Cofounder · Founders

Is it important to have a local co-founder?

Farhad Faqiri

December 16th, 2014

I am a one-man-team and have a developer on payroll until I can launch my beta (by January 2015). I have done all UI/front-end design myself but I know that I need to start building a team asap. I used to live in NY for a few years where I managed a large angel investor group and would help startups raise funding. However, less than two years ago I moved to LA and started working on my own project. I quickly noticed that the startup scene here is not really on par with NY (to put it lightly).

So my question is, how important is it to build a local team? 

Tim Kilroy Analytics - LTV - Boosting Profits - Digital Marketing

December 16th, 2014

Build the right team, not the geographically convenient one. My cofounder is in SF, I am in Boston, and have tech staff in Toronto. There is an art and science to making three cities work, but we have a team that I love and who is doing really great stuff. Right is way more important than convenient.

Trevor O'Hara Founder & CEO at Workabode

December 17th, 2014

I've been working internationally for a long time and now building a business that is based both in London and California. I'me a little battle-scarred from managing remote teams - sure - they work - and yes, it can work with a remote Co-Founder. But at the same time, I can think of no better expression than "joined at the hip". I can only speak from my own experience - but I've found that the best relationships with the key members of the team (those who are leading and inspiring the rest of the company) come from sitting in the same room together, drinking coffee in the same room, eating out of the same pizza box - the real chemistry comes from eyeball communication, doing things together, and then going off for a while in separate directions.

Now, if only I could find that CoFounder.....hope this helps guys.
And success to all the real Founders and CoFounders out there.
Trevor

Ben Belser

December 19th, 2014

Actually, Farhad, statistics indicate that LA is in a near dead-heat with NY for second largest startup ecosystem in the United States, and it's also the fastest-growing. The geographic area in LA can make that hard to comprehend, but if you look around you'll find a treasure trove of new companies and talent. Don't be dispirited by a few bad meetups.

Amar Chitimalli

December 16th, 2014

I have similar thought on local team vs a remote team. From what I have seen it does look like the product and complexity of what you are building comes into play. I am into game development, and I have seem some studios operate completely independently collabrating from various places. They have never worked under a roof. That is what the sell to to the talent "Freedom" to work from anywhere.

But yeah, I do agree it does come with challenges where it does feel like a long distance relationship. The founder/owner of this gaming company "boomzap.com". It took a while and couple of success titles before they got to where they are now. They have a system in place where every one need to checkin every thing by end of the day, and it is validated and how much work is done etc.

Well I am curious and looking into some interesting models like, the team is measure by what is done vs how much time you have put in. As this might be the main concern if the team is not local.

- Quality, Communication and Getting things done Matter at the end of the day! couple thoughts and lets see what other have to add to this thread.

Shahab Layeghi Software Professional

December 16th, 2014

I've worked in a startup remotely for some time.  There are some periods that you can work mostly independently very effectively, but then there are periods that being remote is a real disadvantage.  If you cannot find a co-founder locally, maybe someone in Bay Area would be the next best thing.  For the Bay Area VCs at least part of the team is local, you'll be in the same time zone, and if needed to meet and work together for a few days, traveling won't be so bad.

Tim Cullen Principal Software Engineer

December 17th, 2014

I've worked a number of people and groups remotely in the past and it worked out well. One of the more important things I think was frequent communication. Not to the point that it gets in the way though.

George Parrish Founder/President

December 16th, 2014

Building a team is important.  But more important is having a co-founder or two to build your brand around.  And this isn't just from me, but from all the Angel and V/C investors that I know of in the Bay Area.  They actually want to see you here, either in SF or the Silicon Valley at the beginning.  Word to the wise, don't know of any companies receiving funding with just one owner these days.  Maybe its a business trend or not, but it is the way of the world in N California right now.

Farhad Faqiri

December 16th, 2014

@Tim 
Thanks for the response. I agree with you that building the right team is more important than convenience. However, I also think that this would be like having a long distance relationship with someone you've just met. It takes a lot of effort in order for it to work but of course I am open to the idea, which is why I started this topic. 

Farhad Faqiri

December 16th, 2014

@George
I completely agree with you, same thing in NY.

Farhad Faqiri

December 19th, 2014

@David, thanks for participating in this discussion.

What I meant was that the startup scene in LA is not as active as in NY. Basically there aren't as many tech startups, incubators, accelerators, events compared to NY. Most VC's and PE firms focus heavily on retail, real estate and the entertainment industry.
Also, i've been to several meetups/events in LA but the turnout was very disappointing.

So I am definitely not stating that programmers here are less experienced. Besides, I am not looking for someone who can just code.