Tips from YC: Using Asks, Metrics, and a Recap to Power Your Investor Updates

Matt Preuss
Marketing Manager
Metrics & KPIs Targeted Asks Quick Recap
Unlock your investor relationships. Try Visible for free for 14 days.
Start your free trial

Y Combinator has funded over 1900 startups since their inception in 2005. In the process of funding those startups, YC receives thousands of investor updates on an annual basis. As Aaron Harris, Partner at YC, puts it, “At YC, we get lots of updates from our alums. There seems to be a correlation between quality and frequency of updates and the goodness of the company and founders.”

Over the past year, we’ve had thousands of founders share Updates with their investors and other stakeholders. While investor updates come in all different shapes and sizes, we’ve found that most, if not all, include some form of the following: a quick recap of the last month, metrics and KPIs, and specific asks for your investors. To this point, Aaron Harris of YC suggests using the same components but has interesting thoughts about the order of these components what specific information should be shared.

Metrics & KPIs

Metrics and KPIs are included in almost every Update template we’ve seen come across our table. Including your key metrics with growth percentages is widely expected. Aaron Harris suggests sharing your KPIs and growth percentages first when reporting to your investors. Sharing high-level growth metrics and financial status metrics are what you are looking for here. Examples include revenue, cash in bank, and burn rates. No matter what you decide to share, make sure the metrics are defined and explained to your investors and repeated on a monthly basis.

Targeted Asks

Making targeted asks to your investors is arguably the most impactful part of an investor update. If engaged properly, investors are more than a source of capital. They have experience, advice, and networks you can leverage. Don’t be afraid to ask your investors help with closing deals, finding talent, and future fundraising. Regardless if you put asks first or second in order, Aaron recommends putting it as close to the top as possible to make sure your investors see it and can help where needed.

Quick Recap

Interestingly, Aaron suggests putting the qualitative recap of your month towards the bottom of your investor update. While we often see founders lead with a recap, ending with a recap will ensure that your investors see both your metrics and targeted asks. Make this as short as possible and be sure to only add things that are vital to your success. At the end of the day, investors are busy and you want to make sure they read your entire update.

These are just a few elements to consider when deciding on the structure of your investor update. To see these elements in context or create an update yourself, check out our Y Combinator update template below.

Check out an example of the Y Combinator Investor Update Here >>>

You may also enjoy:
Product Updates
Product Update: Turn Emails Into Insights With Visible AI Inbox
Structured data. The holy grail of business intelligence. Structured data unlocks a realm of possibilities, from setting benchmarks to enhancing decision-making processes. Yet, in the venture capital landscape, accessing reliable, structured data remains a formidable challenge. This is precisely why we created the Visible AI Inbox. With unique features like automated metric detection and file parsing, the Visible AI Inbox stands out as a pioneering solution for portfolio monitoring. Discover how it can transform your data strategy by meeting with our team. Turning email into insights We believe that investors should spend time sourcing new deals and helping founders, not manually copying and pasting data from email 🙂. The AI Inbox helps aggregate insights that exist siloed in data, files, and updates across a venture firm. Updates from founders often stay stuck in one team member's inbox because it's too time-consuming to extract and enter the data and files into a more centralized repository. Visible AI Inbox makes this possible within seconds. Requests + AI Inbox = A Complete Picture The addition of the AI Inbox continues to advance our market-leading portfolio monitoring solution. The pairing of Requests + the AI Inbox will give investors a holistic view of portfolio company performance across a fund. Visible continues to be the most founder-friendly tool on the market. We’ll continue to build tools in existing workflows where both founders and investors live every day. How Does it Work? Visible AI Inbox works in three simple steps. Forward emails to a custom AI inbox email address Visible AI automatically maps data and files to portfolio companies Investors can review and approve content before it is saved From there, dashboards, tear sheets, and reports are all automatically updated on Visible. Learn more about how Visible AI Inbox can streamline workflows at your firm by meeting with our team. FAQ Will this be available on all plans? Visible AI Inbox is only available on certain plans. Get in touch with your dedicated Investor Success Manager if you want to explore adding this to your account. How is Visible addressing privacy and security with Visible AI Inbox? No data submitted through the OpenAI API is used to train OpenAI models or improve OpenAI’s service offering. Visible AI Inbox leverages OpenAI GPT 4 and proprietary prompts to extract data in a structured way and import it into Visible. If you’re uncomfortable with utilizing OpenAI to optimize your account, you can choose not to utilize this feature. Please feel free to reach out to our team with any further questions. These processes adhere to the guidelines outlined in Visible’s privacy policy and SOC 2 certification. Visible AI Inbox Best Practices We'll be sharing best practices for how investors are leveraging Visible AI Inbox in our bi-weekly newsletter, the Visible Edge. Stay in the loop with best practices and product updates by subscribing below:
Metrics and data
[Webinar] VC Portfolio Data Collection Best Practices
Customer Stories
Case Study: How Moxxie Ventures uses Visible to increase operational efficiency at their VC firm
How to Start and Operate a Successful SaaS Company