Smart Venture Capital and Private Equity Marketing: Jennifer James

To celebrate the Content Bureau’s 20th anniversary, we’re seeking wisdom from 20 rock star clients whose serious marketing cred, brains, and heart have always inspired us. Next up: Jennifer James.

  • Name: Jennifer James
  • In: San Francisco
  • Hired the Content Bureau at: Alta Partners, Sofinnova Ventures, Thoma Bravo
  • For: Venture capital and private equity marketing content
  • One word to describe the Content Bureau: Razor-sharp
  • Best marketing asset ever produced: Thoma Bravo website
  • Why: We created a whole new site reflecting our firm’s personality and the dynamic sector in which we operate—enterprise software. Our LPs love it, and the media loves it.
  • Biggest challenge facing VC/PE marketers today: Differentiation. In venture, it can be tough to explain what’s unique about your firm, your approach, the way you work with entrepreneurs. Everyone says, “We really roll up our sleeves.” That’s not enough. What can you defend—based on what you’ve actually done for your portfolio companies and investors?
  • Marketing and sales: Venture capital and private equity firms are putting more time and resources into marketing because it’s critically important if you want to raise capital from institutional investors. Fundraising is ultimately a one-to-one process. With good marketing, the road is paved before you even meet the investors.
  • VC/PE marketers of the future should: Make sure your messaging is consistent across all audiences. You can’t be one thing to entrepreneurs and another to investors. For example, Thoma Bravo is known as a partner of choice for management teams within large enterprise software companies. We take what they’ve done and combine it with our best practices and software to drive performance across the team. We don’t move out the leadership and bring in our own team to run the business. Entrepreneurs know we have their backs, which makes us a buyer of choice. And this is exactly what makes us attractive to investors.
  • If some extra budget fell into my lap, I’d produce: Short videos that could leverage our firm’s best practices and the results we’ve delivered in partnership with entrepreneurs.
  • Where I go to learn: I read a lot of Harvard Business Review, plus new books and studies on branding. Industry conferences such as those hosted by the ILPA and Private Equity International are great for investor relations and marketing. I also learn so much from my peers across the alternative assets sector.
  • Smart ask: Less email! Email is woefully abused, and wastes a lot of people’s time.

Jennifer James has no time for email, yet she was kind enough to share smart thoughts with me. I’m constantly learning from her! And we’re so grateful for our ten-year relationship.

Want to discuss anything here? Call me, or check out our venture capital and private equity marketing services.

By Stacy Crinks