Investor Reporting Primer for Start-ups

As an active angel investor and Market Lead for Astia Angels, I am privy to all sorts of formats and styles of reporting from founders to their investors.  Below I share the essentials.

  • Provide regular updates. Commit to a regular schedule of reporting (no less than quarterly) and stick to it.
  • Pick a format and be consistent. Whether you do a monthly call or send an email or provide a deck, choose a format that you can deliver regularly.
  • Don’t make it too much of a production. Emails without lots of fancy formatting are fine with me since I am looking primarily at the content.
  • Make a clear and direct “ASK.” Explicitly identify one needle-moving request. Be specific, such as need introductions to GMs or CEOs of fulfillment centers in the midwest.
  • Be sure to include quantitative information. I love hearing about your new digs, but I also want to hear the business and financial fundamentals such as actuals vs. estimates on budget and revenue, cash on hand, burn rate, etc.
  • More important than the numbers is their explanation. Please explain why your numbers are above OR below what you estimated and how you are going to adjust going forward.
  • Finally, if you have a news-worthy “win”, let the investors know right away. No need to wait for the regularly scheduled communication. Likewise, a show-stopping problem should also be communicated sooner, rather than later.

Ten Rules of Investor Decks

After looking at countless investor decks and hearing pitches, I have started to notice a pattern of comments that I make to Founders. They are summarized below. CAVEAT ALERT – this is focus group of one AND all of these ideas are detailed in countless other slide decks.

Rule #1:  Keep it short and simple – no more than 15 pages.

Rule #2:  Include an Appendix and put as many slides as you want in it.

Rule #3:  Include your contact information in the deck.

Rule #4:  Use lots of graphics – a picture is worth a thousand words.

Rule #5:  Clearly indicate the pain point and solution.

Rule #6:  Include all the relevant information for investors.

Here is more or less the investor formula: to understand the problem/pain point; the solution; size and characteristics of the target market; Go to Market Strategy and TRACTION; product pipeline and IP portfolio/protection; competition/differentiation; business model with costs, prices and margins; path to profitability; details of the raise including use of funds and exit comparables; the team, including Advisors.

Rule #7:  Create multiple decks for multiple audiences.

Rule # 8:  Do NOT incorporate feedback from every Joe, Dick and Sally but DO proofread the deck.

Rule #9:  Do NOT read slides during a presentation.

Rule #10:  Practice the deck until it rolls off your tongue, in your sleep.

On Terror’s Edge: How to Push Your Limits and Excel- Camille Preston

Elizabeth Crowell:

Are you an Executive Athlete? Think most entrepreneurs are!

Originally posted on Executive Athletes:

On Terror’s Edge: How to Push Your Limits and Excel

Athletes push the limits every day. We push ourselves to run faster and farther. We lift more weights. We spin longer and harder. We hold new poses. We run, hike, and bike as hard and as far as we can, often on the same day. We try new things, always striving beyond our limits.

As athletes we know we have to push past our limits to grow and develop. We do not improve if we do not do so. We know that to develop our muscles, our hearts, and our bodies we have to push past our limits. But do we push past our limits professionally and personally to achieve the same excellent results?

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In my work with leaders, I often use the image of a donut to help describe the way we live and learn. I know, you’d

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Part 8 of my Funding 101 series is live

Read on to find out the upside and limitations to crowdfunding. Many thanks to TheNextWomen.com for publishing my series.

Link

3 Steps from Entrepreneur to Angel Investor

3 Steps from Entrepreneur to Angel Investor

September 6, 2013, The Charlotte Post interview with Elizabeth Crowell

Link

8 Reasons Angel Investing Fulfills YOUR Dreams While Helping Others

8 Reasons Angel Investing Fulfills YOUR Dreams While Helping Others

February 5, 2014, Forbes article by Geri Stengel

Part 7 of my Funding 101 series is live

Read on to learn how much funding comes from Friends & Family -  you won’t believe it! Many thanks to TheNextWomen.com for publishing my series.

Funding for the Real World, presented by The Salon

Hope to see you tonight, Tuesday, Sept 17 6:30pm at Thompson LES, 190 Allen Street for the Funding for the Real World panel. Click here for more details.

Join me for a POOLSIDE panel on funding

I am thrilled to announce that I am moderating a panel called: Funding for the Real World presented by The Salon. If you are based in NYC or will be in NYC on Sept. 17, please join me for a poolside chat with an amazing group of women.

Click here to purchase tickets and looking forward to seeing you on Sept. 17.

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Funding 101 – Part 6: Venture Capital is live

Looking for funding? Read Part 6 of my Funding 101 series for TheNextWomen.com to find out if venture capital is right for your business.