Angels & VCs put their $$$ on the best Team, rather than the best Idea, so Build a Dream Team.
Prior experience, Challenges, Expertise, Decisive, Communicator, Confidence, Energy, Investor Contacts, Benefits & more.
The top priority of every entrepreneur who wants funding should be Building a Team – a “Dream Team” of co-founders, executives & advisers, to attract the biggest & best customers & investors. Solo entrepreneurs rarely find an investor.
What Investors are looking for. When evaluating a Startup – as an Angel Investor, I often find myself flipping to the “management” section of a business plan, – even before I read the solution description & opportunity. Imagine my lack of excitement if that section is missing, or it’s basically a list of names & titles that I don’t recognize. To win, you need to tell your best story and highlight how the team hits any and all of the following points:
1. Prior successful Startup Experience. Building a startup business is almost totally the opposite of a corporate executive experience. So prior titles in a big business may actually be seen as a negative. On the other hand, having failed in an earlier startup may be an advantage, if you’re positioned properly, and some learning is evident. Focus on prior results, not titles.
2. Love the Challenges of Problem Solving. Startup leaders have to be relentlessly resourceful in overcoming obstacles & competition. Investors look for “street smarts,” or examples that didn’t come from a school book or a corporate process. When pitching to investors, weave in real-life Stories of your best past creative solutions.
3. Business Credentials & Experience. If your team has a depth of expertise in SW, that won’t help you get funding for a new Hardware solution. Even if your product is a technological marvel, I look for balanced strength on the team in finance, marketing & operations. Fill in your “gaps” with “expert advisors” to make it whole.
4. Decisive. Investors are wary of “equal partners,” who may jeopardize a timely decisions. They want to see decisions based on logic and backed up by emotion, rather than the other way around. They want to hear what you learned from the last economic downturn and the last funding shortfall.
5. Able to Communicate on every level. It starts with: 1) having a Vision 2) the ability to get your message across in your elevator pitch, 3) a written business plan & 3) one-on-one with potential investors. Fundable entrepreneurs have to feel comfortable talking & listening to engineers, financial people, marketing – and especially customers.
6. Confidence & Energy. Investors all know that the startup road is long & hard, so they look for people who have put and will continue to put more “skin in the game” — time, sweat equity, & $$$. They look for passion & optimism – and more importantly – the willingness to listen, learn & get things done
7. Team members have Investor relationships. Investors talk to each other and they love warm introductions to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Investors are usually smart business people who love to be asked for guidance & direction, before they are asked for money. Do your networking with investors well before the funding pitch.
8. When you need help. If you are new to the entrepreneur game, like Google founders Larry Page & Sergey Brin were back in 2001, it pays to bring in a CEO such as Eric Schmidt to find investors, who was well-known to the investment community for his accomplishments at Sun Microsystems & Novell. Now, of course, Page & Brin have that same credibility with their successes at Google.
9. Benefits of a great Team. Ironically, investors see funding opportunities correlated to past successes, rather than future success dependent on funding. Thus, it’s more important to highlight what you have done that demonstrates your team’s potential, rather than talking about how great it will be in the future. Investor focus is on facilitating the scaling of a startup, after you have proven your business model.
10. Dream Team Startups dont just happen — they are the work of a diligent entrepreneur, who understands personal strengths & weaknesses and are not too proud to ask for help and/or offer a chunk of their startup equity in return. Even if you are not looking for external funding, the same team principles apply, since you are your own biggest investor. Build your dream team early.
Comments: Do you have any other ideas on how to build your Dream Team?
from Entrepreneur.com 10 June 16 enhanced by Peter/CXO, Wiz4biz