50 Questions

Conveying that you have a great team

By March 15, 2013 One Comment

As I’ve written before and you will have probably have seen on many other blogs the key elements of a good investment and therefore a good pitch are great market, great product and great team. For the last couple of years I have been adding a fourth item to the list, and that is momentum. Most obviously that can be momentum in sales and/or user activity, but momentum in other areas really helps too – e.g. the market opportunity, PR, or development of the team.

It is the team part that I want to focus on today. Entrepreneurs often ask me where in their decks they shoud put the team slide and I’m always slightly at a loss to answer because even though team is a critcial part of the investment, and I do want to hear if the team has relevant experience the team slide always bores me a little. I’ve been helping people with their pitch decks a lot over the last few weeks and as I’ve thought it through I’ve come to believe that the key to convincing investors you have a great team is to show them that you are executing well, and you do that in the way you present the other elements of the company.

Two examples:

  • Good pitches for consumer internet companies often achieve this when they talk about their metrics – at one level they are showing the progress and momentum of the company, but at another level they are showing that they are really on top of the metrics in their business. This goes beyond simply measuring and reporting to deep thought about what should be measured and what it means. Many of the best consumer internet entrepreneurs are geekily passionate about the data they collect and how they use it to improve their product.
  • Good SaaS companies often demonstrate their execution ability by talking about sales and marketing. At one level they show how reveneus and marketing buzz are increasing, but at another level they are showing that they have a deep understanding of what their customers want, how to sell it to them, and how to manage a sales team.