It’s common practice for early stage startups to recruit an “advisory board” to expand their capabilities without adding more employees to their team. This is all well and good, but usually in early stage startups, the amount of people in the advisory board outnumber the amount of employees.
If not properly presented, this slide can slow down the flow of a pitch without providing any value.
The “Loaded Team” Slide
Usually founders include a slide in the beginning of their pitch decks describing “The Team.” This makes sense, since in early stage startups, team quality is the most important criteria for investors.
However, given that this slide comes before all the rest, you can begin to lose investor’s attention when you discuss the advisors’ backgrounds in too much depth.
Furthermore, when there are too many advisors, investors may look at this slide with skepticism. If it’s not clear how involved the advisors are, this can look like a weak bandage covering up an incomplete team.
Make it Concrete
Don’t waste too much time talking about your advisory board without context. It’s enough in the team slide to talk about the founding team, and to mention you are “supported by multi-disciplinary advisors that complement your team with XXX domain expertise.”
Beyond mentioning that, in specific slides you can speak about areas that domain experts on your advisory board are helping you with, and you can include their pictures and mention how they are helping you. This makes the flow more concrete and natural.
Another format is to list the “critical success factors” of the business, and then show how the team and advisory board members match up to these. The way VCs look at an advisory board is as a checklist that helps to fill the core team’s gaps, so this format visualizes that.
This may sound picky, but given that your “team” slide is the most important for early stage investors, it’s worthwhile considering how to present your advisory board in an optimal format.
Jonathan Friedman is a partner at LionBird, Israel and Chicago’s most active Digital Health investor, and blogs about the Venture Capital Point of View at VCPOV.com.