[Startup Interview] Aaron Mirck, Co-Founder, Presscloud, Netherlands
Dutch startup Presscloud allows companies to handle public relations without the need for an agency by training users on the ABCs of PR and connecting them to a database of journalists and an online newsroom.
Dubbed the IKEA for PR, Presscloud is billed as the solution for companies that want to cut back on their marketing budget but still want to use PR. Startup Weekly talked to the startup’s founder Aaron Mirck.
Tell us a bit about your startup
Presscloud is a PR-tech company that enables one to handle PR without the need of a PR agency. The platform teaches users everything they need to know about PR, offers a database of journalists and an online newsroom. Our mission is to make PR more accessible for more companies. Our tagline is Presscloud: PR for everyone.
Who founded Presscloud and what are their professional backgrounds?
The startup was founded by Aaron Mirck, Rob ten Hoove, Karel Bosman and Michiel Dicker.
Aaron is a senior PR consultant, with experience at agency side, Mediatic/exPRtease, and worked as freelance PR consultant. Rob, Michiel and Karel are entrepreneurs who founded the successful clothing brand Pockies and the platform for sustainable fashion Manufy.
How is Presscloud financed?
Bootstrapped mainly, with a small investment from serial entrepreneur/investor Rene van Duren
What would you say are the dynamics that are shaping the PR business?
A lot of industries have become more transparent, but the PR industry hasn't really changed the last 10-20 years. A lot of companies complain about the service of PR agencies: they are not transparent, lack a 'yes-we-can'-mentality or make false promises.
Whereas a lot of big companies do have the budgets to hire a PR-agency, smaller companies (SME's/startups/scale ups) lack these resources. Therefore, PR is not accessible for smaller companies - and that is a shame, since it can really help those companies grow.
What inspired you to start Presscloud? What opportunities did you see?
We want to democratize the PR business by offering a Do It Yourself solution. We want to solve two problems: companies either lack the skills to handle PR or they don't have the budgets to hire a PR agency. A new generation of marketers and entrepreneurs demands a more transparent, DIY solution. Also, more and more people learn about the value of free publicity. Startup founders, growth hackers, SME-CEO's and online marketers all want to use PR.
What problems does Presscloud seek to solve?
The DIY solution of Presscloud solves these problems, by learning our users everything they need to know about PR and challenging the PR agency business.
What gives Presscloud the competitive edge?
We are the most complete digital one-stop-shop for PR, that's also the most affordable. We offer a PR Academy: an up to date database of PR knowledge (USP) and access to curated PR freelancers that will write your press release. Also, we offer a free PR services. This freemium business model also sets us apart.
Who forms your clientele base?
Our customers range from early stage startups (Unpluq) to scale-ups (Barqo, Orderchamp) to big tech companies (Visma Connect) to fashion brands (Zoe Karssen). Our solution works for B2B and B2C companies, but I'd say that the most of our users are open to innovation or smarter solutions.
What does Presscloud need in order to grow?
Time, patience and exposure.
What is your growth strategy?
We offer a free PR-service (enabling our users to reach out to a limited number of journalists). By showing the value of PR/Presscloud, we are able to make PR more accessible to a larger audience. Besides that, we rely on PR, content marketing and word of mouth. But hey, that is obvious, a PR platform should have a PR strategy, right?
In which markets are you looking to establish your presence?
Eventually we would like to build a global presence, but we are first concentrating on Europe
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
We just launched a database with journalists in Belgium; we are planning to increase the number of clients in that market. Besides that, we are always exploring ways to make the PR proces smarter, more scalable and digital.
This is an entry for the Dutch Startup Competition 2021
Read about the Dutch Startup Competition and how to participate here