Skip straight to the template, here.
Investor updates is a key practice in communication and company building. Keeping your investors up to date on what you’re doing is crucial in generating investor engagement and building the relationships that contribute to growth.
Particularly in remote work, investor updates heighten the highs when things are going well, as soften the lows when things aren’t going so great. They also provide a great exercise in communication that translates into relationship building with every stakeholder in your company (including employees). So, even if you are a very early stage startup, if you expect to have investors, implement the habit now of writing a monthly investor update, so that you become proficient at sharing both good and bad news in the best way.
What is an investor update?
Investor updates are communications that share key qualitative and quantitative data with investors. In public companies shareholder (investor) updates are required by law. But, since private companies raise money from private investors and not the investing public, they are not subject to the same disclosure laws as public companies. So because they are not required, they are often overlooked. Even so, private investors do have a right to information about their investment, and foreclosing this information on a regular basis gives the company a much higher chance of success. They are not only for investors, but for you.
Investor updates can include financial data, upcoming business decisions, any press or media updates, and ways that investors can get involved. A sign you are doing this well is when it is easy for you to write & easy for investors to read, and as a result you should receive good feedback. You can find an example of an investor update here.
Why are investor updates an important habit to build as an operator?
There are a few reasons, and not all of them are for your investors:
- The obvious one is that keeps investors in the loop. Not only do private investors have a right to know how your company is doing, they want to know where their investment is going, and they shouldn’t have to ask to get that information.
- It keeps your startup in their mind. So in sharing. And if you have asks or needs, it will stick in their minds. These needs typically revolve around hiring, funding & networking. Investors often have multiple positions in different companies, and your updates help keep some of their attention on yours.
- It shows that you’re a communicative entrepreneur who cares about building value for any involved stakeholders. Not only is that simply the right way to behave with anyone who puts into your business, but it’s also useful for building a good reputation, where that can evolve into more funding, or help later down the line. Build this reputation, before you need it.
- For me, I find that writing these every three months creates valuable mileposts in the way I think about Moot, whilst every month allows me to keep myself and the team accountable to our goals. I reflect on what’s working, what isn’t & by thinking about our strategy and evaluate the business from the high level, can reevaluate our recent decisions. This is the way of high performing leaders who run public companies, and the principle translates well at the early stages.
What should you consider in your update?
In drafting investor updates, keep things simple. This keeps the focus on what’s actually going on, and how investors might be able to help. You can see our complete template here but below is the framework we use to write it.
Format. The style of the update should be tailored to the nature of the brand and investors. Whatever the chosen style, be sure to divide the information into digestible sections for easy reading. Also, once you have developed a good format, stick with it, so that it is easy for you to draft the next update, and easy for investors to read it quickly.
Frequency. Updates should be scheduled so that there is enough time to make progress and provide substantive updates as a result. If monthly updates feel too often, provide quarterly updates. Once you decide upon the frequency, it is important to ensure the updates are delivered consistently at those times. Consistency signals reliability and increases the level of trust investors have. However if you miss the exact day for an update, never apologise for it. Even doing it puts you above an beyond most entrepreneurs.
Recap. Include short narratives about how things have changed for the better or any setbacks experienced.
It’s important to be object and create helpful metrics that will help investors understand how growth is measured. You can then highlight any added traction that the business has been getting, whether through profitability, revenues, publicity, partnerships, or other engagement.
Financials. Discuss revenue, burn and potential burn through any future initiatives. Check this with the level of cash reserves you have to explain your run rate and how this run rate informed your strategy.
Asks. Investors are smart and connected people. This is why they are investors. Leverage investor expertise and point out how they can become further involved. Be considerate with asks and remember if you don’t ask, you won’t get.
Challenges. This is an optional section that is good for reinforcing your asks and strategy in the next months.
Thanks. Show your appreciation for your investors involvement in your company, regardless of how much & consider placing a spotlight on investors who have helped the business recently. It is an effective way to show appreciation, encourage active participtation and can prompt other investors to be more involved.
Investor updates are an important exercise in company building. If your investors haven’t heard from you in a while, use the template above to get them back into the loop. They’ll appreciate the update, and it just could get you the advice — or more — you need to move through whatever challenge you have now or into the future.
Investor updates are not only for investors, they are for you. If you don’t have investors, I recommend going through the exercise of writing a hypothetical investor update at least every three months. It bodes well with your founder/CEO update that you can do weekly.
It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day all the time, and writing simple yet concise updates to be immensely valuable for seeing the big picture of how your business is really doing. It brings you back to what’s important. Making things that people want.
Moot is the all-in-one workspace for remote teams. Initially Moot substitutes for quick, human fuelled, real time collaboration. As a multiplayer work hub, we’re building block widgets for everything you can imagine. Brainstorming, note taking, face-to-face calling, chat, celebrations and more. A fully customisable, plug and play system to build your remote org, exactly how it needs to be. All with a native video experience.
Does that sound exciting? If so, get in touch, book a demo, partner with us. Whether remote, hybrid or async, we're building the infrastructure for the future of work & we want your company to be part of the journey. Let's make it great!