Consumer/Media/How To/

How to pitch to Sifted

Grabbing our attention: what stories we're looking for — and who to pitch them to.

By Sifted

Sifted does proper reporting on startup Europe.

But what does that mean? Our mission is to do old fashioned journalism, which means building contacts, digging up the real story and explaining the tech and startup world to our readers.

But we also receive hundreds of story pitches every day, some of which are amazing but others are, well, not quite for us.

So if you want us to write about your company, report, founder or initiative, here is what the Sifted editorial team likes to write about and how to pitch to them.

Types of stories we write

Features

We write 800-1200 word features on trends in the world of European tech startups. These typically talk about a few different companies and/or people and include some outside voices (such as investors, advisors, industry experts and consultants) to give a different perspective.

These can cover specific sub-sectors — like this piece on the jump in sales for at-home fertility tech — or ways of doing business — like this piece on revenue-based startup financing — or cultural movements — like the rise of coaching for founders.

Data stories and lists

Our readers love a good list or an intriguing data story. We curate lists that we think will be useful — like this on Spain’s top women investors or this on how much founders pay themselves. We also enjoy giving our take on reports and surveys about the ecosystem — like this survey on the impact of the pandemic on startups and this study on the speed of banking apps.

We also include links to reports and surveys in our 3x a week newsletter. Share these with our editor Amy Lewin ([email protected]) or our deputy editor Eleanor ([email protected]).

Investigations 

We are proud that in our short time we have already done investigative reporting holding power to account  — see here and here.

If you have a story to tell about nefarious goings-on at your startup (e.g bullying or harassment, unfair hiring or firing practices, or toxic culture) or about your experience as a founder (e.g with untrustworthy investors or incompetent accelerators) — or anything else — please contact any of the reporters or Sifted’s deputy Eleanor Warnock ([email protected]) who leads our investigations. We are all experienced journalists and, of course, never reveal our sources. 

News 

We always thought that there was too much commoditised funding news in startup reporting. We were never convinced that “X company has raised X money to do X” was really what people wanted to read. Having said that, we do write a fair bit of news and we do write some fundraising news.

The best news stories are our own scoops, obviously. We are proud of stories like this, which showed that N26 had a run-in with the UK regulators in the weeks before it left the country. But we also write stories based on notable events (e.g Monzo getting a new CEO) or startup announcements that we think speaks to a bigger issue or area we have been covering.

For example, we wrote about a seed raise by Finland’s Blidz about social shopping because it was a business model that hasn’t yet taken off in Europe or the US despite being huge in China. The press release was the raise, but the story was the bigger trend.

Please note that we are a small team. If you want us to write about your announcement, the longer warning you give us the better. We definitely like getting a heads up about upcoming funding under embargo and organising interviews ahead of time.

Send news — and ideally exclusive news — to [email protected] All the editors get this email, so someone will pick it up. 

Opinion Pieces 

We love getting pitched ideas for opinion pieces that take a slightly controversial or unusual view on an element of the European startup world.

Please read this article to find out how to do this and what we are looking for. Pitch ideas (but not pre-written pieces, please) to [email protected]

Topics we are most interested in

Fintech

No doubt about it, financial services startups are some of the most exciting in Europe. Companies such as N26, Revolut and TransferWise have already gone a long way to reshaping the way we bank. There is now a new generation of startups digitising all aspects of finance, such as trading and wealth management, with some founders launching banks that are not banks at all. 

We have a full-time fintech reporter, Amy O’Brien ([email protected]), who is keen to hear your ideas. See some recent stories here and here

Venture Capital 

Like it or not, the VC industry is hugely important to European startups and tech, cutting across all sectors. We write about the big and small funds, how they operate, the trends they are seeing and what they are betting on. We try to stop our site being flooded by the musings of VCs (they do like to muse) but we do like to hear — and challenge — their opinions. 

Editor Amy Lewin ([email protected]) is the main point of contact (but it’s also worth getting in touch with our local reporters too, see below). See some recent stories here and here

Healthtech

Startups such as Kry, Alan, Clue, Doctolib and Docplanner are reshaping the European healthcare sector — and have the potential to have huge, literally life-changing, impact. Healthtech is one of the biggest European sectors in terms of investment (after fintech and enterprise software) and has seen an enormous boom as a result of Covid-19 so we are excited about the sector and want to cover it in depth. 

Healthtech is covered by our Nordics correspondent Mimi Billing ([email protected]) and reporter Kai Nicol-Schwarz ([email protected]). See some recent stories here and here.

Deeptech & AI

The deeptech sector — novel technologies that offer significant advances over those currently in use — is attracting huge interest. Leading companies in the sector have real potential to become world leaders, and there is big money going into them. We’re interested in futuristic tech being built today like flying cars, delivery robots and insect farms, and big complex topics like quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

This is covered by our deputy editor Eleanor Warnock ([email protected]). See some recent stories here and here

Corporate Innovation

Corporates are major startup investors, as well as funding countless accelerators and partnership programmes. For many startups, their relationship with big companies is crucial, while corporates are increasingly realising that they have a lot to learn from startups too. 

We find that all fascinating, and we are looking especially for interesting hands-on case studies, as well as research and data. Our innovation reporter Alejandro Tauber ([email protected]) has a (great) newsletter dedicated to it called Future Proof. See some recent stories here and here

Startup Life

Beyond specific industries, we’re also intrigued by what goes on behind the scenes at fast-growing businesses. We write about cultural issues around startups, like diversity in tech, mental health and company culture. And we look into the nuts-and-bolts of growing a business — hiring, fundraising, scaling, pivoting, co-working — and share practical advice, from pitch deck tips to remote mentoring tips

Reporter Miriam Partington ([email protected]) leads on Startup Life-related coverage and future of work. See some recent stories here, here and here. Often we cover this topic through opinion pieces from founders and investors. 

European ecosystems

We also write about local ecosystems. We have a team of reporters across the continent who cover stories from their regions as well as writing stories about all the topics above.

France: Chris O’Brien ([email protected]) in France

Eastern Europe: Kit Gillet ([email protected])

Spain and Portugal: Tim Smith ([email protected]) in Barcelona

The Nordics: Mimi Billing ([email protected]) in Stockholm

Germany: Miriam Partington ([email protected]) in Berlin

This piece was last updated on Mar 23, 2022.

Join the conversation

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of