How to give investor updates that keep investors excited about your startup
Across their portfolios, investors choose to focus on a few companies they think will be big winners — big enough to return their funds multiple times over.
As a founder, your imperative is to ensure they think your startup will be a winner.
Investor updates are a key way to get investors continually excited about your company, so you can successfully make asks from them to leverage their strengths.
Even after they’ve given you money, investors can add value through:
- Making introductions to companies who become your earliest customers.
- Connecting you with stellar people who become your earliest employees.
- Advising you on product strategy, go to market approach, and growth ideas to get you where you want to be.
By sending investors consistent, monthly updates, you can get them pumped up and excited to follow through on the things you might ask of them.
At the same time, startups are often chaotic and intense, and it takes time to pull up and think about how your company is doing at a high level.
Even if something isn’t going well — which is almost always! — it’s still important to communicate with investors regularly.
Because the biggest sign of things *truly* not going well is not sending a regular investor update.
Here’s how to send an investor update that keeps momentum on your side:
Step one: Pick and stick to a regular schedule for investor updates.
Remember, even sending a bad investor update is better than sending none at all.
Companies die when people become disengaged, apathetic, or burnt out — so it’s a big red flag to investors when you stop sending regular investor updates.
And when you’re really engaged and things are going well, sending an investor update is easy. Who doesn’t want to share good news?!
Step two: Create an investor workspace to house all of your investor updates.
We have an Almanac workspace that serves as a permanent home for our “investor relations.”
This way investors can see all the updates in a place that’s easily accessible to them. Here’s a look our 2022 Investor Relations handbook inside our investor workspace:
Step three: Don’t tell. Show!
Specifically–show your numbers.
Companies that are doing well always lead with numbers.
Even if you’re early on or not doing well, it’s still important to report on numbers. You’re a business, after all.
Investors didn’t give you money to hear your thoughts or feelings. They invested because they want to see you making something people want.
Always show your progress, and include numbers, KPIs, goals, and how you’re tracking.
Step four: Provide substantive product updates.
Show investors that you’re shipping stuff out the door. Include gifs or screenshots of what you’ve built.
The more examples you show of your product, marketing, and what you’re actually doing, the more investors can see how things are moving forward.
Here’s a look at one of the many product gifs we showed investors in our Q1 22 Product Update:
Step five: Make it easy for investors to help you.
If you’re looking for introductions to early customers, put together a spreadsheet of your dream customers with a space for investors to name each company they can introduce you to.
Then, write custom intro emails for each company/investor pair, and send them to your investors to forward on. Here’s an example of an email I asked one of our investors to forward on:
That way all your investors have to do is put their name in a box and forward a custom email when they get it. Super easy.
We also gamify our investor asks by giving kudos in our updates to investors who have helped us out over the last month. That way, the rest of our investors know they’re in competition for our recognition.
Investors can provide a lot of value, and it’s up to the founders to unlock that value.
By keeping momentum on your side and providing them with regular updates, you’ll keep your investors excited and ready to help when you come knocking.