Several months ago I was talking to an entrepreneur/angel investor that was interested in investing in a startup where I’m an investor. As part of his due diligence on the potential investment, he wanted to talk to existing investors and get their thoughts on the startup. Naturally, I obliged.
Here are some of the reference call questions from a potential investor to an existing investor:
- What’s your experience been like working with the startup? What’s gone well and what hasn’t gone well?
- What’s your experience been like working with the CEO? What’s gone well and what hasn’t gone well?
- What’s your outlook on the business? How has that changed from your original investment?
- What are the dynamics of the board like? How productive are the board meetings?
- Are you participating in this next round? Why or why not?
- What questions should I be asking as a potential investor?
New investors want to hear that existing investors are bullish on the startup and have had a good experience. Of course, existing investors often want the money from new investors to help the company, so there’s an element where potential investors have to make a judgement call as to the quality and truthfulness of the existing investor responses.
Entrepreneurs would do well to keep their existing investors informed and engaged for a number of reasons, one of which is that potential investors in the future will expect to do reference calls with them.
What else? What are some more questions for potential investors to ask existing investors?