You just raised a round. You have the check in hand. Hiring and product updates are moving along. Now what?
While bringing on a new set of investors is exciting for your business, there are critical steps to “onboarding” new investors to ensure all parties are getting the most of the new partnership.
Ideally, you selected your new investors strategically and did your own due diligence through the fundraising process. As Faisal Hoque puts it, “Funding can actually kill your venture, especially when there is a major disconnect between you and your investor”. Even if you’ve chosen the right funders, it is vital to your investor relations to establish a communication strategy, build a data distribution system, and set expectations and goals.
Develop a roadmap & expectations
Hopefully, expectations and goals were set during the fundraising process from both sides of the table. Your expectation will likely evolve over time as your relationships and your company continue to grow. However, it is still vital to lay out any expectations, by both parties, once the check is signed.
Bringing on a new VC means bringing on a new business partner. It is essential to have a clearly communicated set of goals that your investors are bought in on. Having stakeholders with different ambitions and expectations can lead to underutilizing their time, network, and experience. Clement Vouillon of Point Nine Capital offers a good starting point in the questions below:
“There is no right or wrong here, but by thinking about what you need, it will be easier for you and your investors to get aligned:
- Do you need a “hands-on” type of relationship? Or you want to keep it very light?
- Are you aware of “weaknesses” in your founding team that could be filled by your investors knowledge (education) or network (hiring)
- Do you need industry specific knowledge or specific value add that your investors offer?”
For an early stage company, you will most likely need to set what metrics you are tracking and distributing. The most important thing here is sharing your metrics/data on a recurring basis and allowing your investors to “connect the dots.” What metrics you are tracking will depend on your business, market, vertical, etc. If you’re looking for a place to start, we suggest the “16 Startup Metrics” from a16z and “How to Steal the Right Growth Metrics for Your Startup.”
“Ultimately, though, good metrics aren’t about raising money from VCs — they’re about running the business in a way where founders know how and why certain things are working (or not) … and can address or adjust accordingly.” – the team at a16z
Data Distribution and Communication
Organization is key when it comes to managing your investor relations. After you raise your round, one of the first questions you should ask is, “how am I going to communicate and interact with my investors?”. While building a rapport is ultimately dictated by the stakeholders involved, we generally find the following structure to be most popular and work for many founders and VCs:
Chances are, this will be the main line of communication you have with your investors and board members. There are countless resources, templates, and guidelines for running a board meeting but we suggest checking out “How to Make Board Meetings Suck Less” if you’re looking for a place to start.
“The most effective CEOs that I’ve observed send regular, short, board update emails every few weeks or monthly just to give the board a sense of what is going on. Of course it’s not required and many don’t do it. But I find that the more informed your board is and the more you’re staying on their radar screen the more effective they’ll be for you.” – Mark Suster
While the internet is flooded with content and resources for “investor reports” many founders still don’t do it. To make the most of your new investors and board members, turn your monthly updates into a habit and slowly tailor the format, content, and frequency to the likings of all parties. Check out this example of a monthly report to get the ball rolling.
These are best used to supplement a monthly email or update. Instead of exchanging emails back and forth, quickly jump on a call to go over financials, product updates, roadmap, etc. Be sure to set a clear agenda so you don’t lose control over your meeting.
All of your investors will bring a different set of skills and resources to the table. If you have a specific asks for hiring, intros, strategy, etc. don’t be afraid to tap into your investor’s network and hop on a one-on-one call.
An engaged investor can be key to taking your business to the next level. By developing a cadence with your investors you can easily tap into their network to help with hiring, fundraising, and closing deals. Want to start your investor relations off on the right foot? Sign-up for a free Visible trial here to make the most of your new partnership.
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