Why former Uber exec Sarah Maxwell is backing an Indian PR tech firm

In a conversation with HerStory, Sarah Maxwell of Europe’s leading fund Marcho Partners talks about her investment in Wizikey, an Indian PR tech startup.
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Having worked for the likes of Uber and Blockchain, communications and marketing aren’t new for Sarah Maxwell. In fact, she has always believed in the need for effective communication and has over a decade of experience in the field. This is what led her to invest in Wizikey, an Indian PR SaaS startup early this year. 

Founded by Anshul Sushil and Aakriti Bhargava, Wizikey follows a data-driven approach to remove the friction many marketing communications teams face and enables them to engage with reporters across multiple regions directly from a single interface. 

Sarah Maxwell

Why invest in Wizikey?

During the past year, Wizikey successfully acquired several Fortune 500 companies and global tech unicorns as its loyal customers. The startup claims to have grown exponentially too, validating the need for PR-SaaS in the APAC region.

In a conversation with YourStory on why she chose to turn investor with Wizikey, Sarah says it was a no-brainer. 

“I know the challenge most communication and marketing teams face. Wizikey has built an incredible product that is re-imagining the art of PR while addressing an immediate gap in the market,” she adds.

At present, Sarah serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Marcho Partners, a leading technology fund in London, where she’s building her new venture Chief of Stuff. 

For the past six months, she has served as the acting Deputy Director for the Coalition for App Fairness, where she was responsible for leading a new advocacy group of consumer apps (including Spotify, Tinder, Epic Games, and the New York Times) in reforming the Apple App Store and Google Play Store policies.

Importance of PR tech 

“When it comes to communications, there are different forms and types organisations need. And connecting with a journalist is one of the many forms. It, therefore, becomes important to understand what they need and how a story can and should be told,” says Sarah.

Storytelling, she adds, is an important part of any brand’s or company’s journey, and leveraging technology for that storytelling journey makes it all the more powerful. 

“A couple of years ago, there was a new role in marketing - ‘Head of Growth’, which focused on collecting data to help increase output in terms of users, activities, and even as simple as opening emails. So, performance marketing has become a new standard. We can do something similar with PR. There is an ability to use data at different parts of the communication strategy that we don’t yet use today,” says Sarah.

She explains that a lot of PR professionals today focus on gut and instinct, which can get only limited results. Top executives, however, always look for results and RoI even when it comes to communications. While it can’t be guaranteed, but more insights and data mean more actionable pointers to make informed choices. 

The media landscape is evolving. There are startups like Xander Marketing and Walker Sands into PR SaaS. Wizikey’s proprietary data-driven approach enables companies and PR professionals the unique insights to effectively tailor their communications outreach. 

Wizikey introduced a first of its kind metric — Earned Media Authority(EMA), an indicator of the share of voice in a competitive landscape. Through the platform, customers have seen a 25 percent to 125 percent increase in EMA and a 3x increase in reporter interactions. 

Going forward, Wizikey founders aim to scale the company into a global business and a product, which caters to the $90 billion global communications industry, as attested even by several media reports.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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