Crash Course: Guerrilla PR for Startups

Monday, February 20, 2012; 6:00 -7:30 PM; Reception to Follow
@ Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building, University of Colorado

Guerrilla PR for Startups: how to's, how don'ts and lessons from the front lines. This crash course is a great resource for people trying to launch brands and products and will include practical and real world advice.

Moderated by Jason Mendelson, Managing Director of the Foundry Group and starring:

  • Doyle Albee of Metzger Associates
  • Merredith Branscombe of Leap Public Relations
  • Erika Napoletano of Redhead Writing

About the Panel:

Doyle Albee is the President and COO of Metzger Associates.

By combining traditional public relations with social media, Metzger develops complete communications programs for clients. Programs typically include the integration of PR/media relations with emerging media like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and tactics including mobile marketing, blog development and monitoring for companies ranging from start-ups to members of the Fortune 500.

Doyle spent 10 years at Coors Brewing Company in both public relations and marketing positions. He also worked with Sterling-Rice Group, directed global communications for hard disk drive manufacturer Maxtor and founded and managed his own public relations firm, which he merged with Metzger Associates in 2005. After the merger in 2005, Doyle immediately founded Metzger's Social Media Practice. In 2003, Doyle was named to the Denver Business Journal's prestigious "Forty Under 40" list. He has also won PR and marketing awards along the way, including a Magellan Platinum Award from the League of American Communications Professionals, Gold Pick Awards from the Public Relations Society of America and a Distinguished Communicator Award from the Colorado Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, among others.

Merredith Branscombe is the Founder of Leap Public Relations.

Merredith works with her clients to tell their stories in a way that is not just understandable, but fun to understand. She helps them figure out how to find the intersection between what they want to say, and what the media and the public would care about. Sometimes it's pretty straightforward (which is less interesting); other times, it takes work and thought. Merredith's PR work comes down to a few fundamentals: Relationships, Credibility (never lie), and humanizing technology.

Prior to founding Leap Public Relations, Merredith worked with all kinds of technology from bleeding edge to everyday gadgets. She found she preferred introducing new companies to promoting giants, and began focusing on startups. Her approach to launches and startup PR have put brand new technologies and companies on the map, with the end result that 70% of her launches resulted in the company being acquired or securing funding rounds or strategic partners, often within a year or even months. She brings skills acquired as a writer and producer for The Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel (before they were cool) to making complicated information accessible to any audience.

Her clients have secured coverage and built effective relationships with publications such as Financial Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, Fast Company, Forbes, PC Magazine and Fortune; and dailies such as The New York Times, Investor's Business Daily, the San Jose Mercury News, The Denver Post, Dallas Morning News and USA Today. If her client needs a relationship, she will figure out a way to build it, whether it be or Inside Santa Fe.

Jason Mendelson has over a dozen years of experience in the venture capital and technology industries in a multitude of investing, operational and engineering roles. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, Jason was a Managing Director and General Counsel for Mobius Venture Capital, where he also acted as its chief administrative partner overseeing all operations of the firm. He currently serves on the board of directors of, Brightleaf, Next Big Sound, Oblong, Occipital, Openspace, Organic Motion, Sifteo and Urban Airship for Foundry Group.

Prior to his involvement with Mobius Venture Capital, Jason was an attorney with Cooley LLP, where he practiced corporate and securities law with an emphasis on representation of emerging companies in private and public financings, mergers and acquisitions. As an attorney, Jason has consummated over $2 billion of venture capital investments, $5 billion in mergers and has extensive experience in fund formation, employment law and general litigation, serving as an expert witness in these related fields.

Jason holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, with distinction and a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Michigan. He is an active musician playing drums and bass guitar in several bands (including Soul Patch with his partner Ryan McIntyre) and enjoys home remodeling and travel. Jason was chosen as one of Denver's 40 under 40 in business in 2009. Jason blogs about his experiences in the venture industry on his blog Mendelson's Musings and

Erika Napoletano is the Head Redhead at RHW Media, a Denver-based online strategies consultancy. Her blog, RedheadWriting, is a bastion for "unpopular thoughts and blunt advice - delivered" and consistently strives to say what others won't and don't (but should) about marketing, social media, business integrity and life in general. She's the author of two forthcoming books including The Power of Unpopular (Wiley, March 2012), a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine, was recently named by the Denver Post as one of Colorado's top Twitter Personalities, and received the 5280 Magazine Top of the Town 2011 Reader's Choice award for Best Twitter Personality.

In addition to her rapidly growing audience base, Erika is a sought-after consultant for brands you see every day in the parking lot at the mall to your grocery store shelves. Specializing in helping brands avoid the common pitfalls associated with incorporating online methods into overall marketing strategies, she excels in helping brands not only find their voice, but use it to speak to their audience, be human and build consumer trust to drive sales, brand loyalty and convert customers into marketers. Erika specializes in digital strategy plans, SEO copywriting, blogging, bowling, and helping businesses find the humor in their brands. And coincidentally, that sometimes includes bowling. You can follow her online (if you dare) at @RedheadWriting.