Activate your Investors: Monthly Investor Updates in 5 Bullets
Companies that regularly communicate with their investors are twice as likely to raise follow on funding. I have a concept called “activating” your investors.
According to a recent study, companies that regularly communicate with their investors are twice as likely to raise follow on funding. I have a concept called “activating” your investors.
Founders spend so much time picking the ideal investors for their round. They also spend a lot of time trying to get intro to all the right investors. If the company is lucky to have been oversubscribed then they spend a lot of time picking the perfect mix of investors for the round.
After the round closes, oftentimes it’s the virtual crickets in terms of investor communication. Most founders don’t know how to activate their investors. The excitement and the high from a new investment wears off and the investors think you don’t need them beyond the money which is often not true.
In the early days, companies spend a lot of time trying to look for intros to design partners and customers. The chances that your curated investor and advisor list having a warm connection to many of these customers is very high.
You should regularly update your investors monthly since this keeps you accountable and also gives you a chance to engage them with a particular ask or advice on a pressing issue that can have a 10x impact on your business.
How to structure the updates in 5 bullets?
How’s it going? Any major things to note? Churn, Big wins, what’s working / not working
Company Dashboard: What are you tracking? MRR, Engagement, Burn, Money in bank (Runway)? When is your next raise?
Your next milestone: 30 customers in 3 months, $1m ARR in 6 months, 10 new hires, etc.
Help you need to get there:
Strategic: Pricing, upsell, etc. or Intros to customers, open job roles (always share a link), etc.
Ideal Customer Profile — List of Companies & Roles of people you want introductions to. Kinds of companies you want introductions to — size, sector, certain tech stack, etc.
Blurb: Your new company blurb to share with potential intros.
5. Upcoming press and Investor call to action — retweet, share, blurb to use, etc.
Some of my companies have done a great job of updating their investors in ways that are convenient to them. Sometimes that’s just what they are sharing internally with their company and a version of that with the investors. The point is to not do double the work but to stay on investors top of mind.
Series B: Placer.ai sends weekly aggregated new customer emails to investors.
From the CEO — This style of updates has resulted in 100+ intros over time, because investors are engaged, and they see the examples, and “have ideas”.
- Noam Ben-Zvi, CEO of Placer.ai
Series Seed: RadAI sends weekly milestone emails with new customer contracts and upsells
Series Seed: Mapistry sends all sorts of impressive metrics and charts in their monthly updates.
Series Seed: Openprise sends monthly financials along with target revenue vs. actual review every month.
“I get sprinkle of feedback. It also forces me to think about what aspects of the business investors maybe interested in learning more about.”
— Ed King, CEO of Openprise
Series A: PulseQA shares a version of their deck from the board meeting
“Someone always writes back and does intros. Keeps us honest and transparent. And including the team on it also keeps them accountable”
- Mayank Mehta, CEO of Pulse.qa
Series Seed: Capsule shares an updated version of their investment memo on notion. I love this as if someone were you invest at that exact moment there is a lot of clarity on how the company comes across to their audience.
Common Concerns with putting together updates:
I am busy building a company and I will get around to updating investors.
I am worried the update might get shared around and leak our inner workings.
I’m not killing it right now. I’ll wait till I have something positive to share.
It’s a lot of work and I rather focus on the company.
I have a board now and those early investors are a bit out of touch.
I can address these one by one but in summary I can tell you that the benefits outweigh the concerns. This short 5 line template takes away the “I am too busy” argument and no investors don’t just want to hear from you when things are going well. Investors want to know if they could have helped you when things were not going well and you asked for help so at least they were aware of it. Asking for help makes you look stronger and confident in your ability to leverage your network to succeed.
*** If you are that worried about your updates being shared share them over docsend. ***
I also tell founders that even if you fail this is one way you can have your investors back you again for your next venture.
Think of the investor update as a checkpoint for your startup journey as writing the update can be both humbling and exciting. Building a startup can be a lonely journey and keeping your investors in the loop on a consistent basis will make sure you are always part of a team that wants you and more importantly wants to help you succeed.