, but we think you’ll agree that this is a very cool idea.

Now here’s the 3Doodler’s promo video:

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‘The Startup Legitimizer’: Instant PR!

The Startup LegitimizerSometimes the key for a startup or other new business venture looking to break out can be a single article in a big-name magazine or newspaper. What startup founder looking for “Angel investors” wouldn’t want to say “did you see us in the Wall Street Journal?”

Of course, in order to receive such press mentions, businesses usually require the services of people called publicists or PR professionals who specialize in pitching the story of the scruffy startup to big name glossies, trade papers–or even lowly blogs like ours!

But for those who want to get all those press mentions on your website without actually, you know, doing the work, we present The Startup Legitimizer–a single webpage that can fill all your startup PR needs with a few simple clicks. Which publications would give your cred the biggest boost? The New York Times? TechCrunch? BuzzFeed? TED Talks?!

These famous names, divided into the “kind of legit” and “really legit” categories, even come in pre-organized bundles like “innovators” and “game changers”, which are totally different things. Just choose your favorites, copy and paste the HTML code and say goodbye to pesky PR flacks forever! Check us out!

(Just kidding. Startups absolutely should invest in PR services. And thanks to Digiday for the tip.)

OpenTable Acquires Foodspotting, Encourages Users to Keep Playing With Their Dinner

Last week we told you that some fancy-pants New York City restaurants have begun pushing back against the “Instagramming your meal” trend by discouraging amateur photographers from breaking out their iPhones during dinner. Yet some within the food business have other ideas: Leading restaurant reservations app/site OpenTable just bet $10 million on user-generated content by acquiring Foodspotting, a startup designed to help users “find and [share] great dishes at restaurants.”

In case you haven’t seen Foodspotting, it’s a fairly inventive little app that allows users to search for, say, New York City’s best cheesecake (which isn’t at Junior’s, no matter how many people tell you otherwise) and displays other users’ shared photos of said cake. It’s a purely visual food community that’s about to get even bigger–and this means that the “playing with our food” debate won’t be over anytime soon, no matter what David Chang thinks.

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