One on One with VentureBeat’s Founder and CEO, Matt Marshall

By Matt Van Tassel, Business Wire

With over a year since Business Wire signed an exclusive wire partnership with VentureBeat, I thought this was a perfect

Matt Marshall, CEO and Founder

Matt Marshall, CEO and Founder

opportunity to sit down with Matt Marshall, the man behind this great news organization.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with our partner, VentureBeat is a powerful channel for Business Wire clients looking to engage venture capital funds and influencers. The highly targeted audience for VentureBeat includes potential investors, business decision-makers, tech industry leaders, and consumer enthusiasts with a keen interest in the latest innovative products and services. By adding news releases to VentureBeat, Business Wire clients gain access to the venture capital news mix, with stories aimed at VC-backed innovation, deal flow and liquidity.

Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO of VentureBeat, launched the website in 2006 in response to the lack of coverage in the entrepreneurial and tech space. Matt began his writing career with the Washington Post in 1994 and covered venture capital for the San Jose Mercury News prior to starting VentureBeat. In 2002, Matt was awarded “Journalist of the Year” by the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists. Matt’s impressive background, experience and passion were clearly evident when we spoke to him about VentureBeat.

Matt, give our readers a little background, what is VentureBeat?
VentureBeat is a media company that covers disruptive technology and why it matters in our lives. We are headquartered in San Francisco, with a news bureau in New York and staff writers in France and the United Kingdom. The company, now at 44 people, is divided into News, Events and Research. Events produces six events per year, targeting C-level executives and founders. VB Insight, our new, VC-backed research offering, focuses on reports tracking mobile monetization and marketing automation.

VentureBeat

VentureBeat

How did VentureBeat get started?
The company began in 2006 as a personal project. I was working at the San Jose Mercury News and blogging in my free time. This blog was the seed of what became VentureBeat.

Who is VentureBeat’s target audience?
VentureBeat is what I call a “B2B2C” play.

We target people who are already in the technology industry, along with those who aspire to be in it. As our conference participants show, our audience is comprised of C-level executives at leading technology startups, senior technologists at blue chip technology companies, investors, analysts and leading academics. Other notable participants include young people early in their technology careers, many of them starting their own companies, as well as regular folks interested in what’s happening at the forefront of innovation.

What kind of traffic volume do you receive – daily, weekly, monthly?
Our most recent numbers are 7.5 million uniques per month. Volume varies, of course, depending on the news or if we’re hosting a conference.

Is there a particular industry or sector that you gravitate towards (or perhaps is trending now)?

The general “beat” at VentureBeat is innovation. But lately, we’ve started focusing on the new technologies and strategies companies are using to achieve impressive growth, given the explosion of the smartphone and other channels.

Whether it is in the area of social, mobile or marketing automation, there are thousands of promising companies. As it has been with other market segments, our job has been to filter through those technologies, and report which ones are really working. We’re doing that through our news, but also our events, and increasingly our research initiative, called VB Insight.

What do you look for when you are going to write a story?
It goes back to innovation. If a company is disrupting an entrenched business, that’s a story. If a company aspires to change the world through online education or a health care device, that’s also a story. The bottom line is that we want to bring our readers the news from the front lines of this industry.Business Wire VB Logo

Does multimedia play an important role in VB’s reporting process?
We’re open to anything that gets the story across in a compelling way.

Is there a funding round or minimum amount of funding required for a story to be written?
We don’t play those games at VentureBeat. If a startup has an innovative value proposition, we will write about them. We don’t care if the company is two guys in a garage.

How does VentureBeat differentiate itself from other online news portals?
We distinguish ourselves in two ways: The first is that we bring old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism to a world moving at Internet speed.  We don’t rely on gossip or un-sourced pieces. We get the story fast, but we also get it in full.

The second difference is breadth of coverage.  We don’t just chase the next funding announcement. We do science pieces, stories that explore the human impact of technology, pieces that are often critical of the received values of the industry itself.

How is VentureBeat perceived versus competing websites, like TechCrunch or Wired?
TechCrunch is great, fast, and snarky. It’s also pretty loud, and sometimes had a hard time buckling down and covering the most innovative trends with serious analysis. That’s where we think VentureBeat adds greater value. You’ll see us go a lot deeper in areas of marketing technology, for example, where we bring in the expertise we’ve generated from our VB Insight research initiative. We bring a depth of insight that is unparalleled, because of our data set draws from tens of thousands of technology users. The same goes for Wired, to some extent. Wired covers a lot of cool, wonky stuff, which we also try to do. But they’re less focused on the business leader — that practitioner who really needs to get things done and needs to make critical decisions on the tech they’re using.

What is the most important benefit VentureBeat offers its readers? 
Our goal is to inform–and inspire.

What were some of the reasons that helped VentureBeat decide on moving forward with the Business Wire partnership?Press Releases on Venture Beat
There were two reasons: The first was your brand. The second was the community of sophisticated business users that support that brand.

What are some of the advantages for Business Wire clients posting their news releases to VentureBeat?
The chief advantage is direct access to one of the most sophisticated and influential technology/business audiences in the industry today: 35% of VB readers are C-level; 58% director-level and above; 70% have final purchasing power at their jobs.

How can VentureBeat contribute to driving brand awareness for our clients’ websites?
Again, it goes back to our audience. Their influence, combined with their engagement and regular sharing of content across their social channels, leads to that increased brand awareness.

To learn more about how your company’s news releases can benefit from Business Wire’s exclusive partnership with VentureBeat, click here.

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