Investor and advisor update email template

Regular update emails are a powerful tool for founders to scale their advice-seeking in the early days.
James Alexander
Aug 2020

The ‘update email’ can be a powerful tool for founders but I’ve haven’t seen a great deal of helpful posts or example templates out there so here is mine.

I've met many founders who don’t know what a regular update email should look like or why they can be useful. Hopefully this article can help shed some light on both.

Keep in mind there are no 'hard and fast' rules with update emails. The examples below will give you some inspiration for your own version suited to your company.

Scale your advice-seeking

An update email allows anyone interested in your progress, typically your current and would-be investors, advisors and mentors, to stay in the loop by just reading an email. There’s no onus on anyone to do anything (other than you to send it) and it allows everyone to stay updated and reach out and help where appropriate.

It’s a scalable way to get advice and introductions without taking up a lot of your time.

Either you meet everyone for a coffee every month (which x5-10 people will mean a lot of time) or you send them all a short email every month.

Also, regular update emails can help you build a trusted network. Many investors, Galileo VC included, usually require and update email of some kind post investment too.

Template email

Below is a template update email based on the many startups I’ve worked with over the years. I think it’s a good balance between detail and brevity.

I would recommend sending this out every 1-2 months and to use email (not Mailchimp or newsletter service) and just BCC everyone and CC the co-founders.

<<Hi all,

This is <StartupABC> update email for <month>.

StartupABC Refresher: 1 sentence pitch to refresh everyone on what you do.

[1-5 Core metrics/points is fine. This section should act as your quick summary the health of your business. For investors its vital to see how you're doing and for advisors its great to inform the advice they will give you.]
- Monthly Sales Revenue
- Cash in bank  
- Monthly burn
- Growth metrics e.g. signups, new customers, product engagement
- Tech/R&D Progress e.g. suitable for deep-tech startups etc.

- List your top 3-5 highlights, 1 sentence each (expand on anything significant in a separate area if required)

- List your top 3 challenges here. This is where your investors and advisors will at a glance be able to see and think about what they could help you with.

- 3-5 goals for next month. Think about covering all functions of the business e.g. Point on sales/customers, product and team.

[Super important section to include. This is where people can directly help out and feel good when they do]
- 1-3 top asks for your advisors and investors e.g. introduction to new hire or expert on a topic

- Publicly acknowledge the people who help you within the group (Creates a bit of competitiveness but also promotes the goodwill among your network) e.g. Thanks to Michelle for the advice on our pricing, it helped increase our margins!

Super awesome founder.>>

Example email from Mindset Health

I’ve been on a various update emails over the years and one that’s always super clear and thoughtful is from the Mindset team below.

Mindset have been through Monash Generator, YC and received seed investment but have been sending these out since before all of that. If you don’t know their hypnotherapy-based app, go check it out.

They’re also hiring here.

<<Hey everyone,

Mindset Health helps people manage health conditions with app-based hypnotherapy.

Our Core Metrics
-Monthly listens: XXX listens, +XX% MoM
-Cash in Bank: ~$XXX USD
-Monthly Burn: $XXX USD

-Hiring: we've hired a junior engineer (has been fantastic) and about to hire a XXX
-Growth: we reached positive ROI with our web funnel, which helped drive strong revenue and engagement growth.
-Product: we launched the Android version of XXX with the new voice and variable sessions.
-Research: we've begun discussions with XXXXX on how we'd structure a retrospective study on Nerva with XXXX University.

-Hiring: The XXX who is contracting with us expressed interest in working remote moving forward. We don't want our early team to be remote so he's remained as a contractor for now.
-Product: XXXXX launch was quite buggy which hurt early user's experience, although it's now much more stable.
-Focus: Split focus continues to hurt XXXX until we build the framework product that unifies resources.

A few of our learnings
-Management: Based on team feedback, we need a more structured onboarding process and greater written communication.
-Facebook Audiences: We figured out how to target the right audience in FB ads to improve ROI.
-Clinical research: Running a XXXX doesn't get us reimbursement or approval, just marketing. We can accomplish a similar result with XXX significantly faster and cheaper.

Our Focus For Next Month
-Brand: rollout the brand redesign across the web.
Content: Adding new XXXX sessions and XXXX program depth (written content etc).
-Product: Build feature depth for XXX and replace iOS version with XXXX.
-Growth: Getting users to refer/inform their healthcare practitioners.
Growth marketer and a senior engineer.

We'd love intro's to any *wicked* smart analytical people for our growth marketer role (no marketing experience required) and senior/mid engineers with React experience.

-XXXX Incredible team onboarding and culture building advice.
-XXXX Intro to a web design contractor and helpful feedback on processes, planning, strategy and updates.
-XXXX Valuable SEO advice on link building and sprints.
-XXXX Helpful advice around employee equity, investor management and press strategy.
-XXXX Provided Australian remuneration data that helped us decide on salary/equity for new hires.
-XXXX Intro'd us to an Apple App Store expert.

As always, everyone else who’s been generous with their time, connections and support!

Alex & Chris>>

About the Author
Co-founder and Partner at Galileo Ventures. 'Millennial VC' creating the leading fund for the world's best emerging founders.

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