We tend to admire a single person. But this is wrong. No one ever achieves anything BIG without a team. Learn here how to find a startup co-founder.
It’s life or death decision.
It’s commonly believed to be an entrepreneur’s worst mistake.
Guess what it is?
It’s certainly not building a product.
It’s certainly not competition.
No entrepreneur has ever failed his attempt because of competing products and a highly competitive market because there is always a niche to find and settle in.
Here is the deal:
An entrepreneur’s worst mistake is to CHOOSE THE WRONG CO-FOUNDER and BUSINESS PARTNER.
It’s not a lack of revenue, nor is it inadequate funding. It’s co-founders clashing and tearing apart the business. In fact, 62% of startups fail due to co-founder conflict.
Why do co-founders feud? Equity among other things. Few co-founders know how to properly and equitably share it, and that leads to continued, calamitous conflict.
Splitting equity shouldn’t tear your business apart.
We must be extremely critical about whom we start our startups or businesses with.
Picking a co-founder is your most important decision. It’s more important than your product, market, and investors.
Hence, find the right co-founder and business partner to increase your chances of success.
BUT be aware that finding the right co-founder is hard.
You will be together for many years. It’s like finding your future wife — similar to getting married. Hence, choose wisely and take your time.
I rushed too quickly in my first startup engagement without questioning our team’s underlying values, beliefs, and motivation.
Let’s find out what experts think about choosing co-founders and which six question help you to choose and decide for a co-founder.
How to Find a Startup Co-Founder? Learn what startup experts say.
When you begin with your efforts to start a startup, you might notice that finding a co-founder is not easy. Well, welcome to the startup world, nothing’s easy!
But let’s skip that: You’re really at a crucial step which will later lead to survival or death of your startup. Let’s have a brief look at what experts recommend on how to choose a co-founder and how they would answer your potential questions …
Naval Ravikant, Co-Founder AngelList: How to pick a co-founder
- The power of two
- Someone you have history with
- One builds, one sells
- Aligned motives required
- Criteria: Intelligence, energy, and integrity
- Don’t settle (too early)
- Pick “nice” guys
- Learn enough about the other side
- Breakups are hard
Also, listen to their 40-minute interview to explain how to pick co-founders in detail, and describe not only what to do, but how and why to do it.
Guy Kawasaki: How to find a co-founder
- What co-founders should share
- Company Size
- How co-founders should differ
- Words of wisdom
- Don’t rush
- Do not add founders to enhance fundability
- Assume the best, but plan for the worst
- Don’t do a startup without a co-founder.
- Find a co-founder.
- It’s less about choosing, but more about working hard to maintain the right, healthy and working relationship.
- Prepare for an emotional roller-coaster: ups and downs are more extreme than you can imagine.
- Persistence is more important than intelligence.
- Co-founders Are Key, And You Better Like Them.
- Figuring out the right founding team starts with listing the critical activities to make the startup successful in the first year or so
- Founder, Founding team, Founding CEO all have word “founder” in them but have different roles.
Let the startup experts questions you might have
Why do I need a co-founder?
Not having a cofounder is a real problem. A startup is too much for one person to bear. If you don’t have a cofounder, what should you do? Get one. — Paul Graham
If you want to improve your chances, you should think far more about who you can recruit as a cofounder than the state of the economy. And if you’re worried about threats to the survival of your company, don’t look for them in the news. Look in the mirror. — Paul Graham
What’s wrong with having one founder? To start with, it’s a vote of no confidence. It probably means the founder couldn’t talk any of his friends into starting the company with him. That’s pretty alarming, because his friends are the ones who know him best. — Paul Graham
The low points in a startup are so low that few could bear them alone. When you have multiple founders, esprit de corps binds them together in a way that seems to violate conservation laws. Each thinks “I can’t let my friends down.” This is one of the most powerful forces in human nature, and it’s missing when there’s just one founder. — Paul Graham
—Bottom line: Don’t start a startup alone!
Can I start a tech startup even though I can’t code?
Could you succeed with a group of restaurateurs that doesn’t know how to cook or appreciate food? Maybe. You might get lucky and hire a great chef later. But it would sure help if you’d been a cook at one point, or had experience running a restaurant. — Steve Blank
That’s actually much harder than it sounds—almost impossibly hard in fact—because business guys can’t tell which are the good programmers. They don’t even get a shot at the best ones, because no one really good wants a job implementing the vision of a business guy. — Paul Graham
The next logical topic is what entrepreneurs should do when they have an idea but don’t have any software engineers to help with a minimum viable product (assuming market demand has already been confirmed with eager prospects ready to sign up). — David Cummings
Developers want to work with people who complement their skillset. You should be thinking product management, design, sales / biz dev / marketing or something totally unique to what makes you a dynamic duo. — John B. Petersen, CEO of Firehawk Creative
—Bottom line: The founding team should wear every hat. To found a tech startup with an entirely non-technical team would be like opening a restaurant without a chef.
If I am a business guy, why shall I take a tech co-founder and not my lawyer friend?
Because you are building a tech startup and don’t want to outsource product development.
See the question part above.
Why should I care NOW which co-founder/partner to choose?
I’d say a third to a half of startups melt down over team dynamics before they ever get funded. — Steve Blank
Don’t rush. Founders may have to work together for decades, so add them like you would pick a spouse — assuming you’re not a serial divorcee. — Guy Kawasaki
Be Careful with co-founders. But I would rather co-found a startup with a friend than a stranger with higher output. Startups are so hard and emotional that the bonds and emotional and social support that come with friendship outweigh the extra output lost. — Paul Graham
—Bottom line: Committing to something always seems much easier than quitting. Take your time. Choose wisely.
Who is the ideal co-founder?
The best-trained founder would be someone from a dysfunctional family who has served as an army platoon leader. — Steve Blank
The most successful startup founders master most of the 12 trades (e.g. integrity, attention to detail, tenacity, street smarts, resilience) I am looking for. — Marc Suster, Entrepreneur DNA
—Bottom line: The perfect co-founder is comfortable with doing things that are unnatural — it’s convincing customers to buy an unfinished, buggy product, or enticing venture capitalists to part with money on nothing more than a slide deck.
What expertise does my co-founder need?
Read StartupGeist on three roles early-stage startups must fill.
Seed-stage investors don’t like top-heavy company’s: CEO, COO, CXO, CYO, VP of X, Y, and Z. It’s almost an immediate pass. No sophisticated investor is impressed by titles in an early stage startup. — Naval Ravikant
And be aware of “the myth of the startup COO” (hint: no COO needed.)
—Bottom line: Aim for complementing strengths and talents and equal values, beliefs, goals, and vision!
What MUST you DO to protect you and your co-founders?
Founding teams blow up all the time. Your startup may be the exception, but just in case, make everyone (including yourself) vest his stock over time. — Guy Kawasaki
Every team member of AngelList is on a 6-year vesting schedule. Including the founders. Why? Because it takes a long time to build something important. And we want everyone to stick around for a long time. — Naval Ravikant, 6-year vesting
—Bottom line: Protect yourself and the startup for the worth case and establish a vesting plan.
Even though these startup experts are around founders and their teams daily, I can’t relate to it. Can’t you share stories from startup founders themselves?
Sure! Here you go…
- The Yin and Yang of a great co-founder relationship
- The Dark Side of Startups: 5 Corrosive Co-Founder Conflicts
- Co-Founder Breakups: Startup Lessons Learned
- FounderDating: How I Found My Co-Founder
- The Year in Co-Founder Breakups, From Tinder to Rap Genius
The hard part of finding a great co-founder is that you want to sufficiently complement each other, but at the same time it’s vital to agree on fundamental values and what you want to do with the company. If one of you wants to flip the company within a couple of years and the other wants to make it their life’s work, it’s going to be difficult to agree on key decisions. — Joel Gascoigne
—Bottom line: All startup founders agree on ONE thing: Finding the right co-founder is the most critical decision at the beginning of your journey.
Culture fit is the most important thing
It might not sound important, but I wanted to stress a few facts regardless before I outline the ‘where’ to find and ‘how’ to convince someone to be your the co-founder of your startup:
#1: People always fit.
Especially when stakes are as high as in a startup. Better choose the right people to have conflicts with, right?
#2: You should have constructive conflicts.
Constructive ones to improve on whatever needs to be improved. BUT you shouldn’t have deconstructive conflicts that destroy the morality, self-esteem or well-being of your co-founders in particular and your team in general.
There is a fine line between constructive and destructive conflicts. Accept that you will cross it from time to time. It’s important to admit it and come back and say ‘sorry’. Don’t let your ego stand in the way of saying sorry.
The ‘art of saying sorry’ is based on your ability to surrender and be vulnerable because both things empower you and show absolute strength!
#3: If you don’t have shared values, your relationship won’t work out! Hence, don’t take people on board who do not fit into your startup’s culture!
This relates to a general rule for hiring in startups which has been emphasized by many of the most experienced founders:
In practice, that means that you should check if the person has the same outlooks and values like you. Yes, that’s even more important than the skills, money and network that he or she brings in! Let’s hear…
Elad Gil — serial entrepreneur and influential blogger — thinks that you should ‘never, ever compromise’ on culture fit:
Every single founder I know who has compromised on culture fit has regretted it due to the disruptions it has caused their company (having to fire the bad fits, creating a crappy work environment, good people quitting, trust eroding between coworkers, product moving in the wrong direction, bad actors building power bases, misaligned incentives emerging in the organization, etc.)
And now imagine that you didn’t misplace an employee, but your co-founder! This is the source of all troubles! Good luck with trying to move that startup in the right direction …doomed to #fail.
#4: Your partner in crime should be as passionate and committed. You are the role models.
Yeah, good ol’ passion again. I’m saying that so often that I’m feeling like a prayer wheel right now. But it is so important that it must be repeated.*
Even if I face puking, I will repeat it religiously! At a fast-growth startup, going the extra mile will be the rule and not the exception. Therefore, you need people who are willing to do it.
This is even more true for founders than it is for employees.
You will be role models for the people working for your startup. You will put a brick in the startup culture wall with every action you do and decision you make. You need to be the men standing when the ship is sinking. You will receive much higher equity shares than the guys who work for you, so they will expect to see you working even harder than they do.
You and your co-founders will be the guys with the most power in your startup (besides your board of investors in case you are able to raise venture capital), but with ‘great power comes great responsibility’… Yes, that’s a Spiderman Quote …
That’s why you should only pick a co-founder who is as passionate as you are about your startup’s vision, a particular technological trend or business model. They must be equally committed to doing what it takes. If no one stands anymore, he/she must be next to you having your back. As much as you have theirs!
If you want, you can only see this as one aspect of culture fit. You are willing to work hard. You are ready to dedicate your life to that startup. How will you feel if you have to drag along freeriding slackers who get just as much equity as you do? Probably like this.
If you’re not passionate or committed yourself, don’t start a startup.
—Bottom line: Organizational debt builds as easy as technical debt. It always starts with co-founders doubting each other. Hence, always align in values and be equally committed to your startup’s vision, but have different skills that complement each other. Trust can scale.
Preparation that will help to convince someone
You will initially have to think of something unique to win them for your project. Your hock. Your special ingredient. Why would someone otherwise spend time with you in the first place or later join you?
Keep four options in mind to convince your future wife … ah … co-founder.
#1: Become great in your area of expertise
To get the best people to work with you is to become one of the best people yourself.
Become excellent at something.
#2: If you have trouble finding a technical co-founder: Get traction!
Traction is the best way to convince someone that they will be working on something valuable.
Use mockups (for instance built with the likes of Balsamiq or InVision) to draft your concept and create a first test dummy without knowing how to code. Use it to pitch developers and convince them about your initial idea.
It won’t be the same as a working prototype, but it will allow you to give potential partners a clearer idea of what you’re planning. It can also be used for customer development — similarly important than finding a co-founder.
First, give, then get. Simple rule.
#3: Do lots of Customer Development
The better you can demonstrate that your problem is worthwhile solving, the more likely it is others will want to join you! Many people will only commit themselves to a project if they see some potential, validation and cause/mission.
It’s very likely that many people you talk to won’t get it at the beginning. As Paul Graham notes:
Many bad ideas sound convincing until you actually realize them! You better come up with some solid proof.
An excellent way to prove that your problem is worthwhile solving is to do lots of Customer Development. You will need to do this anyway, so why not start before you have assembled your first team?
The sooner you check if there actually are customers out there for the product you want to build, the better! To find out how customer development works, you can take a look at my customer development guide.
#4: Learn the basics of the skills you’re searching for yourself
This is advice that’s mostly been given to people who are searching for tech co-founders. However, I do not see why it should not apply to everyone!
If you learn the core competencies that you are searching for, you will be able to get the respect and trust of potential candidates much more easily.
It will also allow you to sort out the worst charlatans. Keep in mind what Naval Ravikant notes:
Business founders who don’t code use bad proxies for picking technical co-founders (“10 years with Java!”). Technical founders who don’t sell also use bad proxies (“Harvard MBA!”). Learn enough of the other side to have an informed opinion.
Furthermore, learning about the other side will make your work more efficient because you will be able to communicate much clearer about the things your counterpart is doing. It will also allow you to value the work of your counterpart appropriately which might prevent one or two marital crises.
—For example: If you are a business guy who is looking for a technical co-founder, you should gain necessary coding skills. Use, for example, Codecademy. So that you will have at least some idea of what your vis-à-vis is talking about! If you’re doing well, you even might be able to build a mockup or prototype of your product that will give you respect and authority ultimately working as a pitch amplifier for your cofounder and customer search.
Where to look for a potential co-founder
If you don’t think about how to find a cofounder until you need one, it will probably be too late.
Let me stress a major point: You should never be searching for a co-founder outside your network! Hence, continuously build your network and work on exciting side projects with different people to get to know them better.
Never find and commit to a co-founder over a weekend’s time, like a hackathon at Startup Weekend.
If you want to create a high-growth startup, you will need to have the best people on board. However, these guys are rare and have tons of opportunities at their hand!
If you don’t have a cofounder, what should you do? Get one. It’s more important than anything else. If there’s no one where you live who wants to start a startup with you, move where there are people who do. If no one wants to work with you on your current idea, switch to an idea people want to work on.
—Side note: When I started my first startup — Spotistic — I searched online for co-founding positions in Berlin focusing on Sales and Marketing. Soon after, I met with two young French engineers who had already been accepted into Startupbootcamp, a global accelerator program also based in Berlin.
We agreed to use the ‘stressy’ three month program to get to know each other. In retrospective, it was good to allow 3 months of getting to know one another time. But it was bad not to clearly define roles and responsibilities prospectively and identify our goals and values. Wrong expectations led me to leave the team. Read my 10 Insights into Starting My First Startup (hint: Avoid mistake no. 4 at all cost).
Even if you are not searching for a co-founder right now, get engaged, reach out to people and prepare. You will see: finding the right co-founder for your startup can be as tricky and challenging (if not even more difficult) than finding your future wife.
Don’t underestimate the time it takes you to find and choose the right co-founder.
Below are four options where you can start to look for people to engage with…
#1: Meetups and other events to build a network
Attend meetups or other startup events. There’s an increasing number of tech, art and startup meetups in most cities that have a real startup ecosystem. So get out of the building and talk to actual people!
Don’t hide behind the screen!
Making new contacts at startup events is also a great opportunity because they can act as multipliers if they’re not fit to be your partners: ask them right away if they know someone who would be suitable for the role you’re trying to fill!
Some events are even focused on bringing people together to start businesses. For example, save the date for the Startup Weekend in your city or travel to a city where it’s hosted. Such events are cheap & fun, so just give it a try!
#2: Use your Network.
If you want to start a startup, you should have a decent network of people who can help you with different issues (design, product, sales, marketing, law, ….).
So why not activate that now and see if there is a guy who knows a guy?
Just get a clear picture about what type of person with what kind of skills you’re looking for, and then ask your contacts if they can recommend someone.
It’s easier said than done. Up until this point I never really knew what I was looking for. My solution? Trial and error until I found a match.
#3: Online engagement
If someone is really into a topic, it is very likely that he or she is a member of some relevant (social media) group or forum. Post requests there and builds relationships.
Check out the local Facebook groups which are focussing on startups and the skills you are searching for (for example, “Seattle Developers”). Do the same with LinkedIn.
BUT never forget to meet in person. It sounds redundant but believe it or not; I have seen teams that committed to work on an idea without meeting in the first place. Please don’t do that for your sanity and health later on!
#4: Online Platforms
Did you know that there are lots of online platforms which are focused on bringing co-founders together? If you haven’t found someone in your immediate environment, you might also give them a shot.
I do have sincere concerns about this approach but didn’t not want to mention these options.
Pitching Your Idea to a Potential Co-Founder
At some point, you will need to convince the guy you found.
Be picky and take your time. And be aware: others will be picky too. Smart people have numerous opportunities at their hands!
Here are two tips to convince someone:
#1: Be very open about yourself and your plans
You will have to spend an incredible amount of time with your co-founders, and you will need to go through good and bad times until the successful exit or death of your startup — like in a marriage.
AND it’s never a good idea to build a marriage on lies and secrets. So don’t think that it will work out if you do it when starting a startup.
Hence, be radically honest and open towards potential co-founders you’re talking to. Tell them what your goals, your motives and your expectations are.
Don’t be secretive about the problem you want to solve because you’re afraid that it can be stolen. Really, only noobs do that. Getting good feedback and enthusing people for what you’re doing brings you farther. It will also give people a clearer image of your project!
You are selling yourself and your idea. So, open up about why 1) you would be awesome to work with, 2) this is a kick ass idea, and 3) the two of you would be great together! Being cagey or thinking someone is going to steal your idea gets you nowhere. You need to build a foundation of trust for the relationship to work.
#2: Focus on building a relationship first before nailing the idea
Have I already told you that the relationship between you and your co-founder will be close to a marriage? #puke — I know but it’s reality.
That’s why it’s important to focus on the relationship first, and idea second.
Firstly, don’t partner up with people you don’t like on a personal level, even if they have great potential. If you even can’t stand them at this point, your trip will be like hell if awful times will bring out the worst of them.
Secondly, trust your intuition — inner compass for making decisions. If you somehow feel doubtful about that person you want to work with, don’t do it! If someone appears smart and salesly, and you don’t like this attitude, stay away. Even if you admire their ability to show off because you typically hide behind the screen. Being honest with yourself at this point is crucial if you want to build up a great company. Trusting your intuition should be a big part of it.
Thirdly, spend lots of time with the person before you decide. You would probably never marry a stranger you had only met for one hour, so why would you start a company with one? Take all the time you need to find out if you like the person and if you share the same values.
Use the following six questions as a guideline to choose the right co-founder for your project that hopefully turns into a startup.
Six critical questions to choose the right co-founder
Choosing the right co-founder is as much a personal — often gut-driven decision — as it is based on hard facts, expertise and domain knowledge. Learn more about the three potential roles at early-stage startups here.
Based on my experiences — splitting up with my co-founders at my first startup — here are six questions that will help you evaluate and choose the right people to work with:
#1 Question: Do you share the same values, but different strengths and backgrounds?
My context: People tend to think that startups don’t need clear roles and processes because their world is so fast-moving, agile and dynamic. Not having clear responsibilities and roles is an error!
Each of you has to understand what you’re putting your head on the line for. The others will only build trust if they can rely on you delivering what you promised to deliver.
It’s a fallacy that your team is most effective if you are all equal, and no one reports to anyone. Stop dreaming about the “be your own boss”-image that is supposed to make everyone free and happy.
The success of your startup depends on your ability to take different roles and develop responsibility accordingly. A founding team must have clear responsibilities based on clear roles.
—Bottom line: In my next startup I will set roles and responsibilities from day one.
#2 Question: Do you have to use a second language for communication?
You have to understand your customers, your market, competing products, and services. Did I mention that everything you face is extremely uncertain?
You don’t know what you’re doing.
Therefore, you look for a space in your team. You exchange perspectives. You discuss — even heavily (hopefully) from time to time. Just imagine having this kind of discussion in a foreign language.
Languages, cultures, and traditions imply a lot. Unspoken expectations can lead to founder conflicts.
—Bottom line: In my next startup I will avoid different languages and cultures unless I know the person for years.
#3 Question: Have you identified shared goals and shared your expectations?
My context: You need to make sure that without doubt you understand your drive, your passion and motivation. Why are you starting a startup? What is the driving force behind?
The better you understand this, the more likely you are to find the right co-founder.
Do you figure out why your co-founders are joining you? Do they want to build a startup and make a dent in the universe as well? Or build a lifestyle business uninterested in ever raising venture capital but slowly, organically growing? Do they want to sell the startup after 5 years?
You are better off finding your personal goals and sharing them with your team. Then, finding common ground.
When I started my first startup, I didn’t think about all this. I only wanted to found something. Finally making the leap, I was so proud of myself. After years of thinking about it, I finally made the first step. But it didn’t take long to realize that this was not enough to keep me motivated every day.
I wasn’t aligned with my goals, passion, and team. Hence, I quit.
—Bottom line: Make an effort in life to identify your ambitions, motivation, and goals. Share them with your (potential) co-founders and find common ground. Be aware that your goals and expectations can change too – as you gain more perspective on startup life. Keep continuously checking in with your co-founders and be sensible about changes in their lives (as in yours!).
#4 Question: Are you and your co-founders genuinely driven by a customer’s problem?
My context: You have to love your customers and their problem. Build solutions for them.
Make something people want. — Y Combinator mantra
That’s why startup experts advise would-be and first-time startup founders to build stuff for themselves. Be your best customer. In this way, you avoid creating what nobody wants, because at least one person wants the result — you!
Scratch your own itch. — 37 Signals
Tim Ferriss, productivity and lifestyle guru, is known to mitigate risk by working on projects — that even if they fail he can learn a lot from.
Steve Jobs gave one of the best advice during his famous Stanford speech “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”.
I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
—Bottom line: Three things. Firstly, the best way to successfully build a startup is to make stuff for yourself. Secondly, look into the mirror. Be present. Don’t think. Feel. If you get ‘No’ too often, you might have to admit that you’re at the wrong ‘place’. Thirdly, also make sure this won’t happen to anyone in your founding team. Help them discover their truths to protect your startup.
#5 Question: Are you authentic or do you have to pretend to be ‘someone’?
My context: Pretending to be someone you are not, it’s lying, makes you unhappy and deliver bad results. Hence, don’t pretend. Be authentic.
Be yourself! Everyone else is taken. — Oscar Wilde
Always work with people who appreciate who you are, what you are good at and accept your flaws as well. Don’t dissimulate anything.
It takes strength to be vulnerable, to admit mistakes and wrong argumentations. Don’t let your ego stand in your way. Accept all this. Everyone is wrong. I am wrong all the time. Maybe even writing these lines make me appear wrong for some and not for others.
It doesn’t matter. We can’t make everyone happy. It’s not our job. As long as we find the few that appreciate, accept and love us for who we are — that’s enough!
—Bottom line: Value the strengths and weaknesses of your co-founders. Help each other to translate personal weaknesses into a balanced team that significantly executes and delivers outstanding results. If you manage to do that, you will build deep trust and ultimately succeed.
#6 Question: Do you have rivalries in your team?
My context: If you don’t grant your co-founder his or her role or position, your team will fail.
Your startup journey is hard enough.
Avoid internal conflicts. They just cost a lot of energy. And you don’t want to lose your precious energy. If you discover that you want to be CEO or think you could be doing a better job being the CEO, think twice — for mainly two reasons.
Firstly, it’s just the title. Are you selfish? Do you want to be in the spotlight? Is this startup about you and solving your little kid’s issues? Or are you solving a customer’s problem? Understand that you can’t be less important when it comes to your customers.
Customer’s don’t care how awesome you are. They care about their problems. — Dave McClure
Secondly, if you still think you are better, and it’s not about titles, fame, and ego, then you might have a problem. I would suggest: Your default behavior should not be to ‘fire’ him from the position, but to help him grow! Tell him that you are concerned and offer him help. Show him situations and give examples of where you think he failed and could do better. Explicitly state your expectations. If they aren’t met, you’re out. If he doesn’t grow, you also have a better negotiation position to make changes later.
—Bottom line: Value your co-founders and maintain a healthy relationship. Empathically confront your CEO with your doubts and help him first. Only then make changes or leave the founding team.
Take your time. Be patient. Please!
Take your time when it comes to choosing the right co-founders. Don’t join a team too eagerly. Be patient. Get to know each other.
Don’t have a ‘one-night-stand’-mentality. Look at starting a startup with other co-founders as a marriage.
One thing that surprised me is how the relationship of startup founders goes from a friendship to a marriage. My relationship with my co-founder went from just being friends to seeing each other all the time, fretting over the finances and cleaning up shit. And the startup was our baby. I summed it up once like this: It’s like we’re married, but we’re not fucking.
Joining is so much easier than breaking up. If successful, you might be working together for 5 to 10 years (maybe even longer).
—Hence, don’t forget to ask the six questions:
- Do you share the same values, but different strengths and backgrounds?
- Do you have to use a second language for communication?
- Have you identified common goals and shared your expectations?
- Are you and your co-founders deeply driven by a customer’s problem?
- Are you authentic or do you have to pretend to be ‘someone’?
- Do you have rivalries in your team?
BUT wait a minute …
Do you know something more important than choosing the right co-founder?
Maintaining a healthy relationship is most critical!
—P.S. That’s my two cents. Maybe it helps … I hope so. Please leave a comment about how you dealt with these types of situations. I would love to learn from you!
Platforms to find your co-founder
Startup Experts on Co-Founders:
- Venture Hacks: How to pick a co-founder
- Steve Blank: Building Great Founding Teams | How To Find the Right Co-Founders
- Guy Kawasaki: How to Find a Co-Founder
- Paul Graham: Don’t do a startup without a co-founder | Find a co-founder | Less about choosing, but more about working hard to maintain the right, healthy and working relationship
- David Cummings: Questions to Ask as a Potential Co-Founder | Product or Sales Startup CEO
- Dharmesh Shah: Important Questions Startup Co-Founders Should Ask Each Other
- Reid Hoffmann: If, Why, and How Founders Should Hire a “Professional” CEO
Lessons Learned from Startup Founders:
- The Yin and Yang of a great co-founder relationship
- The Dark Side of Startups: 5 Corrosive Co-Founder Conflicts
- Co-Founder Breakups: Startup Lessons Learned (The Hard Way)
- FounderDating: How I Found My Co-Founder
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