A founder who runs a $20 million VC firm that specializes in PR shares the 4-step plan she uses to scale her business and attract investors

Russian-born Masha Drokova, 28, poses in this handout photo provided January 22, 2018.   Courtesy of Day One Ventures/Handout via REUTERS

Masha Drokova is the founder and general partner of Day One Ventures.
Since its inception, Drokova’s early-stage venture capital firm has invested in companies in 18 countries, including 17 women-founded startups, and has secured $20 million in capital.
While angel investing, Drokova tested an original model she had conceived: leading communications and PR for her portfolio companies. This lead to a unique business venture and Day One Venture’s mission and structure.
She has brought in significant press and investment to her porfolio companies by following a fool-proof, four-step strategy.
As the company grew, she began to expand her investor pool to include owners of banks, heads of private equity firms, and family offices. “When these investors saw our portfolio growth, deal flow, and LPs experienced in tech, it became obvious that our model is unique,” Drokova said.
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Masha Drokova keeps her elevator pitch simple: “I fund startups and tell their stories,” the founder and general partner of Day One Ventures states on her LinkedIn page.

Judging from the results, she’s darn good at it, too. Since the inception of Drokova’s early-stage venture capital firm in 2017, Day One has invested in companies in 18 countries, including 17 women-founded startups, and has secured $20 million in capital. (Earlier this year, Drokova shared a copy of Day One’s pitch deck with Business Insider.)

The firm has already had three exits — including data aggregation platform Acquired.io and software company Ntechlab — and invested in an A-list of portfolio companies that includes email client Superhuman, sustainable product merchandiser Public Goods, and customer service automation platform DigitalGenius.

From all of this success, you wouldn’t know that the founder had almost no connections when she immigrated to the US from Russia six years ago. She shared her story and strategies with Business Insider of how she made it all happen.

Mentorship propels Drokova from venture capital PR to opening her own firm

Drokova first started working in the US in 2011 when she joined Runa Capital, a tech-focused VC firm based in Palo Alto, as a PR director. While at Runa, Drokova worked with Serguei Beloussov, the founder of over 20 companies including backup provider Acronis, software company Parallels, and consumer electronics company Rolsen.

Over the next five years, Beloussov became a mentor to Drokova, and she joined his team at Acronis in 2013 as the VP of communications, where she led communications and marketing in over 30 countries.

Beloussov encouraged Drokova to pursue her next vision: launching her own PR firm, M&A PR Studio. Drokova reached a million dollars in revenue in the shop’s first year in business, and multiple startups grew to $100 million and $1 billion in valuation while working with her and her team.

Dipping her toes into angel investing

After seeing that PR played an integral role in the growth of her client’s businesses, such as Gett ($1.5 billion in valuation), Houzz ($4 billion in valuation), …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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