Let Me Introduce Myself

I am a big believer in VC pitches that the bio slide should come up front. Actually, I think the advice in this post applies to any sales meeting also.

The short answer is that by knowing the key members of the management team the VC firm can quickly identify strengths on your time and know whether you have some competitive advantage in your chose field relative to other people with whom you will compete.

This is especially important since I believe that 70% of the decision of many VCs are based on the potential of the management team in one way, shape or form. I know it’s incredibly important to me in my investment decisions.

I wanted to write a quick post on a pet peeve that I have when teams present “who they are” whether in a bio slide or just in the up front introductions.

What occasionally happens is the CEO introduces his team giving a brief overview of who everybody is. I hate this. I want to hear everybody speak – to get to know the team. What purpose could there be to having the CEO talk on behalf of everybody?

You might say, “it’s streamlined, we don’t want the intro to take too long.” That’s an excuse. If you really believe that then just have your team practice their personal intro’s and tell them the time budget they have to hit.

Why is it a pet peeve?

For starters I think that if you bring people to the meeting with you they should all have a role in the presentation. No “bag carriers.” If they already have a limited role relative to the CEO then why would you kill an obvious place where they actually CAN be heard (but by the way, I think best practice is to assign pages to key execs in advance and know who will do which pages).

The second reason I don’t like it is that it is usually a sign of a domineering CEO, which I never like. Great CEOs can attract and retain great talent. This appears to be the case with Dave Morin who is apparently doing a great job at retaining his key talent in difficult times. When I see a CEO who takes 90% of the minutes of a meeting I assume that as a leader that person probably doesn’t listen to others opinions as much as they should. Either that or he/she don’t trust his/her colleagues.

I’ve run into the problem myself. We traveled the country last year meeting with people who invest in VC funds to get to know them better. Occasionally one of my partners would intro me because I’m the newest parter at the fund (at just under 5 years, they have been at GRP Partners 8-15 years). I would always jump in early into their intro and politely break in to introduce myself.

I don’t like being framed by others.

Let me introduce myself!

Let your team introduce themselves.

Image courtesy of Fotolia

(Cross-posted @ Both Sides of the Table)

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2x startup Founder & CEO who has gone to the Dark Side of VC. His first company, BuildOnline was sold in 2005, his second, Koral was acquired by Salesforce.com and became known as Salesforce Content, while Mark served as VP Product Management. In 2007 Mark joined GRP Partners in 2007 as a General Partner.  He focuses on early-stage technology companies, usually looking at Series A investment, and blogs at the aptly titled Both Sides of the Table.