Startups · Entrepreneurship

As a founder is it bad to start dating your employee?

Merry Ferrer Owner at Meysine's Merchandise

September 15th, 2016

Especially if there is uncertainty on whether things will work or not.

Stephen PMP Project Management Professional

September 15th, 2016


David Albert Founder & Principal at GreyGoo

September 15th, 2016

As a founder, I just married a person who worked for me. We've worked, and dated successfully for nearly 3 years. The heart wants what the heart wants.

We both committed to the idea, very early, that we would be diligent about separating and compartmentalizing our work and personal relationship. We agreed it was important and have worked hard to set boundaries and never make anyone we work with feel uncomfortable in the office.

However, at first, my co-founder was NOT happy--it caused friction and stress. And from an outsider's point-of-view, it was irresponsible and misguided. Had it not worked out, all of it would have permanently damaged trust with my co-founder, and with other employees. I believe we were the exception to the rule and, at the risk of sounding mushy, meant for one another. While we still work together, we've both acknowledged at some point in the near future that should probably change.

So even with my experience, I think it's generally a bad idea. If you are dating an employee, or considering it, think long and hard about where it could lead. You have to have a great deal of faith and trust in yourself and the other person that you can handle it and conduct yourselves with maturity and respect for those who work with you--no matter the outcome. Ultimately, relationships can be messy. Know your priorities.

Sophia Maler Product Management and Marketing Professional. Message Alchemist.

September 15th, 2016

Most definitely, unless you are OK losing both the relationship and the worker.

Syed Hosain Founder, SVP Engineering and CTO at Aeris Communications, Inc.

September 15th, 2016

Easy answer: yes.

Meaning: yes, it is bad. 

Regardless of the "uncertainty on whether things will work or not". I am not sure if you mean the startup or the relationship is uncertain, but it does not matter.

Irwin Stein Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.

September 15th, 2016

If you have to ask, you can't handle it.

Teddy Matheu CEO at Clear Idea Labs, LLC

September 15th, 2016

This is the founder dating website, so go for it!

Dan Dascalescu Developer Advocate at Google

September 15th, 2016

William Agush Founder and CEO at Shuttersong Incorporated

September 15th, 2016

It's one thing for peers to date in a company, it's another thing for a founder to even think of dating an employee. If it fails you are exposed to all kinds of internal strife including people taking sides, ruining your credibility AND a potential harassment suit. If you have to ask a question like this you need to get some management training or an advisor. 

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

September 16th, 2016

Yes. And it might also result in civil or criminal charges. If you are highly motivated, however, the best policy is to find another place to work, and then follow your heart. Sent from my iPhone

Jim Scott CFO * Financial Growth Accelerator * Virtual Company Architect

September 16th, 2016

James Altucher thinks it is OK, it is one of the few things I disagree with him on. While I have seen this work out, during a very long career, it is much more likely to end badly than well. And the fallout in any company can be toxic.