Keeping investors in the loop and on side

Running a successful startup requires founders and their teams to work on many different aspects of the business. One of the most important -- albeit potentially cumbersome -- part of the journey is investor updates. So how do you minimize the time you spend on this while maximising its effectiveness?

For most startups, a quarterly update is enough, although depending on the scale of your business or your investors a monthly update might make best sense. As a founder, it’s important to realize an investor has taken a chance on your company, and it’s only natural for them to want to stay in the loop. Nobody likes surprises! By extension, they shouldn’t have to ask for updates. So make sure you send your updates on time as communicated. Also consider sending update to advisors. The more you share with them, the better informed they are, and the more they can help.

Here’s an outline of information you should include in every investor update:

1. Numbers

Quantitative KPIs will show what is going on with your business and help give an objective view. You can save the rationale behind the numbers for later sections. For starters, include:

  • Revenue ($ and % vs. prior month)
  • Expenses
  • Burn (along with runway)
  • NBITDA

2. Traction 

It is depending on the type of business you have, you may want to stress some items over the others:

  • Churn
  • Customer acquisition
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Orders per customer
  • Total customers

3. Business Updates

They include anything relevant to the operations of the business

  • Key personnel updates
  • Marketing
  • Overall strategy
  • Product details including any changes, enhancements, and roadmaps

4. Funding or offers

  • Interested parties and/or offers
  • Status of discussions
  • General thoughts and direction of future funding necessary

5. Key Events

They include any milestones, challenges, or anything else which helps convey the reasons for past, current, or future performance.

6. Questions

Use this section for anything longer term questions that you may have for investors or use it if you need help from their network for anything from introductions, partnerships, hiring, product expertise, or anything else you need.

Overall, investor updates don’t need to be extremely detailed, and we would suggest you set up a template to make life easier. Stick to the details above and you won’t go too wrong. But modify as necessary to ensure your investors are happy with what you are sharing.

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