The Michigan Venture Capitalist Association (MVCA) is the state's premier public policy advocate for the venture capital industry. Venture capital and private equity investors established the MVCA in 2002. It aims to promote and advocate for the venture capitalist industry and, as a result, helps stimulate Michigan’s economy.
Education and information are the MVCA's main goals. It strives to inform its key audiences, including the general public, legislators, directors and managers of pension funds and corporate investment groups, about venture capital and its program. It is especially targeting the recent passage of a bill the MVCA supported called MVIC (Michigan Venture Investment Corporation), which created a $150 million venture capital fund for investors of early stage companies in Michigan. The passing of MVIC makes it capable of leveraging $750 million to $1 billion of new venture capital funds.
Additionally, the MVCA sought help from Eiler in establishing the MVCA News Bureau, an online repository of both general and specific venture capital information. The bureau serves as a tool for members to distribute information about their businesses and allows them to get immediate, widespread media distribution.
Eiler decided to utilize different media outlets to accomplish the MVCA’s primary objective of educating and informing target audiences. We accessed the news media, a newly launched Web site and a newsletter to reach people across the state and inform them of the organization, its program, and the recent legislation that it lobbied for and endorsed. Eiler created the MVCA News Bureau, and saw it as an opportunity to position the MVCA as the solitary authority on venture capitalism in Michigan and as a key component in the Midwest. The MVCA News Bureau allows news releases concerning MVCA members, new deals, and related information to be uploaded and instantly accessible to the news media and others with an interest in venture capital.
A consistent, proactive approach to attracting media coverage was necessary for MVCA’s message to reach its several key audiences. Members of the media were regularly provided with press releases concerning the organization and venture capitalism in the state. Eiler targeted specific editors and writers with an interest in and knowledge of venture capitalism from several different publications. These members of the media were incorporated into MVCA briefings as well as educated about the organization and the recent legislation. In order to keep the Web site current and fresh, at least one new story is uploaded every month.
The campaign resulted in several stories that focused on the recent legislation, including placements in Venture Wire and Private Equity Online. Stories also ran in many publications across the state, including The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, Crain’s Detroit Business, Business Direct Weekly, The Ann Arbor News, Great Lakes IT Report, MI Tech News, and the AP Wire.
Perhaps more impacting than the ample media coverage was the success in positioning MVCA board members as expert sources for topics related to venture capitalism. Stories that ran in the Detroit Free Press, Business Direct Weekly, and The Ann Arbor News helped position not only MVCA board members but also MVCA as a whole as an authority on venture capital.