What is the best way to position the team in a pitch deck?
How you present and position your team in your pitch deck can make all the difference in getting your startup funded. So, how do you introduce your team well? Who is even on your ‘team’ when it comes to designing your pitch deck? What do investors want to see? What should be included in the pitch deck outline? How can you fill in the gaps?
The Most Important Slide In Your Pitch Deck
What is the most important slide in your pitch deck?
Some think it is the solution? Others the problem slide? The financials slide is a popular one with investors. The cover slide can be key to setting up the entire deck with a great first impression.
Yet, it is the team slide that really trumps all the others in importance.
Yes, you have to get the others right. Though the decision to fund you or not often all comes down to the team.
You can have the right problem, solution, a great product idea and be in a really big market, but without a team investors are willing to bet on, they aren’t going to give up a dime. Ironically, the opposite can almost be true in some cases.
What Investors Are Looking For In A Fundable Team
If the team is so important, what is it that potential investors really want to see?
There are two main factors that they are looking at:
Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Is your team capable? Where would you position information about the team?
There are two parts to this. The first is if your team has the technical ability to solve this problem. What unique skills have you developed to understand and solve this problem? Maybe you are one of only a few engineers or scientists in the world to have spent years studying and working on systems like these.
The second part is a real experience, especially in a business context. Being able to code, design a system, or having seen many others do it is one thing. Having the commercial experience of creating a product that sells, and building a profitable business that can scale is a completely different thing. It’s apples to oranges or ice cream to cake.
Technical genius is one thing, but it doesn’t make an actual business. So, you also want to experience in marketing, managing a team, finance, and more. If you have experience in a startup setting, and especially have previous exits with strong multiples returned to investors that is a huge bonus.
Investors are looking for the best team. That’s the one you’d back with your own money, right? It is the startup with the best team that wins. So, demonstrating that you’ve compiled the best team with experience in your domain can help overcome weaknesses in any other area.
Being coachable is also a huge deal. Being intelligent and wise is important. Though being coachable can be far more important than what you know. There will always be things you don’t know. You’ll never get it if you aren’t willing to learn from those who do have the experience.
How can you prove you won’t quit?
Everything else can look perfect, but without grit and perseverance, no entrepreneur or team is going to survive the constant barrage of daily challenges that are going to come.
What can you demonstrate that shows you have commitment and resilience? What have you done in the past that shows you’ve got what it takes? What have you sacrificed to get here? What are you willing to give up to continue with this startup and get this funding?
Who Counts As Your Team In Your Pitch Deck?
You only have a limited amount of space to display your team on a pitch deck slide. There are also downsides to including too many team members. Even though they may be key team members, if they are just employees there is the risk they may not stick it out. That’s not going to look awesome if you are bleeding people who you raised money based on having during the funding process.
So, what we are specifically talking about here are:
When To Start Introducing The Team In Your Pitch
The team slide typically comes in late in the pitch deck. Though you don’t have to wait that long to begin positioning your team. Begin introducing your team and positioning them with these qualities early on. You can do it with your verbal introduction, the story of your problem and solution, and so on.
You should also try to bring in your cofounders to any live pitches or on video calls.
What To Include On Your Team Slide
The team slide is simple. It is profile pictures of your team, their names and roles, and a one or two-sentence bio. Just a few words which best sums up how they bring the above strengths to the table.
You can also include links to their executive bios on your website (best) or links to their LinkedIn profiles for more depth.
You may include a second slide for notable advisors as well. Figure that how when working out the ideal length of your pitch deck.
What If Your Team Could Be Stronger?
If you aren’t confident that your current team checks all the boxes, this is the time to do something about it.
- Hire the best in the business
- Bring in cofounders who are willing to bring capital
- Give small amounts of equity to notable advisors to bring them in
As a part of your fundraising ask you can also explain who you will hire to fill any of these gaps with the funds you bring in. Understand how to position the team in a pitch deck. It is one of the most critical aspects of fundraising.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.
Note I cover how to position the team in a pitch deck in detail in the video below.
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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE VIDEO:
This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about how to position the team in a pitch deck. Before we get started, make sure that you hit that subscribe button, and this way, you will never miss out on any of the videos that we roll out every week.
You’ve probably heard investors that invest in startups say all the time when they’re asked, “What do you look for the most in startups before you make an investment?” they always say, “Team, team, team.” Team is absolutely everything. In today’s video, we’re going to really explain, break it down for you so that you understand how to convey this, whether it’s in your presentation or in your narrative. So with that being said, let’s get into it.
What’s the most important slide in your pitch deck? Some investors may think it’s the financials. Some investors think it’s probably the problem or the solution. But the team has to be one of the most important slides. In fact, there are studies that were conducted that determined that investors, on average, spend 2 minutes, 41 seconds per presentation, and out of those 2 minutes, 41 seconds, the two slides that they spend the most amount of time on are the financials and also the team. So the team is a critical component of it because it’s going to allow for the investor to know what kind of background, what kind of expertise, and how well those founders or that team are going to be able to steer the ship into the right path, into the right journey.
When it comes to understanding what the investor is going to look for when they’re looking at the team, when they’re looking at maybe making an investment, doing the due diligence, or reviewing your slide, they want to come across two things: 1) The ability to execute because as they say, “5% is the idea; 95% is the execution.” They want to know that over the course of time, whatever promises that you and your team are making, you’re actually delivering over the course of time. So, that’s for the ability of execution.
2) Now, the other thing is the commitment. When you’re, for example, putting in your team slides, make sure that you can put your hands on the fire that those individuals are going to be sticking around for at least six months or more. Otherwise, what you’re doing is you’re adding more concerns rather than removing concerns. Remember that in fundraising, it’s all about removing concerns because the concerns that you’re going to encounter are what separate you and the money. That’s why you want to remove those concerns, and you do not want to add more.
When it comes to the commitment, you want people that are going to be sticking around for the long run. One of the things that you can do and that you can convey is essentially that you’ve put together a plan or an equity incentive plan where you are rewarding your employees over the course of the long run in the event that certain milestones or perhaps a certain period of time that they stick around. That unlocks certain equity that would be assigned to them. That also creates the commitment for these people to stick around.
When it comes to the capabilities, in terms of the capabilities, the investor is going to want to know what is the domain expertise that you have and that your team has and for how long have you been involved in this space, in this segment? What have you done in the past? Perhaps when you’re there looking at your team, they’re going to want to know what other companies have they been at? What kind of networks have you been able to build around you, whether that is advisors, former colleagues, former classmates, whatever that is? But that you’ve been involved in the space.
Typically, one great thing that you can do on the team slide of the pitch deck is to put the logos of the different companies that the management has been working at. And, perhaps, even the years of experience that they have in this specific segment. That conveys the experience, and the domain authority that you have, and the leadership approach, and that’s something that you really want to have coming across as a point.
Who is going to count as part of the team on the pitch deck? Here, you’re going to have three key areas. You’re going to have on one end, the cofounders. You’re going to have the executives, and you’re going to have the advisors, and perhaps members of the board of directors, obviously, depending on your stage and in which lifecycle you are in, in the execution of the business.
The cofounders are who created this business, whether it was you or whether it was you and your partners. Basically, this is what you’re going to be outlining. You can either create the founding team type of slide, or you can perhaps create the leadership team type of slide where you are putting yourself and your partners with your title and also the fact that you are a founder.
Now, the executives, essentially what you want to do is, you want to include the C-suite. You want to avoid including your intern or including this person that just started as a super junior because it’s, as we said, all about the expertise and the authority that you have in the space. So, with this in mind, what you want is to put the top as C-level executives that are actually part of the leadership team of the business.
On the advisors, you do not want to put the executives and then also the advisors in one single slide because that could be overwhelming. So break it out where you have the executives and the founders on one slide and then the advisors or the board members on another slide. Here, on the advisors, you want to put people that have the expertise, the type of advice that they’re providing to you. Then, also, on the board members, more of the same. Maybe it could be an investor that has invested in your business.
Going back to the executives and the founding team, what you want to do is avoid putting a long format of bios on the presentation. What you want to do is include two bullet points:
- What is the biggest accomplishment of that individual to date?
- The previous companies that they have worked at and the number of years that they have executing in this specific space.
What if you’re not sure about your team? What you can do is go out and hire people that could be great fits for the executive team. You can also use equity to incentivize them. You can go and get another cofounder. Maybe you’re technical, or someone on the business side. Or maybe you’re on the business side, and you need someone on the technical side. There are always incentives that you can use and use that equity approach.
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