The Dream Team
There are plenty of things to consider when looking for startups to invest in, including the technology, the Go-to-Market strategy, the valuation and development so far, and more. But one of the most important thing we – and other investors – are looking at when evaluating a startup for investment, is the team. In this article, we will explore why investors look for a good team when investing, what advantages a well-made team can have for a startup and the ideal makeup of such a team.
Investors know that startups are people-driven organizations. They want to know that their investment is in the hands of a qualified team they can trust. A well-formed, purposefully built team will give the assurance that a startup is prepared for anything and well-equipped to handle the journey ahead. Many things can be changed during the life cycle of a startup; those who will react to the changes and challenges are the team – most times, a small team to begin with – and it’s crucial to have flexible and open-minded people that will be able to handle whatever’s coming their way.
Startups need to be flexible with their products and business strategies so they can adjust to market conditions, to the demands of investors and clients, to potential opportunities and to unexpected challenges. People usually assume that previous entrepreneurial experience is the highest predictor of success for a startup, but a recent study by the Harvard Business Review shows that knowledge, skills, and passion are equally important to success. These factors should all come into play when a startup is assembling its A-Team.
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to building your team, but ideally, a team should have representatives for each of the following categories:
The Executive: Captain of the Ship
The conductor, the person in charge of looking at the bigger picture. They are an integral part of a startup’s life and help keep stock of the progress and direction by setting achievable short-term and long-term goals. They lookout for the interests of investors, employees, and customers. A good Executive figure will help reduce risk by knowing how to ask the hard questions. They are personally invested in the growth of the company, the “captain” of the ship that will sink or swim along with it. If you’re leading a company, we want to see the spark in your eyes and your commitment to your company and team; while we will never invest in “one-man shows”, we want to see a good leader in the front seat.
The Techie: Turning Dreams into Reality
The beating heart of every startup is its technology. CTO’s (or VP R&D’s, or whoever is head of your tech) take dreams and turn them into reality. They bring their technical skills and market savviness to the table. They must be passionate, innovative, problem solvers with a willingness to never stop learning. The head of tech in a startup must be flexible enough to evolve the product in accordance with business and industry requirements. A successful CEO/CTO duo with a visible chemistry and support system is something we love seeing, and raises the potential for investment on our end.
The Spokesperson: Selling your vision
Every startup needs someone with the ability to attract investors, clients, and yes- quality team members; while early-stage startups will usually give these responsibilities to the CEO, hiring someone in charge of marketing at a later stage is a must. Someone resilient, who can project confidence in your product and spread that confidence to others. This person may be running sales, fundraising, and negotiating all at once. The person handling these aspects of the company needs to be resourceful, a people person, with a powerful understanding of the product being sold.
The Advisor: An Objective point of view
When starting a company, you want access to the best minds you can find. An Advisory Board allows you to expand your access to knowledge. This includes people with vast experience, industry veterans, that can share from their experience and past. This subject can be technological knowledge, entrepreneurial experience, industry or academic expertise and much more. Since the Advisory Board is not directly involved in the startup, they can give you an objective, macro perspective. Advisors add an extra layer of credibility for investors, assuring them that someone else is watching over their investment.
Does the above description match your team? Let us know and apply for an investment!
Samurai Incubate invests in bold startups that are trying to improve, inspire and impact our lives. We are dedicated to taking ventures from the very basic stages to greater heights, and to later connect them to the Japanese market. We are looking for early stage startup with B2B enterprise solutions in the specific following verticals (focusing on software technologies): healthcare, construction, logistics, blockchain, clean-tech, fintech, insure-tech, MaaS, Retail, Sensor-tech. We provide Pre-seed investments of up to 500K USD and we are able to join rounds.
Think it’s a match? Apply here!