Maintaining healthy communication with your portfolio startups is key. It could be the potential savior for a dying startup. Knowing when your founders are suffering early enough means you have the time to save them.
Here we will share a few tips to keep the conversation open with all your startups. Our purpose is to ease the communication friction and keep the investor updated with all the major events early enough.
Tip #1: Periodic Updates are Key
Instead of waiting for the founders to initiate sending updates or make the call, it is more efficient for you to set a periodic time for written updates and meetings. These updates could be sent monthly or quarterly, depending on preference.
Note that as an investor, you are the one who has to keep track of updates and meetings multiple times for every startup. On the other hand, the startup itself has to make updates every once in a while. That is why it’s more efficient if you set the system for communication yourself, making sure it’s sustainable with all your portfolio investments.
Setting periodical updates eliminates the friction of initiating the conversation or making the time. Just like family and friends fixed unions, periodical updates will be the norm between you and the founders.
Tip #2: Make a Template for What Matters
Make a written template to be filled by the founders showing what you want to see from them on a periodical basis. This saves you time from reading an unstructured document every time, as well as saving the founder’s time from figuring out how and what to write.
These templates could include summaries, key issues, achieved milestones, and planned milestones. Check out our suggested full template here.
Tip #3: Embrace Failure
Startups do have extremely high failure rates. Every investor knows that by heart.
Make sure founders are comfortable with sharing their short-term failures. This includes failing to meet key milestones, finding a fit hire, or failing to sign with a major client. Failures happen within every startup, and you’re better off knowing it than being blind.
Tip #4: Make Open Room for Help
As an investor, your help is not only providing more capital at the brink of failure. You may provide strategic advice, introduce a key connection from your network, or suggest a key partnership.
By letting the founders know you are here to help, and by staying updated on the present issues facing the startup, you become in a good position to provide help when needed. You may even make an explicit section such as “Ask for Help” in the periodic update by the founders. Since you get to know where you can help before it’s too late, you intentionally decrease the risk of failure for your startup investment.
Tip #5: Track your Startup Updates with VeFund
At VeFund, we built a tool for managing periodic written updates and KPIs. You can build your own templates and invite your portfolio startups to fill them out periodically. Join us now and put your portfolio communications on autopilot.