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Investor Updates not hitting the mark? 7 Tips for Getting it Right.

Vikrant Duggal
Vikrant Duggal
• 4 min read
Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill

Admit it!

You've been guilty of sending a less than stellar investor update.

The opportunity in front of you is massive, the intentions buzzing between you and your co-founder, the consistent collaboration among the team, and passionate discussions with your customers are electrifying. You are going to change the world!

Yet the monthly investor update blends into the sea of emails that your reader can't wait to "Archive".

Not every update will be a hit, but a killer update can do magic for your business and your relationship with your investors. As a Solo GP, I now have the new responsibility of sending quarterly updates to my Limited Partners. I'm working on my first update right now. I also have the pleasure of reading investor updates from the founders I partner with.

I want to share some techniques I've seen work and that I'll be working to install in my investor updates.

Purpose

Before we jump into the tactics, zoom out. Be clear on why you are sending one to begin with. Spend five minutes to answer:

"Why am I sending this investor update?"

Don't read ahead. Just take your timer our, set it for 5 minutes, and write what comes to mind. Here's what I came up within three minutes:

  • Maintain and increase trust with my LPs
  • Gain clarity for myself
  • Open doors to high return opportunities and high conviction founders to partner with and invest in
  • Open door to new Limited Partners and funding
  • Compound my relationship with my LPs
  • Leverage the experience and knowledge of my LPs
  • Increase support the founders I've already invested in
  • Get feedback to improve my investor update

Visible created a How to Write the Perfect Investor Update post with some meaningful resources for founders. I'm not sure I would write mine in the spirit of many of the examples, but I do believe it's a starting point. I do love that they included a Why Send Investor Updates section.

The Opening Paragraph

I want to put the reader right in the story (re-read my opening paragraph, I attempted to do just that). I think about all the emails I get these days. As a reader, I'm looking for comfort and connection. I want to feel understood. The best paragraphs I've read empathize with me and make me feel less alone. Show me that you understand me and you can help me.

"Vikrant," you say, "It's just an investor update."

Yes, and the reader is still a human being and money doesn't get invested logically.

Once you get the introduction down, use this opportunity to summarize your biggest wins or highlights of the month.

I might write:

I hope you're having an amazing quarter so far. Capital committed to the fund has exceeded $800K 🔥🔥🔥.

Ask no more than two question

A powerful tool in our communication toolbox is the question. Very few people will remember what you said. But, a powerful question can linger in the mind and pop up at a random time in the future.

What would it mean to you to have been an early investor in a multi-billion dollar fund that over the coming decades will invest in both early-stage and established growth companies and generate the best returns you've realized?

Note the question I asked you earlier to reflect. While I hope you took the five minutes to answer the question I know that for many of you this question - Why am I sending this investor update? - will come to mind later in the week, or later this month.

Numbers, charts, and facts

Something good is happening!

While emotion and story matter, I love statistics, numbers, and charts that support the story. Our minds find them pleasing. It probably felt good to see the bar chart above going up and to the right. Something good must be happening.

May you had 50 customer calls, maybe you received the first paying customer. Find something to share that will stand out.

Or how about these:

The feature phone market (aka dumb phone) is a $30B industry. Google invested $22M in the space in 2018.

Hitch holds the record as the most-backed bottle in crowdfunding history with 15K+ backers. Ask me how!

Or, find something non-obvious and connect it to your story.

A quote

Quotes work, there's science behind it. The author can be famous, or not famous. When things get tough, many people turn to a motivational quote for inspiration.

While quotes can come from known authors, providing a customer or employee quote can give insight into what's happening. Have a video testimonial you can share? Even better.

On March 3rd, one of my Consulting Club members send me a private note:

Wanted to send a note of gratitude--just passed the 500k/yr mark!! I remember you telling me it was possible and not believing it at the time 😀

Antecdote or Story

Everyone loves a story. Tell me about your people, your customers, something you've learned.

If you're building something for the future that will make a dent in the universe don't forget to share your story.

The vision of my fund is to drive the best returns my investors have seen through early-stage ventures. I'm hoping to partner with the most high-conviction founders who are looking to create their own dent in the universe.

Sharing a founder story, or an opportunity I won, or a founder I passed on each tell a unique story to give my reader context.

Remember, you're also a human so adding a bit of a personal angle to your update can also be great!

Ask For Help

I could use your help. I'm always surprised how little people ask for help. I know I can ask more and I ask for a lot of help.

Asking for help is normal. We all need help and I encourage you to dedicate a section specifically for help. The most specific you can be, the better. You may need help finding a key hire, or introductions. Or, maybe you are looking to get feedback, get support on a launch.

Either way. Ask for help.

Here's my ask: Please send this along to any first-time founder or first-time investor who is looking to get out the gate with an amazing investor update.

VC