5 investor tear sheet examples + templates for the win

If there’s one challenge that unites startup founders and VC firm partners, it’s the struggle of creating an effective tear sheet. With only one or two pages at your disposal, you need to distill the most important bits of information and present them in a way that:

  • Instantly answers all top-of-mind questions
  • Drives interest in learning more

Drawing from our experience on both sides of the investment table, we’ve helped hundreds of funds and startup founders craft tear sheets and other investment materials

Below, we share tear sheet examples, content templates, and tried-and-true practices to streamline this process and enhance the quality of your tear sheet. Be it for pitching your fund or startup to prospective investors or keeping your LPs in the loop, we’ve got you covered. Read on!

So, what is a tear sheet in venture capital?

In the realms of venture capital and private equity, a tear sheet is an indispensable tool for VCs and startups that helps attract capital commitments from investors and keep LPs up to date. 

Simply put, a tear sheet — also known as a “fact sheet” or an “Executive Summary” — is a concise one- or two-page document summarizing all key information about a fund or a company. 

The content and structure of a tear sheet vary based on the industry and its intended use, but they typically encompass the following elements:

  • Fund or company overview
  • Sector
  • Company drivers and KPIs
  • Financial overview 
  • Leadership and key experts
  • Investment amount/funding ask

Here, we specifically focus on two specific tear sheet use cases:

  • Pitching your fund or startup to prospective investors to attract funding;
  • Keeping your internal and external stakeholders in the loop about your fund’s progress

Let’s see how to approach each of these situations. We’ll use templates based on the tear sheets we at Waveup created for our clients.

Winning tear sheet examples for funds and startups 

Note: Use the outlines and the templates below as a rule-of-thumb framework to play with. You might not need some of the included fields, just as you might need those we left out. You can also follow a different content flow and juggle bits of information how you see fit.

Google trends and keyword research

A pitch-oriented tear sheet is your first touchpoint with investors, designed to entice them to open your pitch deck and spotlight the potential, strategy, and team expertise of your fund or project.

The trick here is to provide just enough of the right information to attract attention and get investors curious.

Tear sheet examples for funds

Content template 

Following this content template will help you recreate the examples you just saw.

  1. Fund overview:
  • Name 
  • Founding year and location
  • A few-sentence description of the fund’s investment approach and rationale
  1. Investment thesis and terms:
  • Sector
  • Stage
  • Geography
  • Risk profile
  • Average investment commitment
  • Portfolio size and brief description of notable companies (optional)
  • Investment pace
  • Engagement level
  • Lockup period
  • Management fee
  1. Market analysis: Key insights into the industry trends and dynamics of the markets the fund targets
  2. Competitive differentiators & KPIs: 
  • High returns like IRR, DPI, and TVPI against industry average
  • High exit rate
  • # of unicorns 
  • Experience leading rounds
  • Team’s successful track record or previous funds
  1. Testimonials and endorsements: Quotes from founders, industry experts, advisors, or notable figures in the investment community.
  2. The ask and use of funds:
  • Target size and minimum investment from LPs
  • Management fees and carried interest details
  • Number of projects you plan to accomplish / startups you plan to invest in in the following 12-24 months
  1. Contact information: 
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Address

Tear sheet examples for startups

The following product tear sheet examples helped these startups raise capital, so feel free to draw inspiration from them.

Content template

  1. Company profile:
  • Name, geography, and founding year
  • The essence of your product or service expressed in one powerful statement 
  • Industry or sector
  • Leadership team with credentials
  • Business model overview
  • Strategy and vision
  1. Traction to date: 
  • Operating locations
  • Brands you worked with
  • # of customers, # of bookings, and other sector-related metrics
  • Previous rounds and the amount raised (if any)
  1. Market details: 
  • TAM SAM SOM
  • Industry trends and opportunities
  • Problem you’re solving (optional)
  1. Growth strategy:
  • Key GTM steps
  • Key expansion touchpoints
  1. Financial outlook:
  • Total revenue 
  • ARR, ACV, new customers, LTV
  • EBITDA
  • Cashflow 
  • Cash burn 
  • Runway
  • Projected growth
  1. Funding ask and the offering
  • The sum you’re raising
  • How you plan to use it 
  • Your offering post-money

Don’t forget to demonstrate the overall growth dynamic with a YoY growth.

For updating LPs on the fund’s progress

Your LPs want the lowdown on your fund’s health without getting lost in the weeds. The focus here must be on clarity and consistency, so it’s important to develop one scalable template that works for your LPs and adhere to it. 

Example of a VC tear sheet

Content template

Use the following structure as your starting point for creating a narrative update tear sheet:

  1. Fund overview:
  • Name and investment thesis
  • Size with the total amount of capital commitments 
  • Vintage year
  1. Portfolio companies:
  • Overall portfolio valuation
  • Investment realization ratio
  • List of investments with respective sector, stage of investment, and geographical location.
  • Achievement highlights such as exits, follow-on rounds, product launches, or notable growth metrics
  1. Financial statements and KPIs:
  • Net Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  • Distributions to Paid-In (DPI)
  • Total Value to Paid-In (TVPI)
  • Residual Value to Paid-In (RVPI)
  • Gross and Net Profit/Loss
  • Management Fees
  • Expense Ratios
  • Carried interest

Tip: Always add the S&P 500, the NASDAQ, or other industry benchmarks to compare your numbers against.

Tear sheet tips for better results

The following best practices will help you simplify the process of crafting a tear sheet and increase its appeal to whomever it targets. 

Put key information upfront

The key information you need to focus on depends on what the people on the receiving end want to know and how they prefer to see it. 

If your goal is to pitch your fund or startup to investors, follow the introduction with the data that promises returns and reduces risk: traction, the size of the opportunity, etc. Lead with numbers. 

If the goal is to inform LPs, lead with fund performance metrics, big deals, exits, and lead and follow-on rounds.

Answer the “So what?” question

Each bit of data you include must answer the “So what?” question, which requires providing both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data includes financials, sales, customer and product metrics, returns, market size, exits, etc. Qualitative data involves a vision/mission statement, competitive advantage, the team behind the project, investment thesis, and so on.

Keep it simple

Start with a simple, basic structure and layout, and gradually build it up as you go. Don’t overwhelm investors with information: it’s always better to start small and expand upon request than to bury key information in irrelevant details. 

Plus, it’s always easier to add something later on than to delete it.

Use visualizations and design cheats 

By design cheats, we mean design practices that help amplify your key message and make information look clearer, compelling, and professional. Some are particularly effective (and appropriate) when pitching to new investors; others are universal.

Charts, graphs, and infographics

If you see an opportunity to visualize information, do it. Not only does it help simplify financial information and include more data without tiring LPs and investors, but it also helps hammer your point home more effectively.

Want to show what proportion of your investments are allocated to companies in different regions? Use piecharts.

Want to show growth or a revenue vs. cash burn dynamic? Illustrate the numbers with a graph. It can consist of a single line set against each metric for which you want to show a positive trend.

Here are some cheats you can use to make your information look more impressive:

Logos

Have you or someone from your team have done business with some big names? Show it off by including the companies’ logos. Have a piece published under your name or got a press mention in a prominent media? Put up their logos.

Note: Tear sheets are some of the most conservative document types, especially in traditional industries like real estate, legal, energy, and the like, so don’t go overboard with the design. Remember: with investment materials, simplicity trumps originality.

Be consistent with your brand

Every piece of documentation that comes out under your brand’s name must be crafted per your internal style guidelines. It means keeping elements like your tone of voice and your brand colors in line with your website’s style.

Gather feedback and iterate

Here’s a nugget of wisdom: if a particular tear sheet template doesn’t generate any interest from investors in a month or two, change your approach. Ask for feedback and implement it, or seek outside expert advice. Don’t waste your time pushing something that doesn’t work.

FAQ

What is an investor tear sheet?

An investor tear sheet is a brief document, usually a page or two, that provides a snapshot of a fund’s or company’s performance, strategy, and other key information. It’s a quick reference tool for investors to get essential insights. They’re widely used to provide a quick and informative overview of an investment opportunity to current or potential investors.

How often should we update and distribute investor tear sheets to LPs?

The frequency varies based on your fund’s activity and investor needs. Quarterly updates are more than enough if you are hyper-selective with your portfolio and invest in 5-10 companies a year. If you invest monthly and have a large portfolio, LPs will require a monthly update.

What information should I include in an investor tear sheet?

It depends on your tear sheet’s purpose and target audience. Quantitative data includes traction to date, sector-specific performance metrics, market data, and financials. Quantitative data includes fund or startup overview, sector, business model, management team details, investment thesis, and growth strategy.

How do tear sheets differ when targeting potential investors vs. current LPs?

For potential investors, the focus is on attracting interest with highlights on potential and strategy. For current investors, the emphasis is on maintaining transparency, which requires detailed performance data and updates on existing investments.

What financial metrics should go into a tear sheet?

Always keep your financial outlook brief. Startups should stick to EBITDA margin, net revenue, ARR (for SaaSs), gross profit margin, and runway/cash burn.

What makes an investor tear sheet stand out?

Clarity, brevity, relevance of information, and visual appeal. In other words, you should quickly convey the most important aspects in a compelling way.

What are common pitfalls to avoid when creating tear sheets?

Avoid overcrowding with too much information, using outdated data, or a lack of clear structure. balance is key – provide enough information without overwhelming the reader.

Want to explore more posts on the topics of startup growth, fundraising, and financial modeling? Check out Waveup’s blog to get lost in some crème de la crème content.

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Anna

Content Writer

Hi there! I’m Anya, a Content Writer at Waveup. I’ve been working with startups in various industries for over 4 years, soaking up the knowledge and learning from their business strategies. Now, I collaborate with the best minds here at Waveup to pick up their expertise and share it with the readers.