The Venture Capitalist Pitch Deck: Your Team

In your pitch deck, you need to sell your team to the venture capitalists (VCs). The number one cause of failure in early-stage companies is a failure to execute. Pique the VC’s interest by proving that you have an all-star team that is able to get the job done.

In other words, this topic is your chance to explain why a VC should believe that your team is able to succeed in growing your company. Just describing team members’ roles, titles, or job descriptions is a time waster. That information is better put in an executive summary.

If you have a very large, very strong team, you may not have enough time to go into great detail about why all ten (or more) are perfectly suited to help your company succeed. Choose five people to highlight and discuss them more than the others. These five may be founders, employees, or people in advisory roles.

For each of the five, identify one stellar thing that person has done that makes him or her stand out as a great team member for your company. List the rest of the team on the slide to show the many other people on the team, but don’t spend time discussing them.

Give specifics and be sure to highlight team member achievements relevant to the needs of your company. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Name drop and tout impressive achievements when you can, but only when they’re relevant. If an advisory board member won a gold medal in the Olympics for downhill skiing, for example, he or she would be an impressive addition to the roster for a company associated with the ski industry, but not for a company that makes machinery for alternative fuels.

    However, a board member who was an executive in a Fortune 500 company is an impressive addition to any company’s roster even when your company and the Fortune 500 company are in unrelated markets. The bottom line: You are trying to establish credibility for the team members. Be relevant.

  • Highlight venture capital experience and successful exits. Working with VCs is unlike any other business experience, and those who have been through it before understand how to work with a VC and are more likely to be successful in the relationship.

    Having team members who’ve been part of successful exits is another strong asset because it shows you know how to scale up big and become attractive as an acquisition or initial public offering (IPO).

Some people like to start their presentations with a slide about the team, but we suggest that the team slide be shown closer to the end. If you introduce the team early in the talk, VCs don’t know yet whether they care about your team.

If you wait until the end of the talk, when the investors know what you’re doing and are fully engaged in your presentation, they can pay better attention to the qualifications of the team members and make more informed decisions about whether your team can accomplish the goals that you have described in your presentation.

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