Neil Patel

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Investors need to know about your background and accomplishments during your pitch in order to invest in your startup. Without knowing what you and your team have done before, investors cannot know if you are going to handle their investment wisely in the future. 


But when should you present your background in your pitch deck?The short answer is to use the Team slide to showcase your team’s achievements. There’s a lot at stake. If you’re going to make a successful pitch deck, you need to get this slide right. 


Let’s do a deep dive into presenting your background and accomplishments to maximize your chances of investment, unlocking the power of your team slide.


The Team Slide: Leadership and VCs

Your team slide is one of the 3 most important slides in your pitch deck. Venture capitalist, David Skok, describes the team slide as “your chance to showcase why you are exceptional and why we should bet on your team”. 


Make this the core of your team slide. Use it to show why an investor should invest in you rather than your product.


The team slide of your pitch deck is about showing leadership. As Maria Palma of RRE Ventures observes, leadership is the one thing that “will make or break your business”. The leadership infrastructure of your business is going to either attract or repel investment because of this.


In Scott Kupor’s popular guide to securing investment, Secrets of Sandhill Road, he highlights that many VCs delve deeply into the backgrounds of founders for clues about their likely effectiveness. In fact, if a business is in its infancy, often the leadership of such a startup is the most important aspect for potential investors.


We can see then that the team slide is essential to securing investment. The presentation of you and your team’s achievements are pivotal for success. But what happens when you don’t have those accomplishments in place yet?


What if We Don’t Have Relevant Accomplishments?

When you’re designing your team slide, you might come to the sobering realization that you and your team don’t have any relevant accomplishments to show. What then? Do you highlight how you go for a run every day to show you are disciplined? Or what about your blistering career as a Cub Scout?


Sounds preposterous, right? That’s because it is. When presenting your team slide, you need to focus on what’s relevant. Don’t include pointless information or exaggerate if you are a little wet behind the ears. 


Instead of just filling your pitch deck with useless information, you need to have accomplishments on your team that are relevant.


The best thing to do if you don’t have relevant accomplishments is to either expand your team with those who do have such a background or get some expert advisors on board. You can then present their credentials and accomplishments, showing investors why your team has the backing of experienced individuals.


If your previous startup didn’t end so well, you can still make use of this by showing your experience of running a business. After all, most investors understand that many businesses don’t quite make it. Just look at successful entrepreneurs like Rachel Drori, who raised $43million of investment after her initial startup didn’t fly. It’s those who stay the course that succeed.


What to Include in Your Team Slide

At first, the team slide doesn’t appear too difficult. Just throw in your top achievements and you’re good to go, right? If only it were that simple. Like every part of your pitch deck, your team slide has to be designed thoughtfully, with potential investors in mind.


It’s important here to realize that relevant accomplishments do not have to include success in the same niche or business type. What is relevant to investors, is showing that you and your team have the talent to run a successful business that can outmaneuver competitors.


Types of persuasive accomplishments and background include:


  • Good academic performance, especially if in business or a field related to your product/service.


  • Experience as a leader or manager.


  • Knowledge and skills related to business or a product niche.


  • Personal story.


Let’s take a closer look at each of these.


Academic Performance

Good academic performance at degree level can show your tenacity and discipline. This could be a degree in business, finance, law, or any other area that allows investors to connect the dots between you and the business world.


Any merits or distinctions can work in your favor; however, I would only emphasize this if other more salient accomplishments are unavailable. 


Leadership Experience

As mentioned above, leadership is pivotal. This could include performance as a manager or management team. In some instances, you could include other leadership roles in your community and beyond. 


If you have one, include a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) such as sales, profit, or growth, that happened under your watch.


Knowledge and Skills

The knowledge and skill-set you bring to a pitch can make all the difference. If you have skills that are relevant to your product or brand niche, then investors will see you as a more reliable pair of hands. Someone who knows the playing field.


Take Garrett Camp, for example. He is the billionaire behind Uber ride sharing. His product has changed the face of ride sharing and deliveries across the world forever. Before that, he sold his previous e-company, StumbleUpon, for $75million to eBay in 2007. 


And his background? Software engineering. 


If someone is going to pitch a business that requires a lot of IT know-how, then investors are going to trust someone who understands code over someone who doesn’t.


Leverage any knowledge or skills you have which boosts your understanding of your market.


Personal Story

Connecting all of this together is your personal story. Remember, storytelling plays a key role in fundraising. If you have a story bringing the inspiration for your product together with your own experiences, this is a marriage made in heaven. Personal stories are compelling, and they tell investors that you are engaged and passionate about what you are developing.


How to Present Your Team Slide

You might be thinking: How can I fit all of this in my team slide? The truth is, you can’t. You have to prioritize the information you are giving. Investors deal with pitches on a daily basis. They will thank you for being concise. 


A rule of thumb when presenting your team slide is to keep it to 1 – 2 slides. Keep the accomplishments of you and 1 or 2 other team leaders to about 2 bullet points per person. This provides investors with a simple overview of your main, relevant achievements.


If you want to outline other relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments, you can expand upon these in your appendix slides.


Your team slide is one of the most important parts of your pitch deck. It tells investors who you are, what you have done before, and allows them to infer about what you and your team can achieve in the future. 


Investment is about the future, and we only make the best one possible by learning from the past. Investors are betting on that. 


I hope you found this article helpful. For more advice, check out The DealMakers Podcast where I interview leading entrepreneurs. In each episode, they share their experiences and strategies for success, helping new entrepreneurs close the deals that matter most.


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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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