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Wed 21 Dec 2016 02:32 PM

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Getting press for your start-up

Giulia Girardi, growth marketer at Equidam, shines a spotlight on UAE-BASED start-ups that are growing under the radar. The first four start-up founders from her list titled ‘Top 10 Undiscovered Emirati Start-ups’ advise fellow entrepreneurs on how to get media coverage for their new businesses.

Getting press for your start-up

24/7 Venues

Founder: Paulo Silva

Problem: A long-winded and tiresome venue discovery and booking process.

Solution: An online portal to connect event planners with venue owners.

Start-up Stage: Early stage/Beta.

Traction: Market validation.

Funding: Bootstrapped.

What tactics have you used to get more media exposure for your start-up?

We have reached out to individual journalists to “news-jack” and build-upon a previous article that they have written with further related content from our experiences at 24/7 Venues. We have also entered local start-up competitions and awards events, both to road-test our pitch and ideas and to generate media interest and publicity. Additionally, in the future we intend to create and distribute value-added studies, polls and infographic-type information, to help position ourselves as industry thought leaders.

Caption: Paulo Silva is the founder of 24/7 Venues.

Quick tips:

How to craft a compelling media pitch

• Research the media market landscape to find out who is writing about your industry, connect with them across social media to better understand where their writing and the market generally is positioned from a news perspective.

• Once you have this, keep an eye on their articles and when you see an opportunity to “news-jack” a theme or article, you should contact them with your article idea.

• Keep your contact correspondence short and sweet. In the smartphone age people are time-poor and attention span-deficient, so you need to catch their interest with something compelling and interesting from the get-go. War and Peace-style writing is for your memoirs.


Founder: Saab Somhoon

Problem: High upfront and maintenance costs for websites in the MENA region.

Solution: An affordable and easy to use DIY website platform.

Start-up stage: Validation

Traction: 2,000 users

Funding: Seed round

What tactics have you used to get more media exposure for your start-up?

We sponsor events in the UAE that focus on creative people and artists, who are our target customers.

Caption: Saab Somhoon is the founder of Zetoon.

Quick tips:

How to craft a compelling media pitch

• Do a proper research on which publication is right for you and can deliver the message to your target audience.

• Your information should be newsworthy and provide something their readers would be interested in reading, don’t just consider it as an advertisement for your product.

• Make the language as plain and simple as possible.


Founders: Prajit Arakkal and Richard Pakenham

Problem: Lack of affordable and location-based expert advice and services offerings.

Solution: An online skill supply and demand platform

Start-up stage: Seed stage.

Traction: Customer acquisition stage.

Funding: Prajit Arakkal

What tactics have you used to get more media exposure for your start-up?

We have used social media (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) extensively to gather interest in the angel investor community.

Caption: Prajit Arakkal, co-founder of Whizztip and Richard Pakenham, co-founder of Whizztip.

Quick tips:

How to craft a compelling media pitch

• Don’t lose sight of what problem you are solving with your business and make that the center of all discussions.

• Differentiate yourselves as much as you can – stand out in the crowd! People want to see disruptive, innovative companies spring up.

• Be ready to fail, for failure brings lessons you can learn from and make your business successful.

The Sound Gaarden

Founder: Zain Khan

Problem: Lack of an online platform for local musicians to launch, promote and grow their talent.

Solution: An online discovery and hiring platform for local artists and musicians.

Start-up stage: Raising a seed round.

Traction: 95 artists on board, 87 artists hired for events, and over 250,000+ views across our content

Funding: AJSM Investments.

What tactics have you used to get more media exposure for your start-up?

We have been media shy since we launched. We have kept media promotion in our own hands while creating some great partnerships along the way. We have communicated with some great people and companies, but let our work do most of the talking. We welcome more media coverage and would love for more people to reach out to us and our artists!

Caption: Zain Khan is the founder of The Sound Gaarden.

Quick tips:

How to craft a compelling media pitch

• Always make your work look beautiful. If you want anything in media you have to make sure you craft great presentations, have killer branding and interesting content.

• Know your biggest fans. There is a saying that having 100 people absolutely love you is much better than 1,000 people who kind of like you.

• Be consistent. How will people know where you stand in your communications and marketing if your messages, content and visuals change week on week? Be consistent in your overall tone, message and visuals, so that people can build affinity towards your brand. That will make you more attractive.

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