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Outlier’s Path

Update Your First Believers

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Summer Health co-founder and CEO Ellen DaSilva for several years, first as a Scout, then as a founder. Sequoia partnered with Summer Health at the pre-seed round in 2021. Ellen and her co-founder Matthew Woo also participated in Arc, Sequoia’s company-building immersion for pre-seed and seed companies. This redacted investor update demonstrates a focus on first-order issues and clarity of thought. They also communicate at the right altitude by providing the necessary level of details where it matters. Update your first believers, and they might find ways to help you and your company reach your full potential.

Summer Health’s update structure:

  1. Health of the Business: show your velocity (speed and direction of progress) with key data such as cash runway, growth, and traction metrics
  2. Investor Asks: put your investors to work by suggesting a few important asks for help
  3. Investor Shoutouts: thank any investors who helped solve a problem to encourage all of your investors to do more in the future
  4. People Updates: communicate your ability to build an enduring company by recruiting and retaining productive team members, and parting ways with those who no longer fit
  5. Monthly Highlights: provide context for product, go-to-market, or business wins (since data doesn’t tell the full story)
  6. Monthly Lowlights: provide important context on challenges and lessons learned 
  7. What’s on Deck: articulate upcoming business and product milestones, and why they matter  
  8. Word of Mouth/Press Roundup: link any meaningful word-of-mouth or press moments 

Feel free to modify Summer Health’s format and create your own version to provide the best update to your investors. Some details here are very specific to Summer Health’s business, so you will want to substitute what is relevant to your business.

Summer Health redacted investor update

Health of the business

  • Runway: X Months
  • Key Metrics:
    • Paying Customers: X (+X%)
    • Retention: X% m-o-m (+X%)
    • Signups: X (+X%)
    • Conversion: X% (+X%)
    • Visits: X (+X%)
    • MRR: $X (+X%)
    • FTE: X (+X%)
    • Pediatricians: X (+X%)

Investor asks

  1. Do you have benchmarks on the magnitude of users and the breakdown of source (i.e. DTC, employers, payers) for early-stage healthcare services companies?
  2. We are looking for more pediatricians and family medicine doctors. 
  3. We are looking for a new PR firm focused on consumer press and welcome any recommendations.

Investor shoutouts

  • Several of you (X) provided detailed product feedback this month.

People updates

  • We have decided to rethink our need for the X role. We have sunset the role without backfilling and will save the burn for a future hire this year.

Monthly highlights

Product updates

  • We launched our public beta this month to X providers. Based on their feedback, we’ve improved the X and X of the platform and are on track to launch it to all of our providers in early X.
  • Finalized MVP designs that focus on providing X. This also includes operational changes, like X. We will begin development next month and launch an alpha in early X.

Operations updates

  • Provider costs decreased to $X (-X% m/m) on a per-visit basis as our volume scaled beyond our planned coverage. If volume continues at the current scale, we will need to invest in adding more providers next month. The increase in visit volume to X (+X% m/m) stretched our operations.
  • Maintaining X at this volume continues to be a major area of focus. We plan to recruit X to increase the number of X on the platform.

Go-to-Market updates

  • We significantly scaled our top-of-funnel metrics with the ramp-up on social advertising, SEM expansion and a small-scale influencer pilot. We reduced our trial CAC by X% MoM (May: $X / April: $X.)
  • Social Followers: X [+X% MoM]
  • Website Visitors: X [+X% MoM]
  • Trial Signups: X [+X% MoM]
  • We launched X to our existing and new customers. We received strong signals on engagement for trial-to-paying customers (TPR) of X% on new trials and a X% lift in engagement for existing customers.
  • We are piloting several in-kind partnerships with brand-aligned startups focused on learning how to reach parents immediately postpartum.
  • X: Launched in their new perks offering and will be leading a newborn sleep training course in June.
  • X: Will be launching in June to support whole nutrition care for their postpartum families.

Monthly lowlights

  • As we expanded our SEM, we learned that X. This significantly decreased our rate (X% vs. an average of X%).
  • X, a 51-state pediatrician, transitioned to a new job at a hospital and had to reduce his coverage hours significantly. This led to difficulty in X.

What’s on deck

  • GA launch of X to all of our providers, we’re excited about the impact this is going to have on provider efficiency, satisfaction, and increasing the quality of care.
  • Start implementation of X with the goal of launching an alpha early in July. The alpha is for us to understand how to X.

Press roundup

  • Include links to recent company press