Executive Summaries | What do investors really need to see?

There are some basic questions that most investors ask before making an investment decision, but very few of the executive summaries I’ve seen actually answer these questions. These incomplete executive summaries are inefficient for investors – we spend far too much time asking basic questions – and it’s inefficient for entrepreneurs – they spend far too much time answering basic questions. Here’s my attempt to change this.

I’ve combined the best qualities of the executive summaries and funding applications I’ve seen to create a standardized executive summary template. What do you think?

Does it include the basic information investors need? Is it too much information? Are there key points missing? Are there existing executive summary templates that are better?

Leave a comment.

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8 Responses to Executive Summaries | What do investors really need to see?

  1. Ted Graham says:

    Great idea, thanks for putting this out there. In the Funding section, I’d like to see valuation addressed, as well as what kind of round it is: equity/convertible debt/etc.

  2. Thanks Ted! I’ve added this to the funding section:
    • How much money has been invested to date? How much money are you raising in this round?
    • How much capital do you expect to raise in total?
    • Have you determined your company’s valuation and do you know whether you are raising debt or equity? Can you briefly explain the terms of the deal?

    Additionally, it’s been suggested that we limit the length of the executive summary to three pages. Any other thoughts from folks?

  3. If OK, I’d like to include this in the newsletter I sent out to a group of women entrepreneurs and others re the Profit Matters programs sponsored by Coolest Women, TiE Rockies and Innovation Pavilion. Agree with your response to Ted.
    Barbara Bauer

  4. Looks good Elizabeth.
    I would like to see a few more things:
    1) Go to Market Strategy: I would like to see market research, conversion rates, customer cost acquisition data, etc. That way I can assess their resource needs to achieve their sales objectives.
    2) Exit Strategy: I would like to see that the company has researched acquisitions in the past three years in their industry to see who is acquiring whom and at what multiples.
    3) Funding: In addition to knowing if they have a Valuation, I would like to understand their rationale in arriving at their figure.


  5. marshallneel says:

    Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for this concise template! It’s very helpful! What would you recommend be readily available in the way of supporting documentation with a summary like this and in what form? Addendum? Thanks again!!

    • Good question. It is always good to have historical financials (3 years if available) and 5-year projections as well as a cap table and term sheet if already created. Any studies or articles that illustrate your market opportunity and/or a 2-minute product demo video would also be helpful.

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