Tech

A PR startup that helps companies including Google and Daily Mail pitch journalists just raised $1.1 million in seed funding

  • PR tech firm Propel has finalized a $1.1 million seed funding round, giving it a $15 million valuation.
  • The startup plans to use the funding to expand marketing and sales and machine-learning capabilities.
  • It’s also aiming at taking share from bigger firms like Cision and Meltwater.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Public relations software startup Propel has closed a $1.1 million seed round that it plans to use to take on the likes of Cision, Meltwater, and Muck Rack.

Launched in 2018, Propel has a media database of more than one million journalists, 50 million influencers, and three billion articles. It provides services like monitoring how PR pitches to journalists perform and compiles data on which emails were opened, received a response, or were turned into a story.

It has about 120 clients, which are mostly small agencies but also include Real Chemistry (formerly known as W2O Group), Google, Daily Mail, and Antenna.

The lead investor was San Diego-based startup accelerator LogicBoost Labs, who was joined by angel investors Nimrod May, Edan Dover, and a third that declined to be identified.

Zach Cutler, CEO, chairman, and cofounder of Propel, said he would use the funding to hire marketing and salespeople in New York, Florida, and London. He said the company was valued at $15 million.

He also said Propel also would implement more machine learning technology over the next year to analyze pitches to see which resonate the most with journalists.

Cutler positioned Propel as having a strong foothold with small and medium-sized businesses and being a cheaper alternative to more established PR tech platforms that also offers annual and monthly contracts.

“I believe we will be the next PR software unicorn,” Cutler said. “I don’t know how many years it will take, but with our innovation and ability to execute and go to market, I believe we’ll get there.”

The $4.8 billion PR tech industry has gone through a flurry of dealmaking. The biggest recent acquisition occurred in 2020 when private equity firm Platinum Equity acquired Cision for $2.7 billion. More recently, PR measurement company Memo raised $7 million in seed funding.

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