I’ve now read over a thousand startup investor updates. The most effective updates — the ones that immediately grab my attention and heighten my interest — have similar characteristics. My advice is below, along with a comprehensive template for startup investor updates.
Common Characteristics of Stellar Startup Investor Updates
For a company that has accepted outside financing, building shareholder value is a key element of success and the best way in which a CEO can help investors. To that end, great investor updates:
What to Include in Startup Investor Updates
In preparing an update, I tell entrepreneurs to ask themselves these questions.
Use your answers as the starting point for your update.
Optimizing Startup Investor Update Readability and Response Rates
Most investors want to be helpful, but they also receive many emails. I suggest the following.
Include your update in the body of the email. If you can, eliminate the friction of downloading documents or logging in.
Make it mobile-friendly. Be conscious of font size and mobile formatting.
Use bullets and headlines. Some of the busiest investors have the best connections. Make your highlights scannable while sitting at traffic lights.
Use consistent cadence and format. Reporting on the same KPIs in consecutive reports and using the same format makes it easy for investors to compare updates and track progress. Quarterly updates are ideal in most cases, but I recommend monthly updates for startups in the midst of a big event such as the first round of funding, a fundraising round that your investors are actively helping to close, an acquisition, or a distress situation.
An Investor Update Template for Startups
I recommend formatting updates like this.
I recommend no more than four sentences on each of the following. Bullets are ideal.
The Startup Metrics Cheat Sheet: How to Calculate What You Are Expected to Know
How Should You Follow Up with an Investor?
How to Ask for an Investor Intro
The Metrics Every Entrepreneur Should Know by Heart
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