Build a team first or get funded?

Sarki Amada Serial CEO & CoFounder

August 28th, 2019

I'm thinking of outsourcing or building my team. I don't think investors will like the idea of outsourcing as they would prefer team you already have (which I don't). I have read some articles which talked about getting funded to build a team and MVP.

So, if investors require you to have a team, and you need money to build/hire a team.

1. How do I get funds to build a team and MVP?

2. I already have pitch deck ready, but the pitch deck lacks co-founders, advisers, CFO, CMO, COO. Would I be able to get funded without a co-founder, advisers, or a team?

I attached my pitch deck below, should I just send the pitch deck to random VCs i came across online?

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

August 29th, 2019

So many places to start, so little time.

1) Investors seek the 3 Ts - team, technology, and traction. If you cannot build a team before you meet them, they do not want to fund you experimenting with their investment to try it after. If you do not have an MVP, you are really at the self-funding stage.

2) Pitch-decks are slideware if there is no underlying technology. You will not only not get funded without co-founders, advisors, etc., you will not get funding without an MVP. Given where you are geographically, with the concentration of tech companies, not having a team actually makes it worse.

3) I did not look at your deck but am taking time to respond. Assume I am being generous where a "random VC" will just delete the email. Emailing random VCs will never work. Ever. If you do not match to their space, stage, and traction, they will not have any interest and worse, shotgunning will give you a reputation, and not a good one. Even if you did find a perfect VC in the space, without an MVP and a team (and likely traction) they will not respond. You will be no more successful in getting investors this way than if you randomly emailed people wanting to be their friend or mate.

Ricardo Miguel Hubspot Inbound & Content Marketing Certified Consultant, 9 times Best Amateur Musician Award Winner

August 28th, 2019

Hi Sarki,

In your pitch deck it says that you're a software engineer. So my biggest advice is to pitch people that you know that could fill the other roles that you need.

Find 2 more people that believe in your idea and partner up. If you can't convince anyone to join in than you have zero chances of getting any vc investment.

That should solve your need for funds for an MVP. Once you have an MVP apply for acceleration programs. There are a ton out there. If you're accepted you can get between $5k to $150k in funding.

Hope this helps.



Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

August 29th, 2019

@Dane is correct on the impression you will make with your idea at the stage you've reached, which is still the idea phase. Ideas don't get funded. Plans get funded. A pitch deck is a waste of time until you have a vetted plan in place, because the minute someone goes from your pitch to wanting more detail, it'll crash and burn.

It's not even about building a team yet. You need to do your fundamental research to list and test each of your assumptions, devise and test a marketing strategy, and find your product-market fit. Without having done the fundamental research, you're throwing spaghetti to see what will stick. And without contributing funds of your own, you're asking someone else to take 100% of the risk, which will never happen.

When building a company, I usually tell each entrepreneur to only use other people's money as a last resort. Anything you can think of to start your enterprise without outside funds will put you in the best mindset, the one that focuses on how you're going to generate revenue TODAY. When you feel that pressure and aren't playing with someone else's money, you make better, more well-considered decisions, are more efficient, and care more about avoiding mistakes. When you have no one else to lean on for funds, you treat each dollar with a higher value, thinking about how to most effectively use it when options exist.

Frankly, the pitch deck you shared uses completely ridiculous numbers and any VC who gives it 15 seconds is going to throw it away in disgust. It demonstrates no connection to reality and a complete lack of understanding of how commerce in the world operates, anywhere. I would blacklist you forever if you sent me this garbage as a potential investor. Do not send that thing or show it to anyone!

You don't need a team right now. You need basic research. Any amount of research would show you just how far off-base you are with your assumptions. Maybe you need a coach, someone who can walk you through the disciplined steps of writing a business plan. You aren't a serial CEO. CEO's understand business basics, of which this pitch deck demonstrates a complete lack.

Since you're in Virginia, sign up with and get a (free) advisor to get you on-track and narrow down your "big" idea to something real.

Sarki Amada Serial CEO & CoFounder

Last updated on August 29th, 2019

@Paul Garcia Thanks for your feedback.

Though I have researched thoroughly, and spent money on the report by Digi-Capital, and feasibility of the project, I also have a business plan ready. I blur out most of the pitch deck just to keep it private not that I intend to send or use a pitch deck that is blurred out, that would be ridiculous.

Though on the case of ideas don't get funded I would like to point out that isn't entirely true, as it only depends on how viable and how well you communicated the idea to an individual. As most at times Family Friends and Fools (FFF) invest in ideas or just to support you. Though VCs often invest in plans and MVP, there're few VCs that invest in ideas when they grasp the concept and how profitable the idea is.

As for the serial CEO, I have co-founded companies, and startup my company, though have never requested money. So i'm basically new to fundraising especially pitching.

Regarding the numbers, actually the numbers are underestimated, because we intend to deploy the new modern ad strategy, which can get us more than the million users projector in the Pitch deck. Though I have to admit, the retail part wouldn't see that sudden increase as it's not yet user friendly for the retailers. It might take time, but hopeful to pass that 200k projected in the pitch deck.

Thanks again for suggesting to join, never heard of it before. I have already signed up with, thanks to you.

@Dane Madsen Thanks for your feedback, my problem now is to find a team. I would be i search of team members,,, as that is one of the reason I join CoFoundersLab Thanks once again for your feedback.

@Ricardo Miguel Thanks for your feedback, I will keep on searching CoFoundersLab to build my team.

@Nishant Shah I believe finding people that would work based on equity, would be ideal for this project. Thanks for the feedback

Nishant Shah Product coach & Technology mentor

August 29th, 2019

If you don't have funds with you to hire right people for your team. Then try to find people who can work with you for equity.

I strongly believe no MVP is an MVP if it can not be built in 1 month. Look in to your internal network who can join you'll-time or part-time and help you build an MVP. Don't focus on CFO, CMO,COO now, just work on getting technical co-founder & advisor on board to build MVP.