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A founder’s guide to the care and feeding of seed investors

In his weekly column, Maynard Webb advises a founder bringing in outside investors for the first time to avoid surprises.

A founder’s guide to the care and feeding of seed investors
[Source photo: Bellezza87/Pixabay[
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Q. I am just bringing investors on for the first time. How do I work with them? How often should I be in touch with them? Do they want to hear from me?

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-Founder of a company raising a seed round

Dear Founder,

It is always interesting to see how founders handle new investors. Some welcome their involvement and provide monthly updates; others don’t do much in the way of communication at all.

That’s a missed opportunity. I think that your investors want to hear from you. I know that at Webb Investment Network, our affiliates feel obliged to help, and it’s likely that your investors feel the same. I believe that if you ask if you can update them on your progress and reach out to get to know them, it will work out positively.

My recommendation is to check in frequently on the things you care the most about—this can be a quick email with some bullet points about what’s happening. You can also use this as an opportunity to ask for help with specifics; perhaps you are looking to make certain hires or searching for a way to open the door at a potential customer.

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A monthly email also gives you a chance to highlight accomplishments and show gratitude. Thank the people who helped you achieve your goals. Most people want to help, and everyone loves to be recognized for their efforts. Further, investors are a competitive bunch, and when they see what others are doing they might become even more motivated to help.

Next, and I’m sure you know this already: Most people don’t like surprises. If there’s anything problematic, keep in mind that early warnings are appreciated. It’s always best to address any issue when it’s still small; it reduces drama and also makes it easier to solve.

Finally, if you have discussed an issue, always follow up and do a postmortem. Take the time to debrief on what happened and weigh in on how to do better the next time.