I read 1,000 investor reports last year. It’s part of my job. Along the way I’ve learned a few things I’d like to share — from the very basics to some that may surprise you.

Why should founders send monthly investor reports?

At its foundation, investor reports keep your investors informed about the progress of the business. A good report will share:

  • financial performance

  • progress on key initiatives

  • major developments

  • ‘asks’ for investors.

You’d be surprised how important these updates are in terms of how much support a fund can provide. (more on that later).

Who reads investor reports?

As you would expect, the partner or investor who made the investment will be a reader. What you might not expect is that there can be many others in the background. You’ll likely have other readers from the finance and platform teams.

Guess what?

Everyone who reads these reports might be able to help, so your focus should be on making it easy for them to do so!

Investors have the benefit of not being involved in the day to day operations of the business. Further, they are seeing macro-trends from the sheer numbers of companies they interact with in a given month. This perspective allows them to see a bigger picture when it comes to your progress. It also keeps your business top of mind for follow on rounds and insider led rounds.

Let’s take a look at the investor report below that I made up for a company called Test Co. I’ll highlight some surprising and not so surprising elements.

Mission: Test Co. is building robots that plant trees

How you can help:

  1. Introductions to large landowners in Northern California

  2. Recommendations for bookkeeping service

  3. Recommendations for advisors with regulatory experience to help navigate the Inflation Reduction Act incentives


  • Monthly Burn: $50,000

  • Cash in Bank: $750,000

  • Projected Runway: 15 months

  • Headcount: 5 FT, 1 PT

  • MRR/ARR: $0


  • % progress to Robot prototype (4.0): 50%

  • Total number of trees planted by Test Co robots: 350

  • Number of signed LOI’s for pilot studies: 2


  • Signed second LOI with LandCo. Contract revenue potential $10k per month

  • Hired founding team CTO

  • Brought team together for first offsite (pic below)


  • After weeks of employment negotiations with a robotics engineer we loved, she declined the offer b/c she was uncomfortable with joining a seed stage business. Lesson learned that we need to have these stage discussions much earlier in the process. We’ve also adjusted our job description.

  • Last month we reported we were close to a third LOI. We learned that our contact with PropertyCo didn’t have signing authority and wasn’t the ultimate decision maker. We’ve now got a better sense of the reporting structure and will make adjustments going forward.

  • We learned of a design issue that will affect our ability to scale production. We lost 2-weeks on our timeline, but the final robot will actually now require fewer parts.

Let’s break down each section:

  1. Mission — You may ask why you would bother putting your mission on every investor update. Surely everyone in the firm must know what we do. Yes, but a) it will immediately put the reader in the right space which often leads to a quick response and b) over the course of your relationship, new people will join the team.

  2. How you can help — Your investors are here to help. The best way we can do that is if we know what you need. As with the Mission, if we see these things clearly up top, they are most likely to be addressed.

  3. Finance — We want to be able to see your runway in a glance. 12+ months (maybe more in this market), I’m breathing easy for you. Less than 12 months, and you’ve now entered my radar for ‘will be raising soon’ which is going to trigger more attention. We want you to be successful fundraising. To do so we need to make sure you are setting and achieving the right milestones. This all takes time so let’s get on it. If you are sitting on a ton of cash, we might reach out and suggest an interest bearing money market account. Again, the more we know, the more we can offer perspective based on our broader view of the landscape. (seeing a trend here?).

  4. KPIs — We are not particular what your KPIs are, but we are particular that you figure them out and report against them consistently. Founders who have their KPIs dialed are the most likely to run successful businesses and be the best fundraisers. It shows you really understand your business.

  5. Highs and Lows — Being a founder is a grind. Let’s celebrate your highs. We want to celebrate with you. Let’s also not sweep the lows under the table. I’ve got a 25 year operating background. Shit goes wrong all the time. I’m concerned if you don’t have any lows. That said, I want you to be learning along the way.

  6. Misc — Feel free to add pictures or anything else that furthers our connection with you, your company and your brand.

Above are the basic elements I like to see. I prefer to have investor emails come directly in the body of an email with a link to a Notion page that may contain more details, graphs or pictures. Best practice is to have all previous updates available via the same Notion page. Pick a day of the month where you can consistently send the update. Never miss a date. The rigor of this commitment will have an outsized effect on your ability to manage the business and engage your investors to help you.

Bonus: Our founder, Craig Shapiro, recently commented to me that in his experience, founders who cc their entire investor list have proven to be more successful than those who don’t. After sitting on that comment for a few minutes, I realized he was probably right. Those founders who are so comfortable sharing their ups and downs and who desire discourse and advice across the cap table are clearly the ones who are in it to win it.

If you are a Collab Fund investment, I look forward to reading all your updates in 2023!

Read More