Seed Stage Investor Update Template

Audience

Our investor updates go out to everyone who has written a direct check into Great Question, but they go further than that.

Frequency

I send these updates out religiously every single month, and have done so since we went full-time. At first it might have gone to half a dozen people to let them know about the new thing I was working on, but slowly but surely that list grew.

Key Sections

These are the key sections I include each month. Sometimes I’ll add in a new section where it’s relevant, other times I’ll drop a section if I don’t have anything to say.

Subject

I generally use the same subject line every month to keep things consistent. I bookend the title with emojis to make it stand out in folks inboxes too.

Intro

My intro is pretty standard and rarely changes week to week.

  • Providing meta context on what happened this month & my energy levels;
  • Reminding folks what we’re doing as a company (some folks get a lot of these!); and
  • Re-iterating that this is a confidential memo.

Asks

I put any “asks” that I have of folks on the list up front in the update, before we even get to the highlights, since this is often the primary goal of the update: to get some kind of support.

  • Writing a pre-canned tweet that folks can share on social media
  • Getting folks to reply if they have a potential intro so I can write a personalized double opt-in message that they can just forward along

Highlights

This is the “too long, didn’t read” section of the update; a teaser so folks can get the meat of the story up front and ideally convince them to read the whole thing.

Voice of the customer

This is a chance for us to share some of what we’re learning in the words of our customers. Quotes can come from a few places including customer interviews, NPS comments, support emails etc.

Metrics

I pull metrics out of Stripe, Mixpanel, and our bank. I have a template doc I pull from which always links to the same place so I can just click through to the right place, grab the number and move on.

Good stuff

This is my chance to highlight some of the great stuff that we’ve been working on, major logos, new hires, experiments that are starting to stick etc.

Less good stuff

We used to call this “the good, the bad and the ugly” but often there wasn’t a lot of bad or ugly stuff, at least that we were aware of. I renamed it “less good stuff” to make it clear it’s things that could be better but not catastrophic stuff we’re freaking out about. I’m sure at some point sooner or later I’ll need to reintroduce the “Ugly” section.

What we’re thinking about

This is a chance for me to highlight some of the strategic thinking that’s been going on. It could relate to all kinds of things from how we’re thinking about our path to product market fit, fundraising needs, new product launches etc.

The month ahead

This is a fairly short section for what we’re going to be working on in the month ahead to let folks know where are focus is going to be going.

Shout outs

Investors tend to be pack animals, highly competitive, and fueled by ego. Except for you, that is. You’re great.

Close

I generally sign off with a final reminder of the ask, or at the minimum a request to reply to the email with their feedback. I’d say I get a ~40% response rate which I’ve heard is quite high.

Tactical considerations

I use Apple Notes for my day-to-day note taking and have a folder in there for “investor updates”. Throughout the month I’ll jot down any ideas on things to include in the update, from major milestones, to challenges, or customer quotes I want to share. This is also a great way to track folks you want to shout out for their support throughout the month.

Results

When we first started sending these updates out it was a way to keep ourselves accountable, and make sure we were making maximum progress each month.

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Ned Dwyer

Ned Dwyer

Australian in SF. Product manager & entrepreneur. Running & reading.