Startups · Finding cofounders

Co-founders overlaps - can you start with two similar cofounders?

Anonymous

December 19th, 2015

I am in contact with several ex colleagues and peers, who wants to establish a new start-up. However, since their business experience is very similar to mine, we are not sure if it makes sense establishing a new start-up with two similar co-founders, and thus split the equity for no reason, even before the raising the first seed. Do you think it makes sense building a team with two business co-founders with similar experience + another tech co founder?   

Neil Gordon Board Member, Corporate Finance Advisor and Strategy Consultant

December 19th, 2015

There's significant value in a team that has worked well together in the past. If there's sufficient work to keep the three of you busy, go for it!

Vinay Darp VP Service Delivery at Curologic Systems Pvt. Ltd.

December 19th, 2015

Agree with Neil...one can't standardize a co-founder formula. If you have a gut-feel that it will work out; and if you find it exciting to work with him - it's bang on!

Jason Garber Software Expert • Engineer • Co-Founder at PromptWorks

December 21st, 2015

I started PromptWorks with two other senior software engineers with nearly identical experience. Nearly 3 years, 20 staff members, and a few million in revenue later, I can say it's working well.

It's a real advantage to have three interchangeable co-founders. We just divide up the work and since there are three of us, there's never a deadlock. Our pair programming background also gave us a leg up on collaboration and giving and receiving control. In some cases zone defense is necessary, so we carve out areas of responsibility for each. Our experience has been overwhelmingly positive, but perhaps we're just incredibly well matched.

Greg Alkalay CEO / Founder at batteryPOP Kids Network

December 20th, 2015

It makes sense to found a company with someone who understands your space as well you. Happens all the time. But before you get too deep, think through where you need to be in 1 year...3 years...5 years...and have an understanding of what roles you will evolve INTO. If you don't differentiate roles before bringing on more partners, your eventual equity conversations are going to be awkward at best, destructive at worst.

Daniel-Flavius Lucica

December 22nd, 2015

In the book titled "Good to Great" by James Collins, one of the most important data driven key separators in great companies is the fact that they first get "the right people on the buss".

High caliber individuals can develop your company in ways you cannot even imagine, yet most companies hire once and shut the door. Hire for quality, value not for function. If they are both valuable, there's no reason why not get  them both on board. 

More on the topic here.

Joe Albano, PhD Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.

December 19th, 2015

Any rewards (compensation, equity, fame, fortune, etc.) should be based on value created, not knowledge or the potential to create value. Clear articulation of expectations and the distribution of rewards are two elements of a crucial set of commuications we call the while we're still friends talk. It's useful to remember that it's easiest to have the while we're still friends talk, while we're still friends.

Thomas Sutrina Inventor at Retired Pursue Personal interrests and family

December 19th, 2015

Just because you co-founders  have done similar things does not mean that you have the same skills and outside experiences and similar interests. Similar experiences does not mean that in the start up you will be doing similar tasks.  The question is do you divide up the needs of the start up to people that actually want to do them and will likely be good at them.

Pam Founder Founder at tilt365.com

December 20th, 2015

Take the True Tilt Professional profile and I will debrief the two of you together for free if you like?  You may be similar functionally speaking, but you could be a nice compliment in terms of personality dynamics and character. I am the Founder of tilt365.com and hired a CEO that is my compliment and it works wonderfully.  We help startup teams answer questions like this using our assessments.