Written By: Janine Kick
During each raise, we come to a critical point where there are a solid number of investors ‘in the mix’ and a fair number have fallen into the ‘keep me updated on your progress’ camp. You know what that means, it’s time for an investor update. Keeping potential investors updated on the progress you’re making through your raise not only demonstrates progress made but keeps you top of mind.
When an investor reads a company update, they’re looking for indications of your company’s trajectory. This could mean signs of product-market-fit or whether your startup is scaling successfully. Most of all, investors need to see you’re running through the red tape.
All that said, I know investor updates can be a daunting task so let’s break down the key elements to include in your next update.
- Cadence – First things first, at the Seed or Series A stage, a bi-monthly or monthly cadence is the pace to aim for. Too many things change in the business if you go beyond this. Once you set the cadence, it’s important to stick to it as much as possible to demonstrate timeliness and accountability.
- Highlights – Most investors will only end up scanning your update. Frustrating, I know! But these are busy people we’re talking about. Put your key takeaways at the top. This can be anything from key deals that closed, new partnerships, product releases, marketing strategies launched, to recent press coverage.
- Performance KPIs – These performance metrics should demonstrate growth and traction. In other words, stickiness. They change from organization to organization but at a headline level, revenue, # of users, # of orders, and GMV are good starting points.
- Customer Wins – Whether you’ve landed a significant new customer or renewed a contract, investors will want to hear about it. Including new logos added and positive customer feedback or a net promoter score can demonstrate traction. The more you’re able to emphasize the impact of said customers the better.
- Technology – Highlighting new product launches and roadmaps is critical. These are tech investors you’re talking to. They want to understand where the product is going and when. It’s important to communicate the benefits of each product as it hits the market.
- Key Hires – As your startup scales, your team will change. The people you highlight here should be the key players that are going to make the biggest impact – the woman who is going to take your product to the next level.
Now, I know founders are broadly under-resourced, pressed for time, and stressed. Here is a tactic I recommend for these updates. Block 60 minutes the weekend prior to the end of the month when you can concentrate and focus. Begin by reading the update you sent the month prior to refresh where you left off and remind yourself of any goals set. Then start writing this month’s update and save it as a draft. Set a reminder for the 1st of the month and take another 30 minutes to review the draft, make edits, and then hit send.
Then get out there and keep running through the tape!
Kerosene Ventures – Helping Great Founders Raise Capital