Sent on February 11, 2022.

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💪 Put your investors to work

In EGD News 69, I wrote about surveying founders on their investor updates.

To the people who aren’t sending investor updates, I asked why not? The common responses were:

A) It’s been too hectic, and they’d send updates when they had time.
B) They did send them once but stopped after a few were sent out.
C) “We frequently talk with our main investors. The rest are informed when something big is happening.”

It is true that when you only have one investor, you might be talking to them quite often, like several times a week, and it might not be necessary for a full-blown update.

I believe that the update has a different purpose than to keep your investors “updated.” It’s meant to get your investors to work for you.

To the founders out there, here are some ways of increasing the impact of a monthly investor update so that the investors will do more work for the founders.

Future fundraising

I love this Tweet from 20VC podcast host and investor Harry Stebbings.

Especially with a bigger pool of investors, you want them to feel involved in the company. If you’d raise funding in January, then you’d not message your investors for half a year until you need to or want to raise a new round. They would be very puzzled about what has been going on.

“Thanks” section aka. Investor shoutouts

Here’s the key to investor updates: You put your investors to work. It could be something like “Thanks to Joakim for sending over two great candidates for the CMO role,” or “Special thanks to Andreas for playing our game and writing two pages of feedback.”

These investors have given you money, but they want to put more money into other companies, so their reputation is on the line if they don’t show founders that they are helpful. Great founders talk and do reference calls on investors, and the investors know this.

A comment from Paul’s Tweet:

“We do this every month and get about 20 responses monthly to offer introductions and help [from our investors].”

New template

The shoutout goes to Mitchell Smallman from Pocket Burger, who provides one of the best monthly investor updates that I regularly receive in my inbox.

Mitchell was kind enough to provide his template for the use of the Elite Game Developers community. I’ve added a few items there which I think will be helpful for founders.

Here’s the new investor update template in a Google Doc. And here’s the breakdown of the template:

— Start of template 👇

Monthly Update MM/DD/YYYY

Here, you enter a greetings message here, to say hi to everyone, any personal notes, etc.

TLDR

The TLDR section is used to highlight what’s coming up in the update in a few words.

  • big update topic 1
  • big update topic 2
  • big update topic 3

Hiring

For early-stage startups, hiring is an ongoing process. Here you can highlight new people who’ve joined and who you are looking to hire. If there were any unfortunate things related to hiring, highlight them here as well.>

Hint: The hiring progress is a great indicator for investors that things are progressing and that you are putting effort to speed up things and graduate quicker to the next level.

Game Progress

Here you’d want to cover what’s been going on with the game. You can share an additional PDF that contains gameplay visuals, mockups, links to videos of the playable, QR code to download the game, all sorts of things that are useful for investors to get a read on how things are going.

If you’ve made any significant product decisions, like a new prototype going into production, killing a game, etc. this is the place to talk about them.

If you are already live with a game and you have KPIs, this is the place to share a summary of the main KPIs. It’s always beneficial to share more numbers, which you can place in a separate PDF that goes along with the update.

Runway

Informing your investors about the runway is crucial so that the backers of the company can react. It’s also a part of well-managed corporate governance that your investors and partners are well informed about situations where cash will be running out soon.

Founders should include their plans on the next fundraise so that investors can also be prepared for the next round. If there are issues with the fundraise, investors can react to the situation.

Example: We have 850K USD in the bank, burning 100K USD a month, expecting to run out in six months (July 2022). The monthly burn is stable, and we don’t expect it to go any higher in the following months.

We have two investors interested in leading the Seed round, expecting to get a term sheet in the next two weeks from either.

Asking for help

Here you write out requests to the investors, on intros, hiring, product tests, everything that a group of well-connected and highly capable individuals like gaming VCs could help with. A bullet-pointed list is a welcome format.

Shoutouts

Here is where you really get your investors to start working for you. List out all the main things that your investors have done for you since the last update. It will create a need for the investors to get to work for you.

— End of template ✌️

An example of investors working for you

Alexis Ohanian’s new fund 776 is taking things to a new level. They publish the amount of help that they are providing founders on a monthly basis. I think this is an area where I’ll start exploring sooner or later.

(Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash)


All those five-star reviews can’t be wrong 🙂 Get my book, “Long Term Game: How to build a video games company” from Amazon. Available on Kindle, audiobook, and paperback. Check it out!


🎙 Ismet Gökşen — Investing in Turkish gaming ecosystem

In this podcast episode, I’m talking with Ismet Gökşen, who is a General Partner at Ludus Ventures, a venture firm that is investing in early-stage games companies, with many deals done in their home country of Turkey.

In this episode, we talk about the Turkish gaming ecosystem, why things are going so well for the companies there, what the future looks like and what Ismet has learned about investing in gaming.

Listen to the full episode by going here.

📝 Useful material and templates

📃 Articles worth reading

Mobile Games in 2021: the most notable trends and releases — “The most ambitious gaming companies focus on the biggest genres: biggest in terms of their audience and their cumulative revenue. Here is where the money lies—at least for those who dare play big. In this piece, we’ll focus on the most important changes that happened in the Western mobile games market in 2021 and try to extract handy conclusions.”

What traits do ‘discoverable’ games have in 2022? — “When working with one of our clients recently, we were looking into an important specific. The existential question: what makes for a successful and long-lasting game in today’s market, both from a discovery and play point of view?”

Mobile Games in 2021: the most notable trends and releases — “The most ambitious gaming companies focus on the biggest genres: biggest in terms of their audience and their cumulative revenue. Here is where the money lies—at least for those who dare play big.In this piece, we’ll focus on the most important changes that happened in the Western mobile games market in 2021 and try to extract handy conclusions.”

💬 Quote that I’ve been thinking about

“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others.”

— Winston Churchill


Join the Gaming Angel Fellowship online course and community

Elite Game Developers offers member a possibility to learn angel investing.

Here are some comments from fellowship members:

“I think this course can truly arm potential angel investors with the tools and confidence they are looking for.” — Martine Spaans

“The course is as valuable to those building businesses as it is to those looking to invest. A shared understanding of the dynamic between young business and angel investor is a great foundation for any partnership.” — David Amor

​Sign up here, and you’ll get immediate access to the Slack workspace and everything else.


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I hope you have a great weekend!

Joakim