This article originally appeared on Netocratic on July 2nd 2014.
When an investor considers your company for investment at the earliest stages, who you are is so much more important than your idea. Your team is such a crucial part of your company’s success, and yet many teams omit their team slide or bludgeon it because they don’t feel they have anything interesting to add other than team photos and a job-title.
What’s worse is when pitching, founders usually just point to the team slide, and say something like – here is our team, we have lots of rockstars or something generic like that. And that’s it…
Wow.. way to undersell who you are!
Let’s look at what the major selling points of a team slide should be:
1. To show a team’s capability to deliver
Basically, does your team know anything about what you are doing. If you are a healthcare company, do you have a healthcare background? If you are making something for the financial industry, have any of your team members worked there? What companies have your team worked in that can validate you? If you’ve worked at Google before, for example, it would be worthwhile to put that company logo up on your team slide because the image of the brand would speak faster to your audience, than any number of words you could say in the same time frame.
2. To show a team’s capacity to deliver
Are you effectively complete or incomplete as a team? Is your team mostly business people but lacking the technical capabilities to deliver or is your team well rounded and able to execute? If your company industry requires an amazing specialist, do you have that specialist? By the way, do not assume that it is a bad thing to admit you are looking to hire for specific functions you don’t currently have in an early stage startup, it shows maturity and your team’s self-awareness, although you don’t have to state it as part of your pitch (just saying, in case it is asked as a question).
3. To show a team’s culture & communication style
What is your company like? Is it a fun place to work in or is the tone more serious? What ‘titles’ do people have? How many of your team are outward facing and how many inward facing? These details are all items that an investor can pick up on based on your team slide.
In terms of where your team slide should be… there is not hard and fast rule, but I’ve found that if you are building something born out of a personal experience at your prior job or of interest.. it makes for a decent early slide to explain the background to your story/pitch. If you are building something that isn’t part of your background story, then where the slide sits is more about flow. Focus on telling a good story that is complemented by your team slide rather than the other way around.
So next time you are doing a presentation in front of investors… ask yourself, are you doing your team slide justice?