Turn setbacks into opportunities

Clarity PR – technology PR agency totally dedicated to working with startups

Please introduce yourself and Clarity PR to our readers!
I’m Sami McCabe, founder & CEO of Clarity PR in Germany, the UK and the US. Clarity is a PR agency dedicated to raising the profile and driving the growth of exciting startups and tech companies all over the world.

How did you get the idea to Clarity PR?
In London, in 2012 the wider economy was struggling. One bright spot was the emerging startup ecosystem in the city. Millions of dollars were pouring into the city’s technology startups. And there wasn’t a professional services infrastructure in place to ensure these businesses flourished. Traditional PR firms simply weren’t cut-out to work with the particular demands of startup companies. So I launched Clarity PR – the first technology PR agency in the UK totally dedicated to working with startups.

How fast did Clarity PR grow?
We grew rapidly – both in terms of headcount and our geographic reach. Today we have 34 people across three offices – Berlin, London and New York.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Starting and scaling any business is extremely difficult. The biggest challenge in the early days was ensuring we had enough capacity to meet the demand, and figuring out how and when to hire ahead of the curve. We’ve never raised any financing, so cash flow was always very stressful in the first year of doing business. We could see opportunities, but we didn’t always have the cash to capitalise on it. I found that frustrating.

Who is the target audience, what companies do you work with?

We work with fast-growing, ambitious technology companies. Typically our clients are VC-backed startups, such as livestreaming company YouNow, online bank Fidor and video creation technology Wochit. We attract clients from every corner of the globe – from all over Europe, the US, Australia, Singapore, Israel etc.

What is the most exciting part in doing PR?
It’s incredibly motivating and gratifying to play a pivotal part in helping a young, early-stage, unknown technology startup become a significant company. I’m lucky enough to have been closely involved in many such success stories.

When should a company start being involved with PR and why?
I think there’s a good argument for engaging in the PR process as soon as a company is in a position to start acquiring customers. This doesn’t necessarily mean engaging a PR firm (which can be costly) – there are many DIY tactics smart CEOs and founders can execute themselves.

What is the USP of your PR agency?
We are different in three key ways:
– Our laser-focus on working with startups – this means we really understand the particular demands of startup PR briefs, and we can work within startup budgets
– Our international reach – this is highly-unusual for agencies of our size
– Our unusually journalistic approach to PR – our first five hires were people from a journalism background. A understanding of how to craft a story from a journalist’s perspective remains in our DNA

Can you describe a typical workday of yourself?
I live in New York, so I usually rise very early – around 5.30am – to take calls and respond to emails from my European colleagues. These are normally conducted over a brisk walk around Central Park! I’m in our Soho office before 8am, and typically spend the morning in meetings or on calls with the management team, clients, staff, prospects and partners. My meetings are typically finished by mid-afternoon. I then finish my day with more emailing (I receive an average of 300 emails a day) before returning home – hopefully in time to bath my baby son!

Where do you see yourself and Clarity in five years?
Clarity will have growing offices established in every major technology hub globally including. My role will become increasingly strategic – leaning on my experience to work directly with the managing directors of each office to help them grow their individual P&Ls as rapidly and sustainably as possible.

What 3 tips would you give Start-up founders on the way?
1. Get a mentor. I work with two highly-experienced people who provide me with amazingly valuable insight. This is the best investment I’ve made in the company.
2. Turn setbacks into opportunities. The best entrepreneurs fail frequently, but make sure they learn from their mistakes.
3. Make your staff your number one priority. If you’re able to attract and retain the best people, everything else will follow.

Thank you Sami McCabe for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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