In the search for tech startup cofounders, the obvious criteria are driven and skilled individuals with a low aversion to risk.
However, i've come to realize that there are many more factors that determine how well an early stage startup is managed by it's founders (given a solid product & strategy)
I would love to know about your personal experiences with selecting cofounders, good and bad.
No need for names, just scenarios and things that you have learned. Thanks!
Someone who is willing to get off their ass and throw everything they have into the idea. I dont necessarily mean money. I mean energy, hours of their day, ideas, excitement, telling everyone they know about the idea, helping with anything that needs doing regardless of whether it is part of their primary skillset. Even if they are only on a 5% option that doesnt vest for 12 months, and you are paying them a pittence to help them feed themselves during the painful time til you see revenues. They must want to live and breath everything about the startup.
If they tell you that they can only offer a fixed number of hours per week with rules about their availability around their day job. Or you hear any hints of them not wanting to help with a specific task "because i am doing the tech and so can't help you with the wording for the leaflets, and i hate going to networking events". Or if they need babysitting and handholding with everything and have no initiative to do stuff without being spoonfed. If any of this comes up then run. Run fast. Away from them.
"New startup: cofounders sought for world beating business. Snowflakes and hangers-on need not apply"
Someone that plays to your weaknesses.
So if you have great ideas and management ability but don't necessarily have a good track record on follow through/organization you need someone who can push you to follow through and maintain your organization.
The key is you don't want someone too similar to yourself/skill set. You want to diversify at the top so that way you can really branch your focus and work on different, yet related, tasks.
@David, you can have good rapport with someone, and they can be very trustworthy. But are they willing to pull their finger out and do whatever it takes to make the startup fly!? When you say you've not had good experience with cofounders I guess you know what I'm talking about. I too have experienced that, and it is so depressing to feel the others at the party aren't putting in the same amount of their soul as you.
As someone whose been on both sides of this table, I am going to say "passion for the project."
Everything else (including the "rocket science" tech stuff) we can learn, teach, buy, barter, steal, or fake.
Can't do any of that with passion.