Founders · Incubator

How important is it to have a co-founder when applying to an incubator?

Benji Hill Investigative Analyst at Amazon

February 20th, 2013

I’ve recently been looking into applying to some incubators and accelerators as a solo founder and it seems that these programs prefer 2 if not 3 founders. Is that the case?

Michael Barnathan Adaptable, efficient, and motivated

February 20th, 2013

You'll usually have better luck with a co-founder on board, but I've seen people get into accelerators as single founders. If you have tech. chops, there are also programs like "Hackstars" (  that will allow you to get into certain accelerators on technical skill alone.

Eric Rogness Technical Product Manager

February 20th, 2013

I'm not aware of any accelerators that can stomach a single founder. That being said, focus on what will help your business be successful. If your business will do better without bringing a cofounder on at this time, then do that and find other ways to connect with mentors and investors. If your business could benefit from the experience, social, and financial capital that a cofounder could bring to the table *and* that means also the opportunity to participate in an accelerator, then bravo, pull the trigger and get yourself a cofounder.

Helen Adeosun

September 9th, 2013

MassChallenge! There are a couple of us out of 128 companies and a lot work with contractors :-)

John Pettus Founder at Fiskkit

September 18th, 2013

That has been my impression. You don't want to waste your time and energy on a low probability application. 

That's why I'm looking for people with solid tech skills to join me in SF. You're not really back-able until there are two of you. 

I totally get that there are exceptions-- but they're definitely exceptions. And they prove the rule.

Andy Keil Building smart products at Waldo Photos

September 19th, 2013

Having just hung out with the guy and talked about the experience at length, I'd suggest reading about Jon Crawford's experience with Y Combinator and how they treated him when he showed up as a single co-founder:

Candice Hughes, PhD, MBA

September 19th, 2013

The accelerators I have pitched at want at least 2 co-founders to gain admission. Investors want the same- teams. Options to demonstrate your capabilities may be to plow ahead and build your prototype without a co-founder (ie: demonstrate that you can get the job done). And/or find someone who will act as an advisory "co-founder" as part of the decision process toward deciding if you want to create a legal partnership or not. This is a small step that shows the accelerator you can attract people to your venture. You will still need to show you can move forward on the prototype.

Charlene MD, MPH CEO & Founder, ReciproCare, Halcyon Fellow

October 28th, 2016

Halcyon Incubator

Most are solo founders, but your startup must be social venture.