How to build a lasting media footprint as an early stage startup
Early stage #scienceTech Labstep goes from no press to TechCrunch, Fortune TermSheet and more
Founded by Forbes 2018 – 30 under 30 co-Founders Jake Schofield and Jan Domanski, Labstep is a London-based #ScienceTech startup that wants to become the default platform for scientific experimentation.
The company captures real-time scientific process data that lets researchers provide a shareable timeline of a lab’s activity. Labstep is addressing a sizable challenge as research shows that scientific researchers spend 50% of their research time to create annotations and recaps of recipes and experiments; Labstep has saved researchers an estimated £33M so far from recording and sharing experimentations on the platform.
When Labstep approached ThirdEyeMedia in the late Spring of 2018, they had recently received £500,000 in funding from Seedcamp, the top London based early stage VC firm, but unfortunately, even despite the distinguished backer, they had not succeeded in securing coverage for their early stage funding announcement.
Labstep was disappointed and wanted to find a way to share this milestone publicly, and to secure some coverage for their startup at a crucial time of their growth in order to attract talent and get on the radar of London and Europe’s venture capital firms for future rounds.
In speaking with Jake, ThirdEyeMedia discovered that the platform had quietly signed up over 2,500 users from over 600 universities globally including Oxford, Stanford, Harvard and MIT and was growing 10% month on month completely organically. Time spent using Labstep has soared 400% month in the last 3 months. Labstep was fixing a tangible problem.
We realized that although the funding announcement may not have been strong enough of a differentiator in such a crowded market, Labstep had secured significant partners at a very early stage, and succeeded in developing a solid user growth organically. Based on this, ThirdEyeMedia recommended a targeted media and influencer program based on:
- Launch and activation of Labstep’s key social media channels to address Labstep’s key audience of scientist and researchers as well as signal activity and growth to existing and potential investors.
- A company and CEO profiling program with specialized tech and scientific press to start creating a voice and face for the company in the press, as well as generating the company’s very first media footprint.
- Revisiting the fundraise announcement once a few articles had been published, which would signal to VC reporters that the product and idea had overcome the proof of concept phase, since it had secured profilings in the media.
ThirdEyeMedia implemented an ongoing media outreach across key targets and secured 5 media opportunities including Business Cloud and IrishTechNews, and over the course of 4 to 5 weeks, securing coverage across the UK’s tech outlets and crucially, offering Jake an opportunity to refine his pitch and messaging to the press over the course of a few weeks, in a context that was not too stressful.
Following the company profiling program, we revisited Labstep funding announcement. By then, the company had a steady and recent media trail, had added a significant amount of users and university partners and more importantly, Labstep had received additional funding.
ThirdEyeMedia was able to create a bundled growth and funding announcement, and to showcase the existing clout around a compelling product story. This approached allowed Labstep to secure an exclusive with TechCrunch, leading to dozens of additional pieces of coverage, in leading Tech and VC outlets such as Fortune’s TermSheet, PitchBook, PE Hub, and more, successfully placing Labstep on the media map for good.