Where to put the team slide in a pitch deck for your startup?
The team slide is one of the most important and pivotal slides in any pitch deck. Its placement is incredibly vital to get right.
So is understanding what investors are looking for in a team from their perspective. As well as exactly what should go on your team slides, and not. Plus, how to augment and make up for a weaker team when you try to pitch investors. Or how to strengthen and improve the appeal of your team to startup investors.
Here’s what you need to know to ace this critical part of the fundraising process, and get the financial fuel and support your company needs to fully capitalize on its potential.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
The Importance Of The Team Slide In A Pitch Deck
The team slide is easily one of the top three most important slides in any pitch deck.
The team is always a pivotal component for investors. Even for later-stage startups, they need to know that your team has what it takes to take their investment and your company to the next level. Hopefully, by then, you have already matured your team, have evolved yourself as a leader, and have brought in a lot more expertise and support.
For early-stage startups, investors often don’t have much more to go on than the team. Everything else is just a dream and hope. So, the strength of your team can break your fundraising hopes and startup aspirations.
Startups & Failure
They say the only time a startup really fails is when the founder quits. So, startup success and failure are directly and inseparably linked to the team.
Cofounder issues are also another major reason that startups implode and fall apart. Solo entrepreneurs may be less likely to stick with it. Too many co-founders or a lack of cohesiveness between cofounders can also present increased risk levels. Focus and speedy decision-making and action are what make startups. That can clearly be more challenging to achieve if you have five or seven cofounders.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
The team is also the one truly unique thing that your startup owns. As much as entrepreneurs would love to believe that their idea is unique, that is virtually never the case. The investors that you are pitching have probably already seen the same idea multiple times this week. This means their choice all comes down to which team to fund.
In many cases, investors have taken teams pitching them and put them to work on other ideas. With a fantastic team, they know that their money can also always be rolled into new projects. Whereas the wrong team can ruin a great startup idea.
If you are ready for more in-depth information on how to position the team in a pitch deck, check out this video I have created. You’re sure to find it helpful.
How Much Investors Will Put In & The Terms
With a team being such a risk factor for startup investors, it also certainly impacts how much money they are willing to put into a given investment in a round. As well as the terms they will offer or consider.
If the team is strong and has a great track record of starting and exiting ventures, with attractive returns to their investors, there is far more upside and far less downside risk. Whereas a new team may bring the desire to minimize the amount of capital at risk, and protect that even further with more control and clauses in funding agreements.
In turn, this may impact the amount of freedom that they give you on a daily basis. Including how many board seats they will want, the percentage of equity demanded, voting rights, and how much they babysit you and question your decisions versus just letting you get to work and make your best judgment calls.
What Are Investors Looking For In A Fundable Team
How do you know how great your team’s chances of getting funded are? Understanding how that works will help you figure out where to put the team slide in a pitch deck.
Here are five of the most important factors that investors will certainly be looking at when evaluating your team.
Your experience and resume are like your credit report for startup funding. Investors will look at your past experience and credentials as the best indicator they have available to predict your future success.
Are you the absolute best in your industry? What real business experience does your team have? What startups have you launched and sold or taken public before? What returns did your investors get?
The best team in the space is going to win eventually, right? Money can certainly cover a lot of mistakes and can be an advantage. Though it only goes so far. A poorly performing team can blow any amount of money and still fail. Whereas a great team can make progress with a little, and find another round of investors to add in more capital pretty quickly.
As previously mentioned, the only time startups technically fail is when the founders quit. This is not an easy journey. It will be the hardest thing you do. Most successful entrepreneurs admit that they wouldn’t have done it if they knew how hard it would be.
So, what have you done in your life so far that proves you have what it takes to stick it out in spite of all the challenges?
3. A Well Rounded Skill Set
One of the most important things for cofounders is to ensure the team has a well-rounded skill set that compliments each other. There are little benefits in overlapping skills that are going to reach up a lot of the equity.
You may have a technical founder, a founder experienced in business management and startups, and someone who is a highly accomplished expert in this industry. Make sure you highlight the valuable skill sets in the company when working out where to put the team slide in a pitch deck.
4. A Team That Can Sell
You’ve got to be able to sell. It doesn’t matter how great your product or business model idea is if you can’t sell.
If you can’t sell you are not going to be able to convince other investors to come in. You won’t be able to move your product or bring in sales and revenues. You won’t be able to sell the company and get their money out of it.
5. Your Legal Agreements
How well are the legal agreements between your team structured?
This can include the operating agreement between the cofounders, contracts with advisors, and employee contracts.
Are there smart vesting schedules with cliffs? Are equity holders committed to working hard on this for the long term? How are things to be resolved in the case of disputes? How well are the company and other stockholders protected?
How To Develop A Better Team Before Fundraising
There is a good chance that you may be reading this and are now questioning whether your team really has what it takes to ace the fundraising gauntlet and speedily close a round of funding.
It is certainly better to realize that now, and to improve before you rush out to pitch investors and burn the opportunities on the table.
So, if there is room for improvement, what are your options?
Bring In More Cofounders
The first idea that may come to mind may be to simply add more cofounders.
This may be the best move. It can add the skills, experience, and resume you need. Going from solo to three founders may be more appealing for investors. If you have the right cofounders.
Some cofounders may even be able to bring in capital themselves. Which can strengthen your company, and make it look better on paper. Or perhaps even enable your startup to build up more proof, data, and value, before taking outside money.
Still, it is wise to be wary of bringing in too many people at this level. This is a long-term legal marriage. It can be difficult to find strong cofounders that you really have this level of trust on the fly.
Hire Key Executives & Department Heads
It may make more sense to hire the experience and resumes you need instead.
This can apply to executives, and heads of departments that bring all the experience you don’t have.
Even as a lean new startup, you may offer options or equity to compensate top talent. This is likely to be a lot less equity than you’d give up to an equal cofounder.
Bring On Respected Advisors
This is another option that can add an immense amount of experience and credibility to your venture. This may also cost you a small amount of equity. Though far less than you’d give up to a cofounder, and in exchange for a lot more experience on your team. Once you have impressive talent on board, you can work out where to put the team slide in a pitch deck.
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.
Where To Put The Team Slide In A Pitch Deck
Here is exactly where your team slide belongs in a standard 16-slide pitch deck:
- Market Size
- Competitive Advantage
- Customers and Engagement
- Business Model
- Amount Being Raised and Other Investors
- Use of Funds
- Back Cover
What To Put the Pitch Deck Team Slide
Team Profile Pictures
Each team member should have their headshot on your team slide/s. It can be worth investing in a good graphic designer to professionally edit these images to make sure they fit the quality of your overall pitch deck and brand. Put together all the relevant information before you start working out where to put the team slide in a pitch deck.
Names & Titles
Each team member should have their name and job title along with their photo.
You may want to avoid getting hung up on titles. Printing your first business card with ‘CEO’ on it, or adding ‘President’ to your Instagram bio may make you feel great.
Recently many startups have become very creative with their job titles. That can work. At least providing it matches the brand, and has a purpose. Though if you get too far out there, you might just confuse investors, and distract them.
While you need to convey a lot here, you really can’t afford to use many words. Or you risk ruining your entire pitch and deck.
Stay disciplined in using just one short sentence bio per team member. Be sure to get across the one big value point they bring to the table.
Links To More Information
There is probably a whole lot more value to convey about your team members than you are going to squeeze into a great sentence.
Give investors the ability to find out a lot more about why you are the team to invest in by linking out to more info. You can do this by linking to updated LinkedIn bios, and team resumes in your virtual data room.
How Else To Build Your Team Into Your Pitch Deck
Given that your team slide may be just one-sixteenth of your pitch deck, yet carries so much power, how else can you highlight and convince investors you are the team to fund?
Your cover slide provides room for your name and direct contact information.
The problem slide gives you the chance to talk about how you encountered this problem. While your solution and product slides provide the chance to explain why you are the expert to take this on.
How you weave together your verbal pitch and story throughout your presentation is really where you can augment the team slide, and drive home the message.
Other Top Pitch Deck Slides You Need To Nail
Among the other most important slides in your pitch deck from an investor perspective are:
- Your cover slide: If this isn’t good, they won’t see anything else
- The problem slide: All great startups are built on a strong problem
- Traction slide: What have you proven to be able to accomplish?
- Financials: What do the returns look like?
- Closing slide: Can you close the deal and get them to give you a term sheet?
- Keep these factors in mind when learning where to put the team slide in a pitch deck.
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