FIR Interview: Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, CEO of AirPR

Sourcing a good PR pro can be likened to finding a needle in a haystack, according to Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, co-founder and CEO of AirPR, a San Francisco-based tech start-up offering a digital by-invitation match-making service for PRs and entrepreneurs.

In this FIR Interview, Fouladgar-Mercer explains to FIR co-hosts Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson what AirPR is, expanding on his clear conviction that a managed recommendation service like AirPR offers a more attractive proposition than traditional PR agencies in enabling entrepreneurs and small businesses to successfully connect and engage with the best PR matches.

With its service currently available in the US only, AirPR claims to have “searched, discovered, networked, and received recommendations from journalists and companies to find the top 1% of PR pros in the country. Hand delivered and matched to fit your budget, sector, company culture, brand, and personality.”

Fouladgar-Mercer shares his views on the evolving PR industry, the disrupting effects of the internet and the social web (and of services like AirPR), and what a disrupted PR agency landscape could look like over the next few years.

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About our Conversation Partner

Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer is the Co-founder and CEO of AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. He was a former Entrepreneur in Residence at Shasta Ventures focused on consumer internet and the social graph. Prior to joining Shasta, Sharam was a Senior Associate at Sierra Ventures focused on consumer internet, enterprise software (cloud computing / virtualization), and mobile. He served as a Board Observer at Makara (sold to RedHat) and TouchCommerce.

Prior to joining Sierra, Sharam was in Mergers and Acquisitions at JP Morgan. Sharam began his career as a technologist at Appian Corporation, a business process management software startup. At Appian, he managed the first enterprise-wide tracking system for the Department of Homeland Security, concurrently managed the development of three software products, delivered training seminars, and authored white papers, best practices documents, and technical notes on Web Services.

Sharam has lectured at universities, events and conferences, and judged business plan competitions at Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, and Syracuse. He is also an advisor and mentor to eLab (Princeton University’s Accelerator), Dorm Room Fund (First Round Capital Accelerator), and Acceleprise (Enterprise Technology Accelerator). Sharam graduated with honors with a BSE in Computer Science from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Born in Syracuse, NY, Sharam played NCAA Division I ice hockey and is fluent in Farsi. He also enjoys barefoot waterskiing and playing with new technologies.

Connect with Sharam on Twitter: @sharamfm.

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This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Podsafe music – On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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