Manage episode 364767278 series 3383733
In this episode we answer questions about how to build relationships with your investors! Most startup companies have investors, and your relationship with them is critical to your success. We are here to help and in this episode we answer questions including:
- How honest should I be in my investor updates?
- One of my investors just invested in a competitor, what do I do?
- My investors have stopped responding, how do I get them engaged again?
We are joined by a special guest host in this episode: Leo Polovets from Susa Ventures! Leo is a founding partner at Susa Ventures, a $125m seed stage fund that was an early investor in companies like Robinhood, Flexport and Viz.ai. He also runs Humba Ventures, a new micro-fund in the Susa family that's focused on emerging/frontier sectors like robotics, climate/energy, and defense. Prior to Susa, Leo spent a decade working as a software engineer. He was the second non-founding engineer at LinkedIn, then worked at Google for three years, and then spent four years at Factual before transitioning into venture capital. We are lucky to have Leo join us to answer your questions!
All of these questions were submitted by listeners just like you. You can submit questions for us to answer on our website https://www.thestartuphelpdesk.com/ or on Twitter @thestartuphd - we'd love to hear from you!
Reminder: this is not legal advice or investment advice.
Q1: How honest should I be in my investor updates?
You should have at least one and ideally a few investors that you trust enough to share all of your concerns with. Investors can't help if they don’t have a good picture of what’s going on.
The cost of secrecy or retaining information is too high. Transparency is freeing as a CEO. Talking about problems in your investor updates is a great way to get help.
However, the person that wrote a $10k check 3 years ago and hasn’t talked to you since doesn’t need to know everything about your day to day.
Thus, the bigger the investor group, the less detail you need to provide in your general investor updates. Rather, share the complete picture with your trusted circle of a few investors.
Q2: One of my investors just invested in a competitor, what do I do?
Avoid the impulse to respond hastily. First, meet with the investor and try to understand the situation as clearly as possible.
After that, you will likely want to limit informational sharing with the investor as much as you can. Talk to your attorneys to better understand if you should limit the investor's relationship with your startup and, if so, how.
If you have a good relationship with the investor, you can tell them you’re uncomfortable with the situation. If the investment is not 100% closed yet, sometimes the investor will reconsider if they know that they are jeopardizing their relationship with your company.
Q3: My investors have stopped responding, how do I get them engaged again?
Investors are busy and if they aren’t responding, it might not be about you. Have you been sending regular updates? Write your updates in a way that invites responses! For example, if you don’t include any asks in your updates, then fewer people will respond. Or if you include the exact same ask each time, then people who can’t help with it in the first update will have nothing to add in additional updates. However, if your asks vary, and especially if you have really easy asks like “check out our homepage and tell us 2 things you’d improve about it” then your response rate should go up.
Reach out to investors 1:1 and not just in groups if you want them to engage more.
Focus on your business and don’t stop communicating.