Startups · Strategy

The 'co-op' startup - will it work?

Anton Gething Head of Product and Operations at COOLS

February 7th, 2016

Some friends and I have started a company.  We're not your typical start-up set-up...

We are three experienced entrepreneurs with day jobs, mortgages, insurance and school runs.  We also live on three different continents!  The company is a mobile app with a site - we've got to this point through distributed collaboration.  We've seen some growth and would like to continue.

Working collaboratively we believe we can continue to build a successful company built by passionate, smart people around the world..."on the ground". 

We want to recruit people "where they are" to join the company in different capacities from Marketing so Development to Sales ...to grow the company even further.  We're thinking of a "co-op" idea...everyone owns a share of the company.

Will it work do you think?
Has this been done before with a start-up?

Elise Connors Full-Stack Digital Marketer and Customer Acquisition Specialist

February 7th, 2016

It could work if the level of ownership is right (assuming you wouldn't be paying that person a salary) but you have to find the right person who is willing to take on the risk/reward. Sent from my iPhone

Anonymous

February 7th, 2016

You can do a search for:  worker owned businesses
or:  employee owned cooperatives
You can also add "reich" to the search- Robert Reich advocates these.
There are some resources at the bottom of: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241522

Justin Jameson CEO at Venture Consulting | We focus on the media, telco & tech space | Helping companies to profit from disruption

February 7th, 2016

Check out Tim Ferris blog interview with the founder of Wordpress founder - he runs Automatic on exactly this basis. fourhourworkweek.com/2015/02/09/matt-mullenweg/ Justin Jameson | CEO T +61 2 9279 0072 | M +61 410 445367 @Twitter | LinkedIn [2015-Venture-Consulting-LOGO-LIGHT_Colour] [http://www.ventureconsulting.com/assets/icon_twitter.gif] [http://www.ventureconsulting.com/assets/padding.gif] [http://www.ventureconsulting.com/assets/icon_linkedin.gif] [http://www.ventureconsulting.com/assets/icon.gif] Read our latest blog: Subscription VOD in Australia Where to from here?

Colin Vincent TEDx Speaker | Co-Founder at Equity Directory

February 7th, 2016

Anton, yes it can work. I have built two companies with remote co-founders. When there is a shared vision, commitment and trust, you can move mountains.
I suggest you look at www.slicingpie.com for help sorting out equity and if you want to connect w people to help, check out our invite-only network of entrepreneurs and startup talent exchanging work for equity at www.equitydirectory.com


Zohar Hirshfeld Sr. Director Business Operations, Product Globalization and Chief of Staff for Central Engineering

February 7th, 2016

I believe it can work. There are some bedouin companies which I have seen in the past 10 years. Also, if you look at the open source world, this is sort of the model that they use. The only difference is that you will be working towards profits and the open source projects don't always have it in mind. Operationallythought it is the same.

Jim Murray Communication Strategist. Writer. Blogger. beBee Brand Ambassador

February 7th, 2016

Sure it can be done. I'm working in much the same way with an associate in Sweden to create an on line learning experience for sales professionals. We will be recruiting re-sellers from all over the world. Email. Skype. Facetime. There is no such thing as distance anymore. Good luck.

Aamir Iqbal Web / UI Designer, Strategist and Information Architect

February 8th, 2016

Anton, this can definitely work. I have been working remotely for more than 10 years and managing all the web related work for few companies around the world. I am interested in collaboration if you can please forward me more details.

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

February 8th, 2016

Sorry to break this to you but you ARE the typical startup ... and the typical startup has somewhere between an 80% and 95% chance of failure. As some have pointed out before, your day jobs and (illusions of) security will take precedence over the insane amount of work and crazy things you will need to do to get your enterprise off the ground. 

Can it work? Yes ... but despite best intentions it's more likely to become an expensive hobby than a thriving business. You need to find a way to create accountability that means something. 

Jim Murray Communication Strategist. Writer. Blogger. beBee Brand Ambassador

February 9th, 2016

As you can see here, the downside of posing a question such as this elicits an amazing array of responses. The net result can easily be paralysis by analysis. If I may offer one clarifying point. In the massive sales course I have just created with Robert Wright, the governing philosophy is that people do business with people they like and trust. If you like and trust your associates and they feel the same way about you, all the business analysis in the world is secondary, because for the three of you, you're doing something completely unique. At the end of the day, it's really an emotional decision, understanding that you all have skills to contribute. If you believe that what you have is something, then just go for it. Even if you crash and burn you'll learn stuff that you could never learn anywhere else.

Anonymous

February 17th, 2016

It can work, it has worked, and I'm working on something similar. Keep it up.