THE PITCH A blog about the art of persuasion

Thursday, June 27, 2013

3 Questions to Help Position Your Team in Your Pitch to Investors

The strength of your team is one of the most important factors taken into account when investors decide whether or not to fund your start-up. Many investors live by the adage, “An A entrepreneur with a B idea is more fundable than a B entrepreneur with an A idea.”

Obviously that makes one of your main goals in the initial pitch meeting to convince investors that you are an A entrepreneur. The answers to these 3 questions will help you prioritize which qualities to emphasize in your investor pitch deck:

  • Do you have extensive domain experience?

Previous success in the same industry is an attractive proposition for investors. They won’t have to worry about any initial learning curve issues, and can sleep easy knowing that you will anticipate industry specific problems.

  • Do you have skill or technology that was successful in a different industry that you can apply to a new vertical?

This can be just as good as actual domain expertise, and sometimes even better. Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Company, is the classic example of someone who was able to disrupt the market with outside expertise. A Harvard grad, he founded his company in 1984 after working as a strategic manufacturing consultant at Boston Consulting Group and took it public just nine years later.

  • How does your team fit together?

Investors will be looking for any potential issues in your team dynamic. These can range in nature from personal to skill sets, and everything in between. Make sure that you position your team members in such a way that investors will walk out of your pitch knowing that you have all the varying experiences and personalities needed to get the job done.

If you can give firm, validated answers all 3 of these questions you will have no issue selling your status as an A entrepreneur. Going back to the Boston Beer Co. example, Jim Koch was a sixth generation brewmaster in addition to a strategic manufacturing consultant. His success was all but assured when he took that dynamic pairing and found partners with relevant business experience.

At this point you’re probably saying something along the lines of, “Well great for Jim Koch but I don’t have a Harvard JD/MBA, years of prestigious consulting work and/or 150 years of family experience.”

That’s ok. Most people don’t. Investors realize that there are many paths to success; it’s your job to hone in on the qualities that make your team the best group to execute the idea.

While these are questions we’ve found to be helpful in positioning teams for investor pitches, they are certainly not comprehensive. What team-related questions have investors raised in your pitch meetings?

Posted by Sol Marketing at 4:47 PM | Comments Off on 3 Questions to Help Position Your Team in Your Pitch to Investors

Topics: Building a pitch deck, Elements of a pitch, Telling the Story