VC Fred Wilson on Reporting
Taking the time to write about the companies in your portfolio will make you a better investor.
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At USV, we report to our investors on our portfolio and performance four times a year, once a quarter. We produce an audited report once a year, with our Q4 results.
We do that in writing and we also do a quarterly call for our investors three times a year (we combine our Q4 and Q1 calls since our annual audit process slows down our Q4 reporting).
In our annual and Q2 written reports, we prepare a short update on every one of our portfolio companies. We call these "one-pagers."
This can be a fair bit of work but we do it regularly and have been doing it since we started USV.
I think it is a great discipline for investors to take the time on a regular basis to sit down and write and speak to their investors about what is going on in their portfolio and in the macro environment.
It is a time-honored tradition that fund managers write a letter to their investors explaining what they are seeing and doing. Warren Buffett's letters are a particularly great example of that. But there are many fund managers who are excellent writers and whose letters get passed around and read by many in the investment community.
Everyone here at AVC knows that I think writing and investing fit like a hand and glove and writing and thinking out loud can make you a better investor.
The Gotham Gal and I are investors in a number of venture capital funds and I have noticed a trend among venture fund managers to reduce the amount of writing and verbal communication they do with their investors. I understand that it can be time-consuming and that many fund investors don't even bother to read the reports.
But I would urge my peers to resist that urge and to take time to regularly sit down and write about what is going on in your portfolio companies and the markets you invest in. I think it provides insights, raises issues, and gets the entire investment team talking about things in a way that few other regular processes do.
Plus I really enjoy doing it.