Investor Update: 16 key metrics your investors want to see in monthly updates
One of the often neglected but critically important pieces of investor relations is committing to send out regular investor updates.Anand Kulkarni
You have received the much-needed funding for your startup. Now it’s time to take the product to newer markets, signup more customers, hire for key positions, and scale operations. The money you just landed will provide some immediate boost, but money alone won’t be enough to make it as big as you have dreamt of.
You need solid backing from your investors, who can help you with new introductions, promotion, and advice on various aspects of running a successful business. For this, you need to engage them, build trust, and strengthen relationships.
One of the often neglected but critically important pieces of investor relations is committing to send out regular investor updates. Investors love to be in the know.They want to know about the progress you are making. They want to know what’s happening with their investment.
This is where tracking and reporting on right metrics comes in play.
One size does not fit all
While monthly investor update is a good frequency, it may be bit too much for a very early stage startup, which may not have enough to report each month. You will need to decide the reporting frequency with your investors.
Similarly, the metrics you should report depend on the stage of startup, company size, revenue, and next funding requirement.
So instead of being prescriptive about the metrics, let’s look at the key metrics (and chart templates) that most investors want to see in monthly updates.You can agree with your investors on the most important three–five metrics that they would like to see.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Metrics
1. Revenue against goal
Absolute revenue number is just a data point. Connect the data points and establish trends by providing context such as revenue against goal, average revenue (chart 2), percentage revenue growth (chart 3), revenue against forecast (chart 4), and comparison with previous period (chart 5).
Also, provide commentary where necessary.
2. Average revenue
Average monthly revenue = [(Revenue in month 1 + month 2 + month 3 + … + month n) / Number of months]
In this chart template, average monthly revenue is derived from absolute numbers using formulas.
3. Percentage revenue growth month-over-month
% Revenue Growth = [(Revenue in this month - Revenue in previous month) / Revenue in previous month] x 100
In this chart template;
- Percentage growth (positive or negative / increase or decrease) is derived from absolute numbers using formulas.
- Columns with negative growth are automatically highlighted in a different colour.
4. Revenue: actual and forecast
Revenue overachieved or underachieved = actual revenue - forecast revenue.
In this chart template;
- Difference between actual and forecast revenue is derived from absolute values using formulas, and
- The overachieved/underachieved portion is automatically highlighted in different colours.
5. Revenue: This year vs. last year
Comparison of revenue with previous period offers context and shows increase/decrease over last year.
6. Percentage revenue from new customers
% revenue from new customers = [revenue from new customers/ (revenue from existing customers + revenue from new customers)] x 100
In this chart template, revenue from new customers is derived from absolute numbers using formulas.
7. Total revenue and average revenue per user (ARPU)
Average revenue per user = total operating revenue / number of users
In this template, ARPU values are derived from absolute values.
8. Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)
Net MRR = new MRR + expansion MRR – lost MRR
In other words,
Net MRR = (No. of new customers * average revenue per user per month) + (No. of existing customers * average revenue per user per month) – (No. of lost customers * average revenue per user per month)
Non-recurring, one-off charges such as set-up fee should be excluded from MRR calculations.
9. Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and annual recurring revenue (ARR)
Net ARR = New ARR + expansion ARR – lost ARR
ARR is used when the term of contract is at least a year or more. Any subscriptions with less than one-year term should be excluded from ARR.
Similar to MRR, all non-recurring, one-off charges such as set-up fee should be excluded from ARR calculations.
10. Gross and net Burn
Gross Burn = Amount of cash a company is spending each month.
Net Burn = Amount of money a company is losing each month.
Net Burn = Gross burn – Revenue
In this template, net burn is derived from gross burn and revenue.
11. Cash on hand and months of runway
Update investors about how much cash you are left with and how many months it will last. This will give them a clear idea of timelines to kickstart next fund raise, amount of capital they should keep available and introduce you to other potential investors for the next funding round.
Months of runway = cash in bank/burn rate
12. Number of users: actual and forecast
13. Number of users, paying users, and percentage paying users
Percentage paying users = (Number of paying users / Total number of users) * 100
In this template, percentage of paying users is derived from absolute values.
14. New customers acquired
% New customers acquired = [No. of new customers / (No. of existing customers + No. of new customers)] * 100
In this chart template, percentage new customers value is derived from absolute numbers.
15. Customer Base
Net customers = Existing customer base + renewals + new customers - cancellations
16. Churn rate
Customer churn rate is the percentage of total customers who chose to cancel their subscriptions during the period.
Churn rate = (Number of customers lost / total number of customers) * 100
Proactive, consistent and professional investor updates is not just an obligation and responsibility but also an opportunity to show that you are diligent, accountable and transparent.
Investors prefer visual updates with data-driven charts and minimum text. Charts make it easy to process and absorb data, spot trends and see the big picture.
In order to save several hours of your time and make things easier for you, we have created professional, ready-to-use, data-driven chart templates. You can download all these chart templates, add your data manually or copy data from any source and send out professional investor updates.