Andrey Sergeenkov


9 Keys for ICO Team Evaluation

When you consider an ICO startup for investment, one of the crucial elements to research is a project team. ICO investor’s risks are not only those of getting into a fraudulent venture, but also a chance that the project will never become workable and popular, and you end up with nothing but trash tokens.

Make a thorough examination of the team members, and even in case you are happy with the rest of the project, but have strong doubts regarding its team, I wouldn’t recommend you to invest in that project.

These two questions have to be answered when you get your investigation finished:

1. Do the team members really exist?

2. Are they qualified enough to reach the project goals?

1. Find them on social media

It’s important for the landing page team board section to have links to the members’ accounts on the different social media, LinkedIn being the preferred one. Visit their pages, read their posts, check the number of connections, personal photos and career. Do the profiles look real?

Many startups offering different kinds of KYC services in crypto industry are appearing nowadays, but stable leaders group is yet to evolve.

2. Google their photos

Download the personal photos of the team members and run Google image search. There is a common practice used by fraudsters to create false team member identities with attractive photos fetched from the Google or image banks. While evaluating ICO projects for my customers, I regularly finish my job prematurely at this very point.

3. Connect to the team directly

For your questions regarding ICO project I don’t recommend to use common channels like Bitcointalk official threads or Telegram chats, as those platforms are mostly operated by community managers giving more or less standard vague answers which are prepared in advance. Better reach out to a project team member who is in charge of the particular topic. Thus you’ll get more detailed answer as well as check how decent they are.

By the way, before investing large amounts into any project I highly recommend you spend some time to call its executives even just for a short chat. Really helps to eliminate many doubts and misunderstandings.

4. Note the size of the team

Now and then I come across projects raising tens and hundreds of millions while their staff consists of some five persons: two or three chief officers and a couple of technical specialists, and that’s it! I would recommend investing in such projects very carefully.

Even suggesting those people are incredibly gifted and their idea is brilliant, they just won’t be capable to create a viable and successful project. What they need is a lot of staff: market specialists, PR managers, designers, legal advisors, accountants, community managers, analysts, project managers etc.

Small teams may be acceptable, but only for small budget projects.

5. How does the team cooperate?

Recognize the way the team members interact with their peers and how are they physically distributed. If those people are located in different cities and collaborate remotely, chances are that project will encounter communication problems. The more team members work from the same city or office, the higher probability of success during and after the ICO.

Modern technologies have made remote work possible, albeit big projects tend to collect a backlog of tasks and issues which are difficult to administer in this mode.

It boils up to the situation when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. This leads to strategic faults and results in direct damage to startup’s wealth.

6. Does the project team include specific experts?

It’s critical for a specific niche startup team to have a dedicated specialist on board. For instance a deep sea research project should involve a marine scientist, and crypto exchange must have its own crypto traders. Every niche have its specific risks, and if the team is not aware of them, the project will risk facing unexpected hurdles and eventual failing.

7. Don’t care much about Advisors

In most cases those specialists just get paid for being shown on the project page. That’s all. The amount they get depends on significance and impudence of every particular Advisor. Some gains one thousand dollars, another one gets a hundred thousand plus profit share.

Normally they don’t take any part in the project, their assistance being limited by permission to use their photo on the project landing page. Moreover, there is a growing number of fake advisors who falsify their experience to sell it to ICO projects. As you can imagine, the help they provide is as substantial as their background.

Nevertheless, rare exceptions still exist, and some skillful Advisors may be fully involved and give a real boost to the project. I’m currently conducting an investigation of ICO Advisors market and will publish the results of this investigation in the next few weeks.

8. Experience in crypto industry

Project leaders, technical experts as well as marketing specialists should demonstrate proven experience in crypto area. The rules in this field are significantly different, and even acknowledged professionals from the traditional economy need some time to get used to it.

9. International team is a good sign

Many new projects arise in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. In these regions people rarely speak fluent English and this may affect international communication, so it’s important for these projects to have native English speakers as part of the team. This is mostly applies to the marketing specialists, community managers, as well as for those who are responsible for project’s public relations and relations with investors.

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