Are investor relations salvageable?

We had lots of momentum early, and our investors wanted to work closely together. Over time I neglected follow ups, then kept delaying because I wanted to fix x, y, z before the next update. I was told point blank several times that I was messing up the investor relationship and they weren’t happy. I had a huge burnout, depression and wanted to kill myself, but nobody cares about excuses.

Better now, and I want to fix this but don’t know how. I feel like they would just ignore me and not care about the company since it’s been a year since the last update and we are not doing super amazing right now.


  • It sounds like the relationship with your investors can’t get any worse.

    I would start sending a short progress update over email every month or so. They even don’t need to reply (make it clear that you’re not expecting a response), but if they see you’re still working hard on your startup your relation with them is bound to improve. Maybe they’ll reach out to you right away, maybe it will take a 6 months of status updates. It doesn’t matter. Eventually they’ll soften.

    Burnout happens even to the best founders. Don’t feel guilty about it.

  • Don’t beat yourself up, this happens to everyone. I send updates on the first of every month, good or bad, but only because I was very lucky to have a therapist who told me to man up and keep sending them back when everything was going wrong and I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Otherwise, I absolutely would have done exactly the same thing.

    You can totally salvage this. Honesty is always the best policy with investors, even though it means having a thick skin when some of them push back/complain. Send one for January 2017 on Thursday, doesn’t have to be more than 2-3 paragraphs, bullet points are fine. Something like:

    Investor Update – January 2017

    Dear investors,

    First, please accept my sincere apologies for the long silence. It’s been a challenging year for , and I let these slide far too long. I want you to know I’ve been spending every waking moment this past year working on ‘s success, and if you’re willing, I’m ready to resume these regular updates. This will be the first of monthly emails.

    Next, an overview of ‘s progress over the past year. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride, with the team gaining a great deal of first-hand experience with [slower than expected sales cycles, product readiness issues, hiring mistakes, team alignment, etc]. We have learned a lot.

    We’ve also made great strides this past year. We [launched something, increased usage of something, got someone to pay us for something, were featured in the press, made some smart hires, did our first trade show, figured out where we’re going & how we’ll get there, etc]. The team and I are just as passionate about this company as we were when we started (hah), and we’re excited to be applying our hard-won knowledge with our current/upcoming [sales prospects, new users, product launch, whatever].

    The journey is long, but we are committed to this company’s success, and as always, grateful for your support.

    Until next month,

    Joe Anonymous

  • “Burnout, depression and suicide are no excuses, we just want f***ing results !”

    Oh god. Investors are such assholes sometimes…

    Eh, we chose our path didn’t we ?

  • I think Joe Anonymous has posted a great answer. In addition to that, I may actually call your investors and speak in person. I’d apologise to them re. your silence, and take responsibility for what happened. I understand this can be challenging to face your investors, but if you want to salvage the relationship, taking responsibility for what happened, and telling them what they can expect from you going forward may ease the tension.

    It may take some time for them to trust you, but if you connect with them consistently and show them progress, I think they may turn around.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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