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.
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