What is an investor update?
An investor update includes detailed information about your company’s financials, key hires, and customer wins. As your company grows, things change quickly. Sending investor updates at regular intervals is a crucial (and underrated) way to build trust and confidence with your backers. The better your relationship with your investor, the more likely they are to participate in your next round and refer you to new potential investors. Informed investors are also better equipped to guide your company through any challenges.
Below, you’ll learn a few ways to write better investor updates.
Tips for writing better investor updates
Regular updates will help your investors track the growth of your company. Early on, talk with your investors about their expectations for updates. Are there specific metrics they’d prefer to see? What is their preferred style of communication? Setting clear expectations and consistently communicating will build trust between you and your investors. In addition to your investors particular preferences, here are some evergreen tips to keep in mind:
Keep your metrics consistent
- To provide a clear picture of your company, include the latest numbers for consistent metrics in each update.
- Do not switch what you are tracking between updates or pick your “best metrics”—investors will see through this.
Sometimes even the most successful companies have updates with down metrics—that’s okay. Without an honest update, investors will not know when or how they can help.
Commit to a cadence
- Regular updates instill confidence.
- Most small startups send monthly updates.
- Growth or late-stage companies typically send quarterly updates
Use a consistent format
- Ensure your updates are easy to scan by including key information in headlines.
- Consistent formatting allows investors to easily compare updates.
Investor update template
Using an investor update template makes it easier to keep your investors informed as your company grows.
Wondering what a great investor update looks like? Download the template below to see a sample investor update. You can use the financials and KPI calculator to organize your data for your next update.
Download investor updates templates
How to choose which metrics to share with investors
We asked experienced investors which metrics they care about from companies in consumer software, enterprise software, fintech, hardware, marketplace, and e-commerce. The financials and KPI spreadsheet templates above are designed to help ensure your updates are impactful and relevant.
What to include in your next investor update
When an investor reads a company update, they’re looking for indications of your company’s trajectory. Depending on your stage, this could mean signs of product-market fit or whether your organization is scaling successfully. Most of all, investors want to understand whether you’re hitting key metrics and financial goals, including cash runway and burn rate.
Investor updates typically have five major sections:
- Financials and key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Customer wins
- Key hires
Updates can also include miscellaneous items like new board members, your latest product launches, or recent press coverage.
Don’t bury the lede. Your investors want to scan your updates for the most important information about your company. Put your takeaways at the top.
Financials and KPIs
Update investors on your financials, including your burn rate, so your next round does not come as a surprise.
We recommend focusing on a single KPI (key performance indicator), and showing progress against that metric in every update. Depending on your industry, your metric could be daily active users, monthly recurring revenue, or time spent in product.
Whether you’ve landed your first customer or renewed a seven-figure contract, your investors want to hear about it. In addition to customer numbers or sales metrics, consider including new logos added, as well as positive customer quotes or net promoter score (NPS).
As your company scales, your team will change. It can be challenging to find the right lead for engineering or marketing, but when you do, your investors will want to celebrate with you.
Whether you’re trying to make an executive hire, sell to key customers in a certain segment, or expand to a new country, your investors may be able to help. Your investors have extensive networks and connections, and they want you and your company to succeed. Let them know how they can help in this section of your investor update.
Send and track investor updates on Carta
Your investors already turn to Carta for information on their portfolio companies’ cap tables and valuations. Now, you can share milestones and company performance with them on the same trusted platform.
Here’s how it works:
- Use our templates to include the metrics your investors want to see.
- Select recipients based on their share class or relationship to your company, using data already in Carta.
- Keep track of which investors have viewed your updates.
To start sending and tracking your investor updates through Carta, reach out to our sales team to upgrade to the Growth or Enterprise plans. If you already have one of these plans, head to the Shareholders tab to send your first investor update.
This article was originally published on April 10, 2019.
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