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Pitch Deck: Where to insert the “about the team” slide?

Photo: @everhooder via Unsplash.com

A pitch deck typically includes from 10 to 20 slides and gives an overview of your company, the project’s business plan and its vision for investors.

Pitch decks are created for various purposes: e.g., to get a meeting with an important investor or to tell about your startup to a wider audience of stakeholders from the stage. The structure of your pitch will be different depending on where and how you present, who you are meeting with and what is the general background.

E.g., a demo day pitch will typically contain attractive visuals and minimum text. Slides must impress and be easily readable by the audience. However, if you are going to send your pitch deck by email, you should work out the figures and meanings well. In this case, you can use charts, calculations and small print – the document must be understandable without your verbal explanations.

Which slides to include in a pitch deck?

There is a generally accepted structure of a pitch deck proposed by Guy Kawasaki, Apple’s marketing icon of the 1980s. Kawasaki is a venture capitalist. I have earlier analyzed his approach to pitching here.

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Startuppers are most often interested in where to place their team slide in the deck. While there is no ready answer, I have selected five of the most renowned projects that have largely become an integral part of our daily lives.
Let’s look at the best of the companies and see how they handled this issue in their original pitch decks.

 

Where to insert the “about the team” slide in the pitch deck?

TESLA

Let’s start with Tesla’s pitch deck. One thing is obviously certain: if your team, mentors and consultants are well-known and well-established industry leaders, it is worth presenting the team members first. Investors will most likely think that such a dream team will be able to handle any project. That’s what Tesla did. Here are the first three slides from their original deck, the rest follow below. In this case, they are presented as an overview since we are interested in the team.

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Airbnb

This deck was shown from the screen in a large hall, so the slides are as simple as possible. However, there is not a word about the team! Despite this, we can see that the company has attracted investments and become a very popular tool for travelers.

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Facebook

The founders of Facebook were more modest than others in the beginning. Mark Zuckerberg’s business partner, Brazilian native Eduardo Saverin, put his photo in the end of the deck and went to raise investments in New York. Facebook’s 2004 pitch deck did not focus on revenue or a business model (in particular, they are experimenting with the one now); rather, the slides of that deck describe user engagement, a large network member base, and the related growth metrics.
Here I publish the final slide with the photo of the project’s author; below is the entire deck as an overview.

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UBER

Uber’s original pitch deck of 2008 looked like this: bullet point lists with scarce pictures. The founders relied on the innovative product; the team slide is also missing in their deck.

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As I often deal with pitch decks, I see that in almost all modern presentations, founders do write about themselves. In a concise, attractive and forthright manner. And I think that this is the way it should be. I suppose that in the original decks I have presented above, we may be unaware of some nuances. E.g., WeWork could be pitching their deck the second time to the already familiar investors, or the founders of Airbnb may have introduced themselves from the stage and, logically, excluded the “about us” slide.

If you are selling a product, it is better to first outline its core advantages and competitiveness, while mention its developers, their experience and strengths in the end of your deck.