Do You Really Need a Co-Founder?
6 entrepreneurs share their thoughts on this topic
When it comes to launching a startup the very first concern that you may face is whether you need to pick a co-founder or not.
Sometimes our clients address to us with one question: Do I really need a co-founder or a CTO? Well, we decided not to base only on our own thought and interviewed 6 successful entrepreneurs who have already gone through this and from their own experience know the answer to this question.
And here is what we’ve found out:
Choosing a co-founder from someone close to you is a good option
One of the main reasons why you may need a co-founder is that you’ll need support and the person you can rely on. That’s why, when it comes to the choice, most of the people start thinking about picking someone from their friends or relatives. Of course, your close people will understand you better than anyone else. But, there exists an opinion that friends and relatives aren’t the best choice for working with, as they’ll always be biased and if any disagreement arises, the chances are you’ll spoil your relations. Here is what Kabir Ahmed, CEO and Cofounder @ Favorey says:
“We are 4 person co-founding team of friends for 20 years minimum. All working together professionally or separate organitions previously but are now together. We realised that we needed each other to make a dent in this industry.”
Kabir Ahmed, CEO and Cofounder @ Favorey
A co-founder will complement your skillset and bring an extra value to the startup
When you have your own business, it requires from you deep knowledge of many topics, from coding to marketing. And, quite often, you don’t possess all of them. In that case, you’ll need someone who’ll complement your skillset and who’ll simply share your workload and responsibilities.
“It is definitely necessary to have co-founder(s) to share daily chores and decision-making with. One man can never achieve the jobs of many.”
Tan Han Sing, Founder @ Tueetor
The same opinion is also supported by Francesco Magro, Cofounder and CEO @ Winelivery and Martín Andrés López Espiña, CEO and Founder @ Voguin:
“In my opinion what is needed is commitment on the idea, ability to learn and willingness to put all your effort in the business. Of course is also important that the team members have strong relational ability and the skill to work in team.”
Francesco Magro, Cofounder and CEO @ Winelivery
“I keep searching for a co-founder that can complement my skills and help me build a great product.”
Martín Andrés López Espiña, CEO and Founder @ Voguin
A great idea was also stated by Maria Andrea Gonzalez, CEO @ Heartpoo, she says:
“...finding the perfect match for your skill set, vision and dreams, is a lot like love. What I’ve come to realize after all these years is that a co-founder is a MUST, not just because he/she brings something new to the table, but because they share your most inner desires. It’s the affinity towards the goal in its purest way. This kind of match where you go deep into arguing about the same thing, where you speak the same language and read each other between the lines, is what gives the ride a whole new level of worthiness. The friction that comes with the digging deeper, challenging the other and questioning the same essential problems, is what results in great companies that change the world. There’s no fire without friction.”
Maria Andrea Gonzalez, CEO @ Heartpoo
However, having been an entrepreneur for about 4 years, Maria has realized one thing: there is no place for hasty decision when choosing a co-founder:
...My co-founder and I have been a couple for over 13 years. I was 14 and he was 16 when we met... As in all relationships, love at first sight does not always mean the right choice in the same way as finding a hacker just to make my idea happen or finding a hustler to sell what I’ve built. On the contrary, it’s getting to know each other, the endurance through better or worse, the decision to keep on going, what makes all the difference.
But is it always a good choice to have a co-founder? Сan there be the situations when it’s much better to be the only person on the board? Let’s see what the entrepreneurs think about this.
If you have a well-thought business plan and know exactly the direction you’re moving to, there is no need to take an extra person on the board
Besides, no one can guarantee you that the good relations with your co-founder will last for a long time. There can arise the situation when he/she decides to leave. In one situation it can end up in a peaceful way, but, unfortunately, there can be some moments when controversies arise and you may lose the part of your business or your whole business. Just keep in mind that the companies that have more than one co-founder are more likely to fail if one of the co-founders decides to leave.
“I do not have a co-founder, and I do not think it is necessary to have a co-founder. Perhaps if individuals got together and came up with a business idea, they could become co-founders of a newly created start-up. In my situation, I do not feel I need a co-founder. I have founded this company; I invested the seed funding, and I own 100% of the stocks.”
Eric Northcutt, CEO @ CopyCat Media
He also adds:
I feel that it is not necessary because my business has been around for a couple of years now, and we are doing well as of date. Running a startup today does not require multiple founders, but a good advisory board in any company is good to have on your side.
At the same time, having a co-founder himself, Francesco Magro points out that:
...I can say that if the founder is strong enough a co-founder is not needed.
One more risky point of having a co-founder is that you may feel like one of you is working more than the other and puts more strengths and efforts.
...This turns harder as the time goes on, since as a startup guy I find works around to keep the endeavor alive and kicking, which makes me feel stronger and more comfortable in taking decisions. At the same time, the possible co-founder, misses the most valuable experience of the days where the business stands from the mud.” - Martín Andrés López Espiña
Of course, there is no definite answer to this question. On the one hand, an extra person will certainly bring a lot of value to the business. On the other hand, how can you be sure that your co-founder will be as devoted to your startup as you are? Every situation is very individual and everything depends on your personal choice, preferences and much more. So, and now is your turn to share your experience! Do You have a co-founder? Do You think You need one or not? We will be very glad to hear Your thoughts!
We'd like to thank once again Kabir Ahmed Favorey Ltd, Tan Han Sing Tueetor, Francesco Magro Winelivery, Martín Andrés López Espiña Voguin, Maria Andrea Gonzalez Heartpoo and Eric Northcutt CopyCat Media for their great answers. This article wouldn’t have been published without their help.
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