How to Write an Investor Update

Benjamin Debonneville
Founder & CEO
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Running a business isn't a one-man show, and managing investor relationships plays a pivotal role in the long game.

Once you've secured your startup's funding, the real work begins. You might think the ties with your investors are cut after the check clears, but think again.

A fruitful business journey lies ahead, dotted with vibrant discussions about more than just the returns on investment.

It's about your venture, your strategies, and your necessities for success.

In the unpredictable landscape of startups, investor updates are your guiding lights. They provide the much-needed transparency and assurance to those who have put their faith in you.

But, more importantly, they enable you to steer the ship, navigating through the volatile sea of startup challenges.

So, what's the real magic behind an impactful investor update?

Stick around as we dive into the nuts and bolts of writing a powerful investor update that can transform your relationships with investors and future endeavors.

Why Send an Investor Update?

You've snagged the funds, and your startup vision is now a reality, but why is keeping the investor in the loop important?

Simply put, it's all about trust, growth, and the collective journey toward success.

Here are some compelling reasons why sending investor updates is absolutely vital:

  • Trust Building: Regular, transparent updates about your progress, triumphs, and trials foster trust with your investors. They will be there in the sunshine and the rain, as long as they're not surprised.
  • Attracting More Capital: Sharing updates can encourage your current investors to inject more capital and introduce potential investors to your enterprise.
  • Marketing and Proof of Competence: Regular updates give investors the content to sing your praises, which can influence their networks, aiding your growth.
  • Business Introductions: Updates provide investors with ammunition to connect you with potential clients, vendors, or talent, especially during times of transition or hardship.
  • Goal Tracking: Documenting both quantitative and qualitative data over time keeps your team accountable and provides a clear roadmap for future objectives.
  • Expertise Sharing: Open lines of communication allow investors to serve as mentors, sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience.

Remember, your investor updates are not just reports; they are powerful tools to propel your business to greater heights.

So, are you ready to master the art?

Best Guidelines for an Investor Update?

Keeping your investors informed is an art, a dance if you will, that balances transparency, consistency, and a sprinkle of your unique entrepreneurial spirit.

But how do you choreograph this dance to the rhythm of success?

Let's break it down:

  • Rhythm of Reporting: Depending on the scale of your business, send updates either monthly or quarterly, with an annual roundup.
  • Brevity is Key: Keep updates concise yet informative. Aim for 250-750 words for regular updates and save the deep dives for your annual reports.
  • Preparation is Half the Battle: Begin drafting your update a couple of weeks in advance. Gather your financials, product metrics, and team inputs to paint a full picture.
  • Keep it Simple: A plain, accessible email format trumps fancy attachments that might never see the light of day.
  • Transparency Reigns Supreme: Share both your victories and setbacks. Remember, trust is built on honesty.
  • Archive for the Future: Use previous updates as a foundation for new ones, saving time and ensuring continuity.

So, are you ready to pen your next investor update, the right way?

Investor Update Template: Key Components

With the basics down and guidelines in our pocket, let's unravel the heart of the matter—the critical elements of an investor update template.

Ready to stitch together an investor update that hits all the right notes?

Let's dive into the key components of an investor update.

Overall Summary

Let's kick off your investor update with an inviting handshake—the Overall Summary.

This section is your elevator pitch, where you unveil your company's recent strides in a snapshot.

Perhaps you've bagged a crowd of fresh subscribers, or your tech whiz just rolled out a new feature that users can't get enough of.

Even if the news isn't all roses, don't shy away from sharing challenges. This is your chance to set the tone and the stage for what your investors should anticipate.

Remember, keep it succinct and punchy—make every word count.

Ready to pen your headline-grabbing summary? Let's get cracking!

Highlights and Lowlights

Walking the tightrope of entrepreneurship, you'll savor the sweetness of victories and bear the bitterness of setbacks.

In your investor updates, you're duty-bound to present both the laurels and the lessons.

Triumphs showcase your company's mettle, underlining the wisdom of the investors' faith in you. But don't shy away from the valleys either - these serve as beacons, illuminating areas that need attention.

The silver lining? These rough patches often stimulate investor involvement, catalyzing problem-solving, and support. The honesty in bearing not just your wins but your warts as well fosters trust - a pivotal cornerstone in your investor relationship.

Remember, it's not about just weathering the storm, it's about getting the whole crew to navigate it with you.

So, take your investors on the full journey - peaks, pits, and all.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Financial Details

This section isn't just about the numbers; it's about the story they tell of your business journey.

Whether your revenue graph is climbing Everest or you're playing tug-of-war with customer churn, your investors are in for the ride.

Ready to showcase your entrepreneurial prowess and financial acumen?

Here’re the items you should thoroughly describe in an investor update!

  • Revenue Streams: Go beyond the dollars and cents, highlighting the regularity and reliability of your income, whether it's from monthly subscriptions or one-off sales.
  • Growth Metrics: Give your investors front-row seats to your growth story, from your blossoming customer base to the bustling user activity.
  • Traction Details: Let your progress do the talking. Unpack your traction through the lens of profitability, user count, and market engagement.
  • Financial Data: Lay bare your financial metrics—cash flow, expenses, margins—with transparency and consistency. Visual aids like charts and graphs can come in handy here.
  • Scenario Planning: Share the highlights of your strategic plans, giving a glimpse into your worst, base, and best-case models.

Remember, it's not just about the data—it's about how you interpret it and plan your next steps.

Product Update

In the vibrant, ever-shifting landscape of your business, your product is your north star. It's that compelling new feature, a game-changing update, or maybe it's time to bid farewell to an old service.

Be candid. Think your product could use a refresh, or worried about waning market interest?

Share it with your investors - they'll appreciate being in the loop and who knows, they might even help brainstorm a revival strategy!

Highlight the sterling work your team has done this month. Any new launches or innovative product tweaks?

Keep your investors posted. Their support and advice can help guide your product development path. Let your investor updates reflect the dynamism of your product because an informed investor is a happy investor.

By consistently communicating about your product's evolution, you're building trust, showcasing your team's capabilities, and keeping everyone engaged in the exciting journey of your business.

Now, isn't that worth a regular product update?

CTA: Ask for Investor Help

At the end of the investor update, it's time to serve up your Call to Action, a stage where your needs take the spotlight.

Believe it or not, your investors are not just money wells, but wellsprings of wisdom, experience, and networks. Need help finding a stellar COO, a trustworthy vendor, or seeking an influx of new business?

Don't hesitate to ask. This is your platform to articulate your requests.

Remember, your investors are your team - they're on board with your vision, and invested in your success.

So why not tap into their expertise, their Rolodex, and their resources?

After laying out your updates and your challenges, it's time to ask for the assist. Whether it's advice, introductions, or rallying for the next funding round, seize the opportunity to enlist their support.

Because in this business, no company is an island, and a well-timed ask can pave the way to success.


Investor update is not just about data dumps or financial acrobatics. It's about narrative, communication, and, above all, relationships.

With the right mix of consistency, transparency, and data-driven storytelling, you're not just providing figures - you're building trust. And in the high-stakes world of business, trust is your golden ticket.

So remember, keep it succinct, keep it engaging, and keep it coming. Whether it's high tides or low, your investors deserve to ride the waves with you. Happy updating!

Benjamin gave great tips to my start-up Blend for polishing and optimising my pitch deck, refreshing perspective. Recommend!