Good investor updates
Recently I sent out my usual update to the investors in Raygun. It was nice to have one of our investors tweet about the latest update:
This led to a discussion from some other founders asking about how I structure them. Good question, and the point of this post.
Note: I say good investor updates, not great investor updates, because they could be better. I’d love to hear about your suggestions or tips. These are also frequent updates, every couple of months. Not annual letters.
I always start with a narrative of what has happened since the last investor update. This section is between half a page and a page long. I like to discuss customers, team, product and market.
What’s keeping me up at night?
This is a sub section at the end of the introduction. I added it at the request from an investor and it’s been a big win. Even when times are good in your business, you likely have things you’re concerned about. This is a great place to share that.
It’s also useful for making sure you’re not skewing the investor feedback to be all sunshine & roses. Nobody likes surprises, including investors. No matter how well a business is doing, some part of it is probably on fire.
Numbers tell the story of growth, and this is the section for that.
Customers and MRR
The number of customers and change in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) since the last update.
I include a table of SaaS metrics by month. While we have extensive internal metrics, I’ve picked the metrics that we most closely watch internally. Specifically, I report on trials, activated trials, customers, churn (by revenue), churn (by customers), average revenue per customer (ARPU).
Your metrics may be different because your funnel may be different. Pick those that make the most sense for your business.
I also tend to include some notes after the table about anything unusual. Is churn up? Explain why. Is ARPU up? Explain why. I’ve often felt numbers can be meaningless if you don’t know why they have changed.
Lastly in the numbers section, I include a note about our cash position. This is the movement in cash on hand since the last update. I also include notes about any revenue that isn’t part of our SaaS sales.
If the number has changed more or less than usual, I also include a note about why.
Key metrics by month
Numbers tell the story of growth (or lack thereof!), and this is the section for that.
I have a chart showing our monthly recurring revenue over time. Ideally this should be up-and-to-the-right. It gives a quick and clear insight into how the top line of the business is trending.
I know that some investors quickly rush to this chart. It gives a quantitive indication of business health.
In the media
Linking through to any news articles where the business or products have been profiled. All shareholders want a good investment return, but they also appreciate being on the journey. This section shares the journey.
High level of the outcomes from any board meetings that have occurred since the last investor update. It lets investors know what their board is doing.
Our investors have a representative on the board. I make sure that they can include any messages to investors in this section. Be sure to make it clear that this content is from another director.
Finally, I like to wrap up with a thank you for helping us achieve our mission.
I also include my contact details and always encourage investors to reach out to ask any questions.
I hope that helps!