PR firm Bevel hired a Goldman Sachs alum to cash in on the SPAC craze and win market share from financial communications heavyweights

  • PR firm Bevel has brought on a Goldman alum to lead a new SPAC communications and advisory practice.
  • Bevel will hire a team of 15 for the group and focus on helping women-led startups go public.
  • It will face stiff competition from established financial PR firms like ICR, though.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Bevel, a public relations agency that reps startups including fintech Acorns and venture capital firms like Greycroft, is building a new team under Goldman Sachs alum Naomi Hung to capitalize on the SPACs craze.

The new investor relations and communications team will offer investor relations and PR services to clients during fundraising processes, mergers, and IPOs, with a focus on the blank-check dealmaking that has dominated investor attention for more than a year.

Bevel founder and CEO Jessica Schaefer said Bevel would hire 15 more employees for its new advisory over the next few years and predicted the agency will work on at least 20 SPACs in 2021, up from three in 2020.

“It’s a natural extension of our business to work with a brand from seed and then through IPO,” she told Insider. “We had a number of clients that were seeking our counsel on whether they should raise outside capital or go public via a SPAC. Now that there’s such a huge demand in the marketplace, it seems like the perfect opportunity.”

SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, are a way for companies to go public outside the traditional IPO. In a SPAC deal, a publicly-traded shell company will merge with or acquire a private business, taking them public in the process — sidestepping the usual IPO roadshow.

While SPACs have existed for years, the industry has seen a boost more recently. In 2020, 248 SPACs went public, raising over $83 billion in the process, according to the website SPACInsider. Already, those figures are close to being eclipsed in 2021, with 204 SPACs having hit the public markets while raising more than $64 billion. 

Some SPACs have seen frenzied and volatile trading around deal speculation and announcements.

In February, shares for Churchill Capital Corp IV jumped at news of a potential deal between the SPAC and Lucid Motors. However, when news of the acquisition became official later that month, the price of the SPAC dropped more than 50% in the days that followed. 

SPACs is a tough market to crack for PR firms

Bevel, founded in 2017, faces stiff competition from financial communication heavyweights like ICR, which worked on dozens of SPAC deals in 2020.

One of Bevel’s most high-profile SPAC deals came in January with the IPO of Powered Brands, which raised $240 million. The SPAC is backed by Clique Brands founder Katherine Power and Greycroft Ventures founding partner Dana Settle, a rare example of a woman-backed SPAC. The company is looking to acquire between $800 million and $1.5 billion in assets to build a new beauty brand conglomerate, according to a CNBC report in January.

Bevel plans to focus on taking public more women-led companies like Powered Brands.

“We want to attract female founders,” Schaefer said. “We want them to go and take this route, because it is something that’s attractive. And I think there’s a huge growth opportunity in the market right now.”

Over the past few years, new firms like Gasthalter & Co and Gladstone Place Partners have emerged in financial communications, taking on established players. 

Schaefer said she believes Bevel can compete with its expertise helping venture capital and startups with traditional PR services and newer offerings like influencer marketing.

Hung was a VP and assistant general counsel at Goldman Sachs for about two years, helping launch its first private fund investing in female-led venture capital firms. 

Schaefer, meanwhile, brings a long track record in fintech. Bevel handled investing app Acorns’ campaign featuring Dwayne Johnson, and counts as its clients several portfolio companies of Point72 Ventures, Public.com, and others. Prior to founding Bevel, Schaefer worked at Moody’s and led communications at Steve Cohen’s hedge fund, Point72.

Schaefer wouldn’t share Bevel’s revenues but said the firm doubled revenue from 2019 to 2020, driven in part by its influencer arm in Los Angeles that helps athletes, celebrities, and influencers get endorsement deals with fintech companies. It also uses influencer campaigns to help fintech companies market their products.

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