When you hear their story, PepperCom Inc.'s secret to success in the public relations arena sounds simple: The 5-year-old company offers something unique and does it very well. "We're experts at working with small technology and Internet companies and helping them figure out a one- or two-sentence description that sets them apart," explains Ed Moed (l.), 34, who co-founded the New York City agency with partner Steve Cody in 1995.
What also helped the young firm mushroom from a one-bedroom start-up into a Park Avenue powerhouse with $5 million in annual sales is its participation in one of the industry's hottest sectors--technology.
"Internet companies, particularly, realize the value of public relations in launching a product," says Richard George, former director of public relations for the Public Relations Society of America.
There's a big need for small firms that can translate high-tech chatter into English. This is particularly true as more Silicon Valleys sprout up around the nation. Among the areas expected to be hottest for tech-oriented PR start-ups are Atlanta; the Austin/San Antonio corridor in Texas; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Boston; Dallas; Denver; Fairfax, Virginia (due to its proximity to Washington, DC); Los Angeles; and New York City.
What's the bottom line? High-tech PR is a $498.8 million (and growing) slice of the public relations world, according to PRWeek Magazine, whose 1998 survey found that the top 200 firms in this industry subsector alone accounted for 25 percent of total revenues.