If you’re getting ready to send an investor update, you might be asking yourself questions like: What should I include? How transparent should I be?

When sharing an update, you’ve got to provide enough detail without overloading the reader. It can be hard to strike the right balance. 

Before gathering data and writing your investor update, take a minute to think from an investor’s perspective. Investors—like you—are often bombarded with emails. They may be tracking dozens of startups, so make it easy for them to digest and respond. You’ll ultimately benefit.

To focus, ask yourself: After they skim through your email, what is the one thing you want the investor to take away? Do you desperately need hiring help? Are you crushing your revenue goal? 

Startup Secret: Include a TL;DR section at the top that highlights the main takeaways. Was this a good month? Why?

Think about how you can nurture investors with data about your progress. That way, when you’re ready to raise your next round, investors will be excited to engage.

Using an investor update template makes it easier to outline and structure information, but ultimately, it’s up to you to select data to support your desired outcome. For an editable version of these templates, see our copy in Coda.

Tips for Your Investor Update

As you fill out an investor update template, keep the following in mind.

  • Keep it brief.
    • Be concise. Avoid writing long intros to your emails. Cut any rambling text.
    • Make it easy to read: Use bullet points and subheadings. 
  • Keep it real.
    • Don’t be overly salesy—it can hurt your credibility. Avoid superlatives.
    • If something meaningful is happening in your business, good or bad, keep investors in the know. Never surprise them—they’ll start to lose trust.
  • Keep it specific.
    • Include real numbers and metrics when you can and explain how they compare to plan.
    • Make your asks for help specific and actionable.
  • Keep it meaningful.
    • For any update you share, include a “so what” to connect the dots. You shipped X product. You got X media coverage. What is the benefit or result, and why does it matter?
    • Mention the market. What’s happening with your competitors, and what does that mean for your business?
  • Keep it contextual.
    • If reporting numbers or metrics, provide context. How do these compare to your expectations? Your budget? The prior year?
    • Share any relevant positive or negative trends you notice, and explain how investors should think of them in the future.

A Note About Metrics

Be sure that the metrics you report conform to a normal convention. “People often report metrics incorrectly, like confusing bookings (sales) with MRR (revenue), or they start to count activities (like customers and revenue) that are not yet implemented,” says James Orsillo, Operating Partner at Underscore VC. “That’s dangerous.”

See clear definitions in our SaaS Operating Metrics Template.

How Transparent Should You Be?

The real answer: Be very transparent, but pick the right medium. “I’m always biased toward transparency—it’s good to share highs and lows,” says Lily Lyman, Underscore VC Partner. 

“If you do have sensitive information that you don’t want to disclose in writing, don’t shy away from it,” says James. “Just pick up the phone.”

Picking the right medium can depend on your comfort level, your market, and the topic at hand. Ask yourself:

  • Would you be comfortable with an investor forwarding this to someone in their network?
  • Would you be comfortable with an investor storing this in their database as they track your progress?
  • Will an investor need to have this context to help you?
  • Will this item likely spark a discussion?

We appreciate monthly updates from Seed and Series A companies. However, as you scale beyond that, quarterly becomes the norm.

Seed Investor Update Template (Option 1)

Dear Friends of [Company],

Hope you are doing well! Here is a quick update from the last X weeks/month/quarter at the company.

Main Updates

[Reminder: Underscore’s SaaS Metrics overview is here.]

  • Traction: We finished the last quarter at $XX ARR. Currently tracking at $XX and with the [Customer] season picking up again this quarter, we’re targeting higher growth for the rest of Q.
  • New Customers: Added some great enterprise software logos: [X Customer], [Y Customer], [Z Customer]: and crossed X paying customers.
  • Customer Love: Keeps on growing! New case studies and quotes on [URL to Page]. We are also on [Rating Site] now, trending strong at X/5.
  • Burn & Runway: Still projecting cash runway until [Month/Year] assuming base case revenue growth.
  • Team: We are now XX+ members strong. Really excited to have [Name] join as [Title] to help us [Job Goals]!
  • Customer Advisory Board: We are forming a customer advisory board of thought leaders and influencers in [Industry] – already 10 members strong. 

Q3 Priorities

  • Pipeline building remains the biggest GTM priority. We are actively working towards a free trial flow, and investing in ads and other salestech accelerants.
  • Partnerships as a GTM channel is also something we are keen to experiment with this year. The [Industry] ecosystem is ripe for this – any suggestions here would be welcome.
  • Our CS function is evolving to help us hit market leading NPS and NRR next year. We are now X member-strong and are building out motions for onboarding, success, and support to streamline customer ops.
  • [Customer Use Case] is top of mind on the product side. We are working on some exciting products which will make doing [Customer Use Case] truly simple. More on this next month!
  • Working towards doing a mini customer event in [Month] and a customer conference in [Month]

Best ways to help are

  1. Hiring recommendations for the [Title w/ Link to Job Description] role. Very important to close this.
  2. Community Suggestions: We are looking to work with communities such as X, Y, and Z, where [Customers] hang out. Warm intros to any such community you know of would be helpful. 
  3. Advice on growth: Always looking for tactical advice on growth and partnership recommendations.
  4. Warm intros: Can never get enough of ‘em. Anything especially at [List of Companies] would be great.
  5. Customer Advisory Board: If you know any great [Customer Role] leaders who you think highly of, we would love to speak with them. 
  6. Use us: Many of our investors are using us for [Use Case]. It is a great way to know the product better and spread the word! 

Thanks,

Co-Founders

PS: ICYF “What does [Company] do exactly?” “We are a [Boilerplate Description].”

Seed Investor Update Template (Option 2)

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re having a great summer so far. Here’s our monthly investor update.

But first, how you can help:

Does anyone know a good PR consultant? The holidays will be an awesome opportunity to get our message out to the media and other outlets that will be covering this.

July Summary

Highlights

  • Closed our first 4-figure MRR / $35k ARR customer. 
  • We hired our first full-time Marketing Manager. [Name] comes to us from [Company] and starts this month.
  • We’re now winning deals against major competitors (including [Competitor], [Competitor], and [Competitor]), onboarding larger brands such as [Brand] and won over a few previously churned customers last month. This signifies the investments we’ve made across product, sales, and support these last few months.

Financial

[Reminder: Underscore’s SaaS Metrics overview is here.]

  • $X in the bank
  • X total customers (+X% MoM)
  • $XX Ending MRR  |  $XX Ending ARR  (+X% MoM)
  • X months of runway, cash out date
  • New sales bookings (% of target for month or quarter)

Product Updates

  • We announced integrations with [Product/Company] and [Product/Company].
  • Launched a beta of our [Product Feature].
  • Expanded carrier support for numerous carriers throughout South America and Europe.
  • Built integration with XYZ (not yet announced).

Challenges

MRR was a bit flat in July despite having a strong month in net new customers as we’re recovering a bit from last month’s churn and there’s a lag in reporting usage-based revenue, which will reflect in future months.

August Focus

We’re continuing to focus on:

  • Building a great [Product] and officially rolling it out to all customers.
  • Onboarding Marketing Manager – step on the growth pedal and prepare content and marketing campaigns ahead of [Event].
  • Preparing for our Q4 fundraise.

Happy customer quote of the month:

“XYZ”

Cheers,

Founders

A quick reminder of what we do:

[Insert two-sentence pitch here. website.url.]

Series A Investor Update Template (Option 1)

Investors,

[Company]’s mission is to… [Company] is a [Boilerplate Description]. In September, we crossed over XX [Customer/User Milestone].

Company Update

[Reminder: Underscore’s SaaS Metrics overview is here.]

Last Quarter End   October Goal   October Actual   Current Quarter Target  
New ACV Bookings X X X X
Qualified Sales Pipeline   X X X X
Ending MRR X X X X
Net New MRR X X X X
Cash Burn X X X X
WAU % X% X% X% X%
Hiring 5 New 3 New 2 New 7 New

 

Sales

We had a solid month for new bookings, primarily customers that upgraded from the freemium funnel. [Customer X] was the largest at 50 seats @ $XXX MRR. Our first AE is still ramping but managed to close $XXX in new MRR.

Product

We released one new feature: [Feature Description]. We believe this will accelerate [Customer Goal].  

Cash

$XX in cash, burn was $X in [Month].

Issues

  • Hiring: Unfortunately, we are still having difficulty hiring engineers. Resolution: We are now using Hired.com to help fill the pipeline.
  • Low Morale: The team was feeling low after we lost a big contract to a competitor. Resolution: Installed cold brew coffee on tap.  

How You Can Help

  • VP Sales: We are narrowing in on final candidates for our VP Sales search. Please send me comps for total compensation (base, bonus, and equity) for VP Sales roles at similar stage startups?
  • Office Space: We are bursting at the seams in our current office and we can’t fit another desk unless we move [CEO] to the basement. @Investor: I saw you are connected with real estate broker X. Please email an introduction: “Hi X, I’d like to connect you with CEO of [Company]. CEO is looking for a 3,000-3,500 sqft office in Cambridge near Kendall Sq targeting November move-in. Please connect directly.”

Thank you for your continued support. I specifically want to thank:

  • Lily Lyman of Underscore VC for helping us hire our first content writer last month. Content marketing is a key driver of our funnel and our new hire is already making an impact. Thanks, Lily!

Best,

CEO

Series A Investor Update Template (Option 1)

Investors,

June was a solid month where we continued to focus on transitioning to the new platform and shipping new features. Revenue decreased a bit in June, but many of the updates, launches, and features we shipped will lead to increased revenue in the coming months. Big things are happening in July already!

We also decided to delay the launch of our website/branding a few weeks longer, but we are very close. You’ll have another update there in a few weeks.

Business wins:

  • [Name] is joining [Company] as our new [Title]. She’s coming over from [Company], where she was [Title]
  • Record number of applications for the month (XX)
  • Signed X new client contracts
  • Record number of API calls for the month (XX), up from XX in May
  • Negotiated better contracts with X vendors to increase margins on [Service]

Product wins:

  • Released [Feature] and [Feature] for [Product]
  • Transitioned to a new design system, which will…
  • Completed designs on new data analysis, which will…

Business losses:

  • Did not hit the target for revenue ($XX), down to ~$XX, below target for the month
  • X client launches pushed back to July
  • Revenue fell from $X per [Service] to $X per [Service] due to new feature/product releases
  • Average deal size decreased to $XX which was the 2nd lowest of the year

Product losses:

  • Did not launch new branding
  • Did not switch over to new website yet, will be doing this over the next couple weeks
  • Delayed start of development of [Feature] to next month

Goals for July:

  • Reach $XX in revenue
  • Fill senior Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success roles

Asks:

  • Still looking for great frontend and backend engineers
  • We’d love to speak with anyone who is thinking about launching any kind of [Service] that requires any [Industry Expertise]

Reminder: [Company] does [Boilerplate].

Onward,

Founder



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