Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Meet Silicon Valley's Top VC Publicist...

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 23, 2013

2013 09 23 15 06 26

It's unusual for a publicist to be featured in a big spread in a large newspaper  since it's usually clients that are supposed to get all the attention, but Margit Wennmachers decided to get some ink for herself for a change, in the San Francisco Chronicle.

She is the co-founder of PR firm Outcast Communications and works as one of 24 partners at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. She's been working there since June 2010, nevertheless, reporter Nellie Bowles describes it as "her new venture." 

I've known her for many years, especially when she worked at Outcast and she is indeed a tremendously capable person, deserving of a tremendously fawning article:

… everyone in the room needs Wennmachers, who has quietly become one of the most powerful people - man or woman - in Silicon Valley.

When New York Times tech reporter Quentin Hardy told Wennmachers that he thought Nicira was too wonky for a long story, she asked him out to lunch at Boulevard to make her case for the company…

After Hardy's story - headlined "Startup Nicira plans to disrupt networking giants" - Nicira, which had initially been valued at $500 million, was bought by VMware for $1.26 billion.

I think that Quentin Hardy might not be pleased about this account of being dined at one of San Francisco's top restaurants and then pumping out a winning article. 

Her boss, Marc Andreessen called her a "stealth submarine" and "the mother of Silicon Valley." 

And she's very discreet, although she did mention a story about some "guy who ODd in a hotel room."

I wonder how many reporters put these descriptive touches into their profiles of male VCs:

…the whip-thin Wennmachers wore paisley cropped pants and white leather Prada heels and was chewing gum.

And,

Over lunch at the Grove on Fillmore (one of her favorite spots), Wennmachers, wearing a whimsical shirt with peacock feathers and a metal eggshell necklace…

Would she have described lunch with Marc Andreessen as, 

Over lunch at Hobee's, Andreessen, wearing a whimsical blue shirt over tan trousers, and a metallic glint off his egg-shaped dome…

There's a huge list of her achievements: from her origins at a mushroom-turned-pig farm in Germany, to the sale of Outcast, and her single mother status. When the reporter asked the father's name, she replied: "He's not famous."

Maybe you need to be a client to get your name in the paper?

 

Marketing guru Margit Wennmachers' new venture - San Francisco Chronicle

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