Do you really need a co-founder?


August 14th, 2014

I just read the following article on , which got me thinking about the potential validity of his statements for software startups.

What do you think?

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

August 14th, 2014

I agree with the article - you can succeed without a co-founder, and yes, I think it's true for software start-ups as well. In fact, ShutterStock is a web service (kind of a software start-up) founded by one guy, as far as I know, who is now a billionaire. I'm in the software business myself, and although I have a junior co-founder, I don't really need him - I can do all the work myself.
A co-founder is really needed for two reasons:
a) Psychological support: entrepreneurship gets REALLY lonely sometimes, if no one shares your vision.
b) Statistics says that lone founders fail more often, so most investors simply won't invest in a lone founder (unless the startup is already successful).

If you can handle the loneliness, and you have the necessary technical skills to do most of the work yourself or have enough money to hire freelancers (although for this you have to know how to manage them properly), then you don't really need a co-founder.

Eric Sexton Game Desginer at Crate Entertainment

August 14th, 2014

Great article.  I am in the interesting position of having recently having my partner step down from the company.  We are still in a very early stage so there is no value there yet and he had nothing but some time invested, so I am currently sitting on 100% of the company.

Trying to do everything (Business, Product, Marketing, etc...)I started freaking out and trying to figure out how to get a partner who can help me do more of the business side while I focus on the product.  But as I keep moving forward with the product I am starting to feel a bit more relaxed about how things are going.

I got some great advice here of FD.  I am almost done moving my company from Texas to Washington.  And I am very close to getting a first small run of my product manufactured.

A month ago I would have disagreed with this article, but now I am starting to swing the other way.

Kelly McIvor Product Commercialization | Mobile Strategy | Opportunity Developer

August 17th, 2014

Interesting article but, like just about everything, the answer to your question is, It depends. As a software startup you may be able to write the software yourself and get it to a point where people will pay you money for it (depending on your business model, of course). If so, you might continue to bootstrap it until you can just hire the talent you need. If, however, you're like many software startups and you'll be looking for investors to fund your product development and marketing then you MUST have at least one but ideally two co-founders. No investor is going to put money on an individual. They'll want to see a team to handle the technology, sales/marketing and executive (i.e., fundraising) functions. The reason they want to see a team is the same reason you should want a team: to commercialize a product sooner than later and faster than slower. Work on it yourself if you want but find someone who is a believer and you'll get a lot more done and be less lonesome.

Anusheel Bhushan

September 3rd, 2014

This article gives a framework to evaluate the question around when/if/how you need a technical co-founder.