Digital advertising · Digital Media

Advice on Advertising Sponsorships and Partnerships for Newly Launched Media Company

Andrea H Special Projects Director

November 18th, 2014

Often media startups depend on advertising dollars from companies and this doesn't come until the website has received a substantial amount of traffic. But I have heard of companies doing a sort of sponsorship/partnership with a startup, meaning they commit to a certain time period (90 days) and can be the sole advertiser on the site (and email newsletter) by means of sponsored content and ads on the page.

For example, The Hairpin received a sponsorship deal and funding from Ann Taylor for its launch.

Has any founder approached a brand and pitched this sort of sponsorship opportunity? If so, would love to know your insight, approach or advice.

Maarten Albarda CEO Americas at Flock Associates Limited

November 18th, 2014

Hi Andrea: there are a few "matchmaker" companies that I am aware of that help start-ups find sponsors/marketers and vice versa. There is from my friend and co-author @jaffejuice. And in the UK thereis from my friend Ken Valledy.

These companies aren't necessarily finding you sponsors, but can help in finding marketing partners that, in turn, can help with development/expansion/reach and visibility of your start-up and as a result will help in attracting more users, funding or other growth related opportunities.

There are also a growing number of marketers and media companies that have set up incubator/funding infrastructure:

Chivas Regal & Fast Company:

It is INCREDIBLY hard to find sponsorship/partnership opportunities on your own. Many companies are inundated with requests, and don't have the time or infrastructure to assess or evaluate the opportunities that are coming their way. The company's mentioned above with the start-up ventures are really the exception to the rule. In most cases you may never get an answer to your first introductory pitch email or call.

Your own network has some value in this respect. If you have connections that can open a door to a meeting with a potential partner/sponsor you stand a slightly better chance. But remember: for them, you are one of many, many things to deal with, to understand, to evaluate and you are very low on the priority list. I recommend to read the blog posts by Ken Valledy at T2B as they explain the process from the other side which is going to help you with your expectations and understanding.

That is why companies like Evolution or T2B exist - they make it easier for start-ups and marketers to find each other.

I hope this helps.

Chris Wexler SVP, Director of Media and Consumer Enagement @ C-K

November 18th, 2014

Andrea - I've been on the company/agency side of these conversations many times. And have seen what worked and what didn't. I know what companies are looking for. Feel free to reach out if you want to have a quick call Chris

Andrea H Special Projects Director

November 19th, 2014

Thank you both for such thoughtful answers. I will be looking at the companies you suggested and reaching out.



Jacob Anderson

June 26th, 2015


Thanks for the information.  I also found it very useful!