Guide: How to announce an early stage funding round for Latin American startups
After you get an investment, you may want to announce the round. Depending on the round size, who you raised from and how timely your story is, you may be able to get coverage not only locally, but also internationally.
- Fundraising announcements can help give you legitimacy for clients, potential employees and follow on investors, but also can make competitors aware that you exist
- Most company should announce their round at least on their blog
- If your round is newsworthy, try to announce on a US platform like TechCrunch and a Spanish-language platform like Forbes
- Make sure you tell Magma so that we can include something on our blog and on Latamlist.com, the LATAM news site we run
- Create an article for your company blog, but don’t publish right away
- Give exclusivity to a top US journalist and pick a LatAm outlet to give Spanish language exclusivity
- Ideally, try to build relationships with journalists before asking them to cover your round announcement.
- Track the impact of your funding announcement, you can then use this information to adjust your communications strategy.
- Don’t expect an article to generate sales, and don’t be sad if you can’t get TechCrunch or Forbes or similar to cover your funding announcement
Most companies should announce their round, decide if you don’t want to announce it
Some companies prefer to stay under the radar. Others prefer to announce it. There’s no right answer, but generally we think it's smart to announce something, unless you have a specific reason for not wanting to do it. Feel free to ask us for advice before making this decision.
Some reasons to wait might include:
- We don’t have a website yet
- We are still in stealth mode.
- Our product is not usable yet
- We only raised a very small amount and don’t want to alert the market
Besides that, announcing a funding round can help a startup in many ways, including boosting brand awareness, attracting attention from potential customers, partners or investors, establishing credibility, showcasing growth potential, and attracting top talent.
We suggest announcing the round at least on your company blog and Latamlist.com, a LATAM tech platform that Magma runs. If you don’t want to share many details about the round, you can at least get an article in these places.
If you raised a bigger round or your company is newsworthy for some reason, you should try to get coverage in something like TechCrunch, Forbes or maybe your local news outlets. Besides a Series A sized round, newsworthy companies include famous founders, on-trend businesses and exceptional investors that the media would like to cover.
Decide what information to share
If you are unwilling to share the amount you raised and who you raised from, it’s very unlikely a top tier US media platform will cover your story. It’s likely not even worth trying if you’re unwilling to share details.
Why? Because these details are interesting and newsworthy. If they’re not there, the reporter won't have enough interesting information to drive readership.
If you’re unwilling to share the size of the round, sometimes you can share revenue or user numbers, but if you’re not willing to share how much you raised, you probably won't be willing to share your company data.
Also, make sure you are always transparent with your investors and angel investors about press releases. Sometimes angels don’t like to be mentioned, especially if they don’t have a close relationship with you, so would be sure to ask directly before adding their name on the press release.
Not willing to share information: Your blog, Latamlist.com or don’t publish anywhere
If you’re not willing to share your fundraising amount, you should either not do any PR, or only announce your funding on your own blog and Latamlist.com. You can try to get coverage in a local Latin American newspaper, but we believe you likely won’t get coverage unless you’re outside of Mexico and Brazil and there’s not many fundraising rounds in your local country or city.
If you won’t share how much or who you raised from, you need to have an amazing personal story, a reason why your company is really timely, or an amazing stat that’s not been published elsewhere that people will find interesting.
Willing to share: Try for US media + LatAm Media + Your blog
If you’re willing to share, you should try for US media like TechCrunch. Reporters are very overworked and overwhelmed by how many funding rounds are happening and the global nature of VC, so you need to have something more than “hey I just raised money,” until probably series B or later, when $10M+ investment amounts can force coverage because the amount is newsworthy.
At early stage, you need to create a story that will be compelling for not only the reporter, but for the reporter’s audience as well. Are there any big trends that you can talk about that your funding round hits? Do you have a great personal story that people will love? Do you have massive traction? Here’s a great example of DeltaX’s $1 Million seed round announcement that was published in TechCrunch, other LatAm companies featured in TechCrunch include Truora, Nuvocargo, Frete (former CargoX), Jefa, Vexi, and Mono.
If you have amazing traction or a very surprising internal statistic, you can use this to generate coverage or make the story more likely to get covered. Zenfi publishes their loan book, default rate and more on their website because they are a regulated company, so they are very happy to share their data: “It has distributed over $100 million in loans, has a 3.4% default rate and $10 million in annual recurring revenue generated from interest rates, small fees associated with credit score checks and commissions from the investment products”, this data was one of the reasons why TechCrunch decided to write the story.
On Zenfi’s series A press release, they were able to share some of their impressive numbers with the press, which helped attract more attention and interest in their business.
Sharing data is a double edged sword with pros and cons. If you don’t have amazing numbers or are in an extremely competitive market, you probably don’t want to share any of your private data. If you have incredible data, then you should pick the 2-3 most interesting stats or metrics that make you look good and think about sharing those. Please reach out to us before sharing anything publicly so we can give you feedback if we think it's a good idea or not.
Another good way to grab reporters’ attention and get more visibility in the media, is to include your investors’ names on the press release, including angel investors. According to Divibank's Co-founder and CRO Rebecca Fisher, “If you have star angels, or know that the VC's who are backing you have some top tier LPs, it’s worth listing them in the press release”, but remember always to be transparent and ask directly to angels and investors if they want to be included in the release, or remain private.
Give exclusivity: Reporters hate sharing scoops and old news
For most LatAm companies, you’ll want to offer a top US source exclusivity to publish the first article. You’ll also want to offer exclusivity in Spanish or Portuguese for each market you want to launch. Make sure that your LatAm news sources actually honor the exclusivity, as many don’t. You could screw up your US coverage if your LatAm newspaper publishes first and it gets traction online. Be very clear with your LatAm news sources that they are not allowed to publish until the date you tell them.
Give journalists enough time to write your story
Generally, give journalists at least 2-3 weeks of lead time to write your story. The more time you have, the better. If you think you’ll get coverage writing a journalist today, saying it’s going live tomorrow, they will likely ignore your email and they may even lose respect for you and be less likely to cover you in the future.
Journalists are not your service providers. Treat them with respect.
Build relationships before your round
Journalists love tips and insight. Interact with them on twitter, send emails, share insights so that when your email hits the inbox, they might recognize you. Don’t stalk them. Add your insights to the conversation when there’s opportunity.
Contacting journalists: Short, direct, great story with context
Your email should be short, ideally with bullets. It should make the journalist say “wow” and want to talk to you more, or cover your story. It should make them feel like they’ll be missing something if they don’t cover you, but it should also be 100% true. Why should they care? Why should their audience care? Imagine if you were not the founder of your company, what would make you say “wow”?
Generally, journalists are more likely to trust someone they already know, so a warm intro might be even better if you can get it. Reach out to your current investors and other founders on your cap table to help you with an intro. At Magma we’re happy to help our portfolio companies with intros to journalists on our network.
An alternative approach, as suggested by Frete's Co-founder and CEO Federico Vega, is to directly connect with journalists through your investor’s PR agency. You can ask your lead investor to introduce you to their PR agency so you can benefit from your lead investor’s reputation and PR resources.
Write a press release to paste below your short email
Make it easy for journalists. Write up a full press release with quotes from you and your investors and paste it below your short email. You can also attach a PDF if you’d like, but make sure to paste below. Makes it easier to see, and some reporters don’t like opening a random PDF if they don’t know you.
According to Federico Vega, before sending the press release, make sure your lead investors sign off on it, and ask them to add a quote on why they invested in your company. Also, get approval from the follower investors to use their name at the release, especially if they are well known funds or angels.
Make sure you practice in case the journalist reaches out for an interview. As Nathan Lustig mentions on his blog post How to Talk to Media and Get Quoted in the Press “Write down 3-4 key points that you want to get across and practice saying them concisely. Practice on your friends, family, in the mirror, random victims in the coffee shops/bars. Try reaching out to small blogs and pitch them your story. If you make a mistake or are nervous, only a small audience will notice.”
The less friction the better.
Here’s an example of an email I sent to get coverage for our last fund we raised in 2020:
Hi REPORTER NAME,
I’m Nathan, Managing Partner and cofounder of Magma Partners, an early stage venture capital firm in Latin America. Since 2014, we’ve invested in 110+ startups in Latin America, including Kushki, Nuvocargo, Frete, Truora, Ontop, Billpocket, and more.
We just raised a new $x third fund to continue investing in Latin America. We’re backed by 30+ LatAm family offices, 10 unicorn founders from LatAm, US and Asia.
We plan to invest in 50 new companies over the next 2 years to continue helping founders solve Latin America’s biggest problems.
We’re also using our management fee to build out our team to provide a platform for our startups that we think makes them more successful. We currently offer services like content market, design, communications and marketing funnel and more.
- 110 companies invested across LatAm since 2014
- Started in Chile after Nathan Lustig sold his startup and decided to build the VC firm he’d wished he'd been able to meet that combined the best of LatAm culture and US VC.
Hey REPORTER NAME,
Zenfi is a Mexican financial health platform with over 3m users that had previously raised less than $3M.
The product is a mix of Credit Karma, Marcus and Copilot Money. Since getting started 7 years ago, Zenfi has distributed over $100M in loans, has a 3.4% default rate and has the lowest interest rate for personal loans in Mexico. They're at $10M ARR, extremely low burn, and one of Mexico's best fintechs.
Think there's a story here about overlooked companies that just keep executing, along with the fact they can be profitable with Mexico's lowest interest rates. They're willing to share all their loan book numbers on the record. Think this could be a good story in a bad VC market.
Let me know if you'd be interested in chatting with Ruben, the founder/CEO
Hey REPORTER NAME,
Thanks again for the contact with XXXX for Zenfi's article. Turned out great. Following up about Vexi, which we talked about last year around this time for their previous debt and equity round.
We just led a new $8M round of equity. Vexi has similar characteristics to Zenfi, in that they've raised very little equity previously and have a ton of traction. They also have 2 female founders, one as CEO and the other COO. They lend to lower/middle class borrowers in Mexico and have some of the best rates for that group and have 100k+ clients.
Would you or XXX be interested in this one? No urgency to get it out, could be in the next month or so.