Trolling for More Than Dollars on the Venture Capital Circuit

Adding Millions More To A Traditional Equity Raise

PHILADELPHIA--()--Standing out from a group of 30 young companies vying for the attention—and funding—of 100 top Mid-Atlantic region angel investors at the recent Angel Venture Forum (AVF) were two cream-of-the-crop startups. In addition to real offers for equity capital from investors, Runa and Lap Belt Cinch, Inc. were awarded free PR from DeFazio Communications, LLC. A PR agency based in Conshohocken, Pa., DeFazio Communications evaluated the presenting companies and vowed to provide free PR to the top two with the strongest back-stories.

Runa and Lap Belt Cinch, Inc. will each receive a complimentary one-month PR campaign, focusing on gaining exposure in their top regional and industry publications. “Capital and exposure both represent real power in the emerging digital economy,” agency president and founder Tony DeFazio said, “and this year the Angel Venture Forum provided both, turning out some of the most powerful young companies to date.”

“This award from DeFazio Communications is a terrific way to help accelerate the exposure of these growing companies,” said Valerie Gaydos, executive director of the Angel Venture Forum. “Building a successful company is about more than just getting funding; investors appreciate companies with great communications skills, so the ability to tell their story in a compelling way is a major step in this growth process.”

Companies were evaluated based on how well they conveyed three key criteria: the company’s potential market appeal; the experience of the management team; and the genesis of the idea for the company.

DeFazio Communications recognized immediate story potential in Runa, an Amazonian beverage company founded in 2009 by then-Brown University students Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie. Runa’s lines of tea bags and bottled beverages are made from the leaves of the Amazonian guayusa (“gwhy-you-sa”) tree, to which Gage and MacCombie were introduced by indigenous farmers during a mission trip to Ecuador. Guayusa leaves contain more caffeine than any tea and double the antioxidants of green tea, with a smooth, clean flavor when brewed. What stood out to DeFazio Communications was Gage and MacCombie’s unwavering commitment to making sure Ecuadorian farmers and their culture are integral parts of the Runa business model. And they are: with its products in over 500 stores, Runa has created over 35 jobs in Ecuador, planted 100,000 guayusa trees, and raised the income of more than 1,000 indigenous farmers.

Located in Lafayette Hill, Pa., Lap Belt Cinch, Inc. develops, manufactures and sells seatbelts and seatbelt add-ons in the U.S. Founded in 2001 by Bruce Mather, Lap Belt Cinch, Inc. focuses on creating products that provide comfort, while maximizing the safety of seatbelts to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths in vehicular accidents. DeFazio Communications was inspired by the executive leadership of Lap Belt Cinch. President Bruce Mather and CEO Charles Carter have extensive management experience with businesses at all stages and sizes, and have a long history in automotive technology and companies.

“Both of these young companies stand out to us. In addition to offering great products and services, they were able to convey the story behind their business in a compelling and convincing fashion. We’re excited to help tell their stories to national media,” DeFazio said of his reasoning behind choosing the winners.

Each company will receive ten hours of dedicated media relations support over a one-month time period. Services will include brand assessment, key message development, executive positioning, media training and media outreach and placement, as well as strategies for leveraging their exposure.

About DeFazio Communications, LLC

DeFazio Communications, LLC is a full service public relations agency that specializes in generating high-impact media exposure for corporations and emerging growth companies. The company maintains relationships with over 20,000 media contacts at the nation’s premier print, broadcast and cable outlets, as well as digital media outlets. DeFazio Communications was founded in 2008 by Tony DeFazio, an accomplished public relations executive who combined his 20 years of agency and corporate communications experience to create a specialized agency that helps clients leverage the power of earned media exposure to maximize brand visibility in their target markets. For more information on DeFazio Communications, visit www.defaziocommunications.com.

About the Angel Venture Forum

The Angel Venture Forum D.C. (AVF) is a loose-knit group of active private investors, leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals with a shared vision to encourage the growth of emerging business in the Mid-Atlantic region. The mission is to discover and develop strong companies for the region and to connect them with resources – financial and experiential – provided by angel investors, mentors and resources that will assist companies to be ultimately more successful in the attraction of capital and positive exits. For more information, please visit the AVF website: http://www.angelventureforum.com.

Contacts

DeFazio Communications, LLC
Elizabeth Trubey, 484-532-7783
etrubey@defaziocommunications.com
or
51st Associates
Valerie Gaydos, 717-238-1222
vgaydos@51st.com

Release Summary

DeFazio Communications, a Conshohocken PR firm, announced it has chosen Runa and Lap Belt Cinch, Inc. as the winners of a free PR campaign the agency offered at the recent Angel Venture Forum.

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Contacts

DeFazio Communications, LLC
Elizabeth Trubey, 484-532-7783
etrubey@defaziocommunications.com
or
51st Associates
Valerie Gaydos, 717-238-1222
vgaydos@51st.com