Interview With Suki Mulberg Altamirano
What is your role or function within the startup ecosystem?
“I was a startup PR agency myself at one point when I started LPR a little over a decade ago; I have worked with an array of startups/early-stage companies advising them about storytelling and PR, which is one of the most misunderstood part of business for a lot of groups! I've run Startup Weekend events, and my firm currently handles PR for several businesses still run by their original Founders (once startups, now fast-growth companies).”
How did you start working within the startup ecosystem?
“A little over a decade ago, I went out on my own and took a leap of faith creating my own PR startup. I had overseen PR for several companies in-house (Elizabeth Arden, LVMH, Kenzo, Williams-Sonoma) and wanted to pull on the background and knowledge but be able to leverage my skills in a wider array of industries. I also wanted to have more say about my schedule and work and liked the idea of being independent. Over the past 10+ years, I have also had the opportunity to support a lot of startups — much of the time informally but as a mentor or advisor in order to provide insights on a strong public relations and content marketing strategy.”
What sectors are of interest to you and your company?
“We work with a broad array of businesses/industries, but a few sectors include material handling/supply chain, technology, health and wellness, healthtech, and fashion.”
What is a common roadblock you see startup founders face?
“A lot of startup founders have great ideas but find it very challenging to clearly explain what it is they do, why it matters, and why others should care. Their elevator pitch, in essence, but something that's so critical, especially in the early days when it comes to getting your story out there, catching consumer interest, talking to media, and explaining what your business is all about. Frankly, this isn't just startups — a lot of established businesses have a hard time telling you who they are and what they do.
I think startup founders also face two paths a lot of the time. There are those that bring on external PR too soon — they spend too much money on it, and it doesn't bring the results they need. Or their story pivots (as it will in the early days), and PR can't stay aligned with that message. Alternately others just avoid PR entirely and have a hard time catching consumer interest. I think there's a middle road where startups can absolutely do an array of things internally to better position themselves for great PR — without taking on an agency yet and without spending a bunch of money.”
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What is your #1 piece of advice for aspiring startup founders?
“Stay the course. It's so easy to throw in the towel, and likely whatever business you create is going to be way more challenging to build than you think it is. But sometimes it's just about getting up each day and keeping going — maintaining your motivation — and believing in what you do.”