Introducing Hockeystick Version 2.0!

We’re happy to report we’ve launched Hockeystick Version 2! There’s an improved user interface, AngelList integration and our popular “I Can Help” feature has turned into Asks, a better way for investors and mentors to help startups.

We’re just getting started! Stay tuned for more announcements soon.

 

AngelList-logo

Synch with AngelList. Click here

 to login to Hockeystick and link your account. No more usernames and passwords! Investors should check out the Import from AngelList feature.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 2.17.40 PM

Build your portfolio.  It’s easier than ever to add companies. You now have the option to ask companies for reports or just follow them.Following is great for mentors and advisors who want to help but don’t need reporting.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 2.11.21 PM

Try Asks. 

Startups – get your mentors and supporters to follow you. Then useAsks to broadcast news and get help.

Investors – all the startups in your portfolio can now ask you for help. If you’re a fund, Asks are broadcast to everyone in your group.

More Things to Discover on Hockeystick V2

  • Completely redesigned UI
  • Companies now have a profile page with their company info, reports, Asks and Followers
  • It’s easier to collaborate: Investment Groups can easily add members, Companies can add managers
  • You no longer need to have a fund to follow companies personally

Full 2.0 release notes here.

updatemyvc copy

A Modern Investor Update Template from Update My VC (RRE Ventures)

rre-ventures

RRE has created an aptly-named startup resource site called Update My VC which they described as “a modern guide to keeping in touch with your investors.” We like it, a lot. Besides publishing their own format, they’re also building a nice library of different reports.

Adding to our own library that includes Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

, Susa Ventures, IA Ventures and more, we’ve added the Update My VC report to Hockeystick.

See the full report template here.

Update My VC has done a good job creating a report that gently guides the entrepreneur to provide information that’s relevant. There are sections for Highlights (and Lowlights) and KPIs. I like that news about Product Dev, Business Dev and HR are broken out. All three are significant areas that impact a startup and are definitely in the category of what investors want to know.

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 1.37.30 PM

Like other templates, financial metrics are reduced to the two that matter: cash in the bank and burn.

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 1.38.59 PM

I like seeing a section for press mentions. While not the main metric of success, it’s always nice to share good news, especially if your investors can help retweet it.

Finally, we’re seeing a trend towards explicitly asking investor for help and then giving shout outs to those that are especially helpful. This is a virtuous cycle and we’re definitely looking for ways to encourage investor engagement in Hockeystick. If you have ideas for us please drop us a line.

 

Toronto_Downtown_Core_at_Night copy

Hockeystick to Power Investor Relations for 800 Ontario Angels

We’re proud to announce that Hockeystick has signed a 3-year agreement with The Network of Angel Organizations – Ontario (NAO-Ontario

) to provide reporting tools to more than two dozen Angel groups and clubs representing over 800 Angel investors in the province.

Hockeystick helps private companies share performance metrics and regular business updates with investors. The tool is used by thousands of startups, investors and funds around the world and promotes better communication with shareholders.

Established Ontario investors including BDC Capital

, the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, Communitech Hyperdrive and Extreme Startups all use Hockeystick to gather metrics from portfolio companies.

Catalyzing over $250 million in investment activity over the last 7 years, NAO Ontario supports the formation of Angel investment groups in order to boost the availability of capital and mentorship available to entrepreneurs.

A shared goal among NAO Ontario and Hockeystick is to put in place best practices for how companies report metrics to investors. This will lead to better company governance and better data for future industry research.

Accredited Angel investors who belong to a recognized Angel group or club will have free access to Hockeystick starting summer 2014.

About Hockeystick.co

Hockeystick provides tools for private companies to report performance metrics to shareholders. Automated tools make reporting easy and timely. Investors aggregate data they receive into comprehensive reports which give them better portfolio visibility. Hockeystick is free for companies and offered as a paid subscription service for funds.

About NAO Ontario

NAO – Ontario, a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, is the Administrator of Ontario’s Angel Network Program, on behalf of the Government of Ontario. Since 2007, its mission has been to create and grow non-profit Angel investor groups for all the regions of Ontario. Building the membership and best practices of these groups makes a more potent combination of mentorship and capital for innovative companies in the province. Angels are accredited investors who directly contribute both their money and their expertise into early-stage companies seeking growth in Ontario, leading to job creation and an expanding economy.

 

susa copy

Notable Events: An investor update template from Leo Polovets @ Susa Ventures

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 12.55.09 PM

Coder-turned-VC Leo Polovets wrote a detailed and thoughtful post about what exactly an investor update should include. Like previously-covered formats from IA Ventures

and Charlie O’Donnell, we’ve added Leo’s to the Hockeystick template library so everyone can benefit.

See the entire report template here

.

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 1.04.39 PM

Leo suggests you pick 3-5 “metrics that matter” for your business, including the all important ones tracking when you run out of money. KPIs in startups change as the business pivots so the choice of metrics is itself a conversation starter. For funds designing a single report for their portfolio, it’s a good idea to leave a few metrics fields open ended so different startups can report different metrics.

I really like how the qualitative parts of the report, i.e. Notable Events, are organized: Great, Good, Bad, Ugly!

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 1.08.21 PM

Separating “great” from “good” buckets forces you to separate truly significant events from nice-to-knows. And there are always “bad” events but some are truly “ugly” and deserve their own special tear-stained bucket. 🙂

Some founders only send updates to their biggest investors, but I think there’s a lot of value to sending updates to all investors and advisors. You never know when someone can help you, whether they wrote you a $1m check or a $10k check.

Leo Polovets

I completely agree that updating all investors and advisors is a good idea. As Leo says, “You never know when someone can help you…”

odonnell-report copy

An Investor Report Template from Charlie O’Donnell / Backupify

investments_e28094_brooklyn_bridge_ventures

Last time, we looked at an investor update format from IA Ventures. We continue our series exploring the best investor update templates by looking at a format from Charlie O’Donnell

of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.

He wrote a great blog post on updating your investors, inspired by Rob May from Backupify.

See a screencap of the full report template here.

First off, we like the simplicity of the metrics: there’s only one “Key Performance Metric” which forces you to focus on what’s really driving the business. It’s similar to “The One Metric That Matters” concept from “Lean Analytics” by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 1.50.35 PM

Notice that the report starts with Bad News. Yep, your investors know there will always be something bad. What matters is that a) you recognize it and b) you have a plan to address it.

The last thing I ever want to do is create work for my portfolio companies. That being said, I think that there’s a certain amount of management communication that serves a purpose well beyond just letting the investors know what’s going on in the company. – Charlie O’Donnell

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 1.50.51 PM

Sales & Marketing gets its own section to focus on “top-of-the-funnel” metrics like new leads and prospects, and “bottom-of-the-funnel” metrics like conversions and wins. This is growth hacking 101 and you can bet that investors want to know how you’re hustling to build your customer base.

Like other reports we’ve seen, Charlie’s starts with cash-focused metrics and ends with a section where you can ask for help. It’s encouraging that we keep seeing investors want people to reach out to them for help.

Finally, compared with other report templates, this one’s a little more “conversational” and relies on the CEO to talk investors through the key areas of their focus. We think having a monthly conversation with your investors is a good thing.

IAV-full-report copy

IA Ventures Monthly Report Template

logo_iaventures

In our last post, we took a look at the default startup report on Hockeystick.co. This post looks at a format recommended by NY-based IA Ventures

.

They’ve taken the time to develop a resource site for entrepreneurs called Startup Docs. It’s a collection of lightweight templates startups can use for everything from a Saas Dashboard

to an operating budget.

We really like their monthly Investor Update template. So much so we’ve made it one of the default templates available to everyone on Hockeystick.co (thanks IA Ventures).

See a screencap of the full template here.

We especially like their helpful notes on what they like to see. For example, in the Summary they suggest:

  • Performance against budget
  • Progress towards milestones
  • How do you fare in the competitive landscape? Who are the major threats and how can your investors help?
  • What are the milestones for the next financing round?
  • New/Prospective hires
  • Sales wins and loses
  • BD wins and pipeline
  • Goals for next month

IA has a section called Asks & Follow-up where CEOs can ask for help. We think having a section for Follow-ups is a great idea because it’s a way to give kudos to people who helped or a nudge to people who haven’t yet.

How can your investors help with the challenges you’re facing?  Don’t forget to check-in on previous requests and acknowledge investors that followed-through.

IAV-pt1

 

For a monthly report it’s a good idea to have a section to track Goals. It’s a good discipline to have as a startup and helps the reader make sense of whatever metrics/KPIs you’ve presented. Eg. how are they versus your plan? Did something happen to necessitate changing what KPIs you track?

Overall, like other Hockeystick.co reports, this template is lean and is notable for not including too much information. It’s just enough to get investors informed and engaged.

Hockeystick

Report Talk – Hockeystick.co standard report

We’re kicking off a series of posts that look at different types of reports that startups use to communicate with investors. The great thing about building Hockeystick.co is that we get to talk to so many startups and investors. One size does not fit all, and we’ll be examining different ways of reporting with the aim of helping you choose the best report for you.

The Hockeystick Startup Report 

This is the original Hockeystick report template developed with Angels and seed funds in mind for monthly or quarterly reports.

hockeystick-report-small

(Click the image for the full report)

Most reports have a free-form Company Update. Whether you’re following a strict metrics methodology (eg lean analytics) or not, you need to allow the CEO to express themselves. Earlier stage companies need this the most because their business, and underlying metrics, are pivoting.

The most popular financial metrics are, not surprisingly, focused on cash in the bank, burn rate and runway. Revenue is nice too!

hockeystick-report pt1 

We always recommend adding a section that asks the CEO to talk about problems and challenges. It’s more useful than vanity news and reminds the company that:

“the purpose of communicating with investors is not just to publish good news.”

Speaking of which, a very popular feature is the “Ask” feature which lets companies ask their investors for help. Investors are (or should be) there to help and this is a way to get them engaged with the business.

hockeystick-report pt2

 

Finally, the standard report lets you attach files. This can be used for quarterly financial statements, pitch decks, marketing materials etc.

Overall, this report is a good starting place for any early stage company or investor. You can use the Hockeystick.co report editor to modify this basic report as your needs change.

Next Post: What IA Ventures recommends as a Monthly Investor Update

A List Of Corporate Governance Resources For Startups

To kick off the Hockeystick.co blog, we’ve compiled a list of resources about corporate governance and investor relations for startups. Unsurprisingly, most governance research is focused on large, public companies. But there are some good resources for startups.

Here’s the list so far:

Can you recommend other startup governance resources we should add to the list?