Summary Learning: The Investment Memo

Summary Learning: The Investment Memo

What is this?

Different firms with different focuses will have wildly different approaches to writing investment memos. The core idea is the same: a deal team will do work on an investment opportunity and then summarize their learning for the broader team to get up to speed. The output can range from a few slides with mostly visuals to 100+ page memorandums drilling into every aspect of a company and market.

Learning to Synthesize Your Learning

Immerse Yourself

The purpose of

is to find all of the questions you could possibly ask about an opportunity. Throughout this process some of the key activities are
Taking Notes
Taking Notes
on the things you read and
Talking to Customers
because these each represent puzzle pieces that you're trying to structure together to understand the bigger picture around the opportunity at hand.


Build a Latticework Around The Category


In reference to gaining knowledge,

famously said, "How do you get worldly wisdom? What system do you use to rise into the tiny top percentage of the world in terms of having sort of an elementary practical wisdom? I've long believed that a certain system-which almost any intelligent person can learn-works way better than the systems that most people use. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And you hang your actual experience and your vicarious experience (that you get from reading and so forth) on this latticework of powerful models. And, with that system, things gradually get to fit together in a way that enhances cognition." (Source:
Poor Charlie's Almanack
Poor Charlie's Almanack

As you build this latticework through reading, having conversations, and testing things out you'll start to feel a level of competency with any subject. The goal is to start to consciously map this latticework.

Your latticework will start to feel complete when you hear new things about the market or company and immediately understand right where it should go in the framework you have for yourself.9

Simplify & Intensify

It's important for you to have a broad collection of resources and notes from all the things you've watched/read and people you've talked to. But in order to effectively communicate what you've learned in a coherent investment thesis you need to start to synthesize your idea down to the most important and impactful pieces.

People like to think that if they just take a lot of notes and have a massive collection of links and screenshots then they know something. The critical part is understanding what all that information means. Once you've collected all that information you need to turn it into meaningful takeaways and ask yourself: "Therefore, what?"

“One of my companions, an apprentice Hatter was about to open shop for himself—his first concern was to have a handsome sign-board, with a proper inscription. he composed it in these words ‘John Thompson, Hatter, makes and sells hats—for ready money,’ with a figure of a hat: but he thought he would submit it to his friends for their amendments. [After a number of edits,] his inscription was reduced ultimately to ‘John Thomson’ with the figure of a hat.” (Benjamin Franklin)

Learning in Public

One final piece of really summarizing your learning is to put it out into the world and get reactions. This can be sharing your ideas with others at your firm and getting their reactions. Or if you don't have that type of setup you can share your investment themes publicly online. Creating a personal website and a presence on social media gives you an outlet to share your ideas and have people react to them both positively and negatively. Doing that pushes your learning to deeper levels. Not to mention the fact that building that personal brand online is becoming more and more critical in setting yourself apart in an ocean of people who may seem similar to you.


How to Write A Memo

Telling a Story

[Under Construction]



[TEMPLATE] Investment Memo

Memo Collection

Public Equity

Fortress Value Acquisition Corporation - Social Capital
Coho Capital - Spotify
Nestle - Third Point
Crown Castle - Elliott Management
Ferguson - Trian Partners
Marathon Petroleum - Elliott Management
Sony - Third Point
GoDaddy - Coho Capital
GoDaddy - Coho Capital
Opendoor - Social Capital
Bristol-Myers - Starboard Value
SoFi - Social Capital


Developing a Short Thesis

Private Equity

Diversified Service Company: Anonymous
Transportation Business - Anonymous
Consumer Packaged Goods Company - Anonymous
Warehousing and Logistics - Anonymous
Logistics Company - Anonymous

Venture Capital

YouTube - Sequoia Capital
Twitch - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Periscope - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Mindbody - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Linkedin - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Fiverr - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Dropcam - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Twilio - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Pinterest - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Shopify - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Wix - Bessemmer Venture Partners
Yelp - Bessemmer Venture Partners
PagerDuty - Bessemmer Venture Partners
SendGrid - Bessemmer Venture Partners
LifeLock - Bessemmer Venture Partners
DogVacay - Benchmark
LinkedIn - EchoVC
AIM Athleisure - Growth Funders
Roam Research - Chapter One VC
DoorDash - Sequoia

Micro Private Equity

Installer of Irrigation Pumps: Anonymous

Real Estate

Other Examples To Evaluate