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A software startup that helps public relations pros pitch journalists just raised $1.1 million in seed funding

Published by Business Insider on Fri, 16 Jul 2021

<p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/5fd8eb09dc030c001aab6bc4-959/16406628_10104027069552184_8812194835870662463_n (3) (1) (1).jpg" border="0" alt="Zach Cutler, Propel" data-mce-source="Propel"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>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.</p><p>Launched in 2018, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/top-27-software-companies-in-the-public-relations-industry-2020-12#propel-16">Propel</a> 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.</p><p>It has about 120 clients, which are mostly small agencies but also include <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/healthcare-marketing-communications-firm-w2o-acquires-swoop-ipmai-2021-1">Real Chemistry</a> (formerly known as W2O Group), Google, Daily Mail, and Antenna.</p><p>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.</p><p>Zach Cutler, CEO, chairman, and cofounder of Propel, said&nbsp;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.</p><p>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.</p><p>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.</p><p>"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."</p><p>The <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/insiders-top-advertising-and-media-stories-for-april-30-2021-4">$4.8 billion PR tech industry</a> has gone through a flurry of <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/8-private-equity-firms-investing-in-the-public-relations-industry-2020-12">dealmaking.</a> The biggest recent acquisition occurred in 2020 when private equity firm Platinum Equity <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/8-private-equity-firms-investing-in-the-public-relations-industry-2020-12#platinum-equity-6">acquired </a>Cision for $2.7 billion. More recently, PR measurement company Memo raised <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/public-relations-startup-memo-raises-7-million-in-seed-funding-2021-3">$7 million</a> in seed funding.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/public-relations-startup-propel-raises-11-million-in-seed-funding-2021-7#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/why-have-not-found-aliens-aestivation-hypothesis-gaian-bottleneck-2018-8">Why we still haven't been able to find aliens</a></p>
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