Presentation is not about information. It’s about getting people engaged to care about what’s happening on screen. It’s about making people care about what you are conveying, your message and what you’re trying to sell them.
So, what you need is a deck that is tightly rehearsed and easy to deliver so that everyone that you pitch to, will get your message and ask you questions that are meaningful and relevant to the opportunity you are presenting them with.
A great presentation is undoubtedly more impactful than a great design. While no single slide will make or break your presentation, your narrative will leave investors either believing in you or not.
Here is Davis S. Rose’s amazing TED talk on how to pitch to a VC.
The team slide is not considered very demanding. Many founders throw it into the deck as an afterthought which turns out to be a missed opportunity. In fact, Matrix advises to put team slide first. At Matrix, Dana Stalder, explains, “We often find ourselves asking the founders to introduce the team after they’ve gone through a couple pages and haven’t put the team slide first. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself like you would at the beginning of any new relationship.”
What is a great team? Mukund Mohan defines a great team as:
“Complements each other, works very well together and is able to trust each other to execute independently well and collectively be better than the sum of parts.”
There are three potential outcomes from your team slide:
A positive bias- An investor sees your team as perfect executors of this idea and has already started to believe in you.
A neutral stance- An investor sees there is nothing extraordinary about your team but he accepts that it won’t be a barrier to success either.
A negative bias- Your team slide lacks information or the investors see lack of relevant experience. All in all, he is doubtful about the potential of your team to execute the plan.
Now, it is your job as a founder to make the VCs believe in your capability and competence, your strength and your experience.
Make sure that you cover the following key areas:
1. Mention the experience
Investors want to see how competent the team is. They want to know your skills and access your domain expertise. If you are selling software for doctors, what do you know about doctors and software?
Everything you mention creates a picture of that individual.
Past affiliations with companies
Credibility in the industry
An engaging picture will help investors put a picture to the name and help you tell your story. It makes the team slide more interesting and powerful as it helps investors relate with them easily.
Diversity of your team which investors are always looking for
2. Who is doing what
Execution only happens with clarity and investors know that and they evaluate your maturity as a company. We know as a startup everyone will do everything, but clearly drawing out lines shows management and accountability in your setup.
3. Use a similar slide for the top 2-3 members
Keep every slide focused and clearly indicate specific roles like CTO/ Founder. Use the detailed slide like this for leadership team only.
4. Don’t forget to show the impressive background and accomplishments of each team member
Demonstrate their domain expertise with the photograph and mention major accomplishments. Make the readers eager to meet them.
5. Beware of the big brands
Showing experience at big brand tech companies could have positive or negative results as it could create more questions than answers.
Understandably, companies like Google, Facebook have a high bar for hiring. But they are all big, safe companies which give high security. Investors would like to see some evidence that these individuals who were at these companies are really entrepreneurial.
6. No advisors or investors on the team slide
Advisers probably are advising many companies so they are not the ones who are putting in the main work nor invest a lot of their time or energy compared to the core team. Investors are interested to picture the competency of the core team only.
Though you can add board members, as a board member conveys that they believe in the future of your company, which is worth highlighting. You can also use a separate slide to highlight this.
7. Be focused on what you’re trying to tell investors about your company
Scattering irrelevant information about your team members distorts the narrative and picture of your company you want to create in their minds. They are not able to connect the information and are left with more questions than answers. It leaves a negative impact and is simply a wasted opportunity.
8. Be careful in using charts
Formatting in a chart is helpful, but take care of the execution. It seems distracting and needs effort to read.
9. On the other hand, do not leave out the required information
10. And most importantly, make them want more. Always.
Make sure to bring out what's unique about your team and that you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.