Building trust and credibility among “underserved” private investors

A voice of authority amidst an uncertain investment landscape

The Mission:

Co-founded by private market specialists Jonny Blausten, Daniel Lehmann, and PwC Raise Ventures founding member Rich Abrahams, London-based Sprout is a platform for private investors to access a curated selection of leading venture capital funds. Its mission is to level the playing field to ensure private investors can benefit from an asset class that has provided market-leading returns for two decades. 

Sprout bridges the gap between venture capital funds and what it describes as “underserved investors” – including professionals who are typically priced out by the high minimums required for VC investment, Ultra High Net Worth or High Net Worth individuals who lack access to VC funds through their wealth managers or private banks, and Family Offices who seek education on how to choose the best VCs. 

Sprout empowers investors to benefit from the upside potential of private markets, helping them build diversified portfolios that mitigate the risk of investing in individual businesses.

Signalling the high demand from funds looking to unlock a new source of capital, within its first year, Sprout struck up partnerships with a diverse portfolio of leading venture capital firms including Speedinvest, G Squared and Episode 1 Ventures, and has facilitated millions of pounds of investment from its community of users.

The Brief:

Late 2022 and into 2023 posed numerous challenges for private investors due to an uncertain macroeconomic environment and rising inflation, which led ambitious investors to go on the hunt for positive and stable investment opportunities. In a fascinating period for the investment sector, the market saw some investors go down the route of taking risks on unproven asset classes such as cryptocurrency, while others steered clear of volatility by focusing on longer-term opportunities. Others chose to sit on their cash and wait. At the heart of this ever-changing investment landscape, with investors focused on attempting to beat inflation and counter numerous financial challenges, Sprout is in an ideal position to speak with real authority on the state of the market and provide clarity for investors and VC funds alike.

To address its core business and communications objectives, Sprout tasked Element with establishing a voice of authority for the brand in the eyes of private investors and VC funds, build its corporate profile as a key player in the burgeoning UK investment scene, and demonstrate the business’ growth momentum over time. 

What Sprout needed:

      • Build the corporate profile of the business and its’ team of co-founders

      • Demonstrate credibility and authority through informed market commentary and key business milestones, especially amidst market uncertainty

      • Increase brand awareness among investors and venture capital funds alike to build interest in the platform and ultimately support lead generation

    The Campaign:

    To ensure the right messages would be communicated to the right audiences, Element worked closely with Sprout’s senior team to create a narrative that the brand could own in the media: “Sprout is on a mission to level the playing field and provide private investors with access to an asset class that has provided market-leading returns for two decades.” Armed with this narrative, Element mapped the media landscape which included national, finance, fintech, investment, technology and investment trade media, to ensure a laser focused approach.

    There was a heavy educational role for Sprout (and Element) to play early in the campaign – we knew the intricacies of the venture capital landscape but not all media, or their readers, would share the same knowledge. It was therefore important that we adopted an educational and authoritative role and created content that would achieve this objective. 

    Element developed some core themes – mapped out in a thought leadership matrix – that aligned to Sprout’s proposition and business objectives, including ‘investment landscape commentary’, ‘why VC vs other opportunities’, ‘benchmarking and industry performance’, ‘building a community’, ‘legal and financial considerations’, ‘funds, deals and investments’. Armed with this content strategy, Element developed a media outreach plan built around:

        • Proactively developing educational thought leadership for mid-form and long-form opinion editorials in industry media, maximising the expertise across Sprout’s senior team

        • Forging relationships with influential national and industry journalists through market insights provided by Sprout’s co-founders Jonny Blausten and Rich Abrahams

        • Reacting to the news agenda – specifically investment data released by the likes of Pitchbook and Dealroom – by creating timely insight on key VC market trends

        • Interviews and Q&As with CEO Jonny Blausten, designed to tell the Sprout growth story and communicate its mission and future vision

      Having introduced Sprout and its senior team to key media in the first half of the campaign, Sprout had grown to a point where it was ready to announce a $1m funding round. Element took ownership of maximising this key news moment for the business and secured an exclusive news story with leading tech news site UKTN, followed by a flurry of industry media coverage.

      The Results:

      During our partnership, Sprout has experienced a number of spikes in platform registrations, including at one point a significant 20% increase in sign-ups over the course of one week. 

      To date, through Element’s national and industry media relations campaign and a focused approach to thought leadership and commentary, Sprout’s senior team have enjoyed a consistent stream of opinion editorial coverage in key titles including Financial NewsFT AdviserInvestment WeekFintech FinanceForbesBusiness Age and more. 

      CEO Jonny Blausten is now a regular commentator for The Armchair Trader, to whom he provides unique educational content to help their audience of ambitious investors understand the world of VC investment. Jonny’s first op-ed for The Armchair Trader directly resulted in new sign-ups to the Sprout platform.

      Sprout’s $1m funding round, which was the company’s first major growth milestone since it was founded in 2021, saw more than 10 pieces of coverage which had a real impact on Sprout’s brand awareness and the momentum behind the business. 

      Authentic communications for ambitious brands