Startups · Team Building

What is the right number of cofounders?

sandy edri It manager at VR

September 16th, 2016


Currently I am looking at building my founding team and partnering up with skilled folks around a tech startup idea.
However, I am struggling with the right number of co-founders that I should involve with this project early on.
Based on your experience and what you have seen what is the right number of founders to start a tech business? 

Michael Barnathan

September 16th, 2016

Focus on skills and how many cofounder-material people you can actually bring in (suitable cofounders are actually quite rare, more due to lack of founder-level motivation and initiative than lack of skills). Don't worry about the number. Sometimes the answer is "just start it yourself and look later because you have to get the ball rolling".

If you're missing an essential skill on the team, that's when you need to bring someone in.

Ken Berkun Entrepreneur

September 16th, 2016

Based on my experience 4 is too many.

Rob G

September 16th, 2016

there is no right number. the key is right mix of skill sets and the right mix of personalities and i would say the latter is the more important of the 2.  In my experience the number 1 cause for startup failure is cofounder conflict.  That said the chances for personality conflicts increase as the number of cofounders goes up. More than 4 is unusual. Obviously your dilution increases as the number of cofounders increases.

Chip Hazard General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners

September 16th, 2016

I wrote about this question here ( https://hazardlights.net/2014/04/23/getting-the-co-founder-decision-right/), but the short version is that founding teams of two, with complementary skill sets and a shared vision, seems to be best.

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

September 16th, 2016

What are all of the capabilities you will need to discover and validate your business model?

Which capabilities are "core" to the creation of your value proposition and which can be "outsourced" or contracted?

What is the number of people you will need to embody all of the core capabilities? 

Gopi Mattel Director, Chennai Area at The Founder Institute

September 16th, 2016

As i see the many startups I mentor, I find that three is the best number for a startup.  Ideally, the roles should be a Tech/ Marketing / Sales. One of these should also be the visionary/strategic individual.

Steven Bonacorsi

September 16th, 2016

In my experience 2-3 roles initially
1. Marketing/Sales
2. Operations/Technical
3. Personnel

Shams Juma

September 16th, 2016

This varies, but the rule of thumb is 3. You need vision (CEO). You need marketing (CMO). You need product (CTO)..

Tarun Razdan

September 16th, 2016

As what i've been seen while mentoring these startups in technology and acting as their project manager, people now a days are moving towards making a more clear distinction in the position from the starting. For e.g. If it's your idea and you are the person looking out for people then you should be the founder and others can be co-founders. Also in my opinion 3 people would get you an unbiased view, but at the same time there might be chances of your opinion not being considered. I would suggest hire a good CEO or Product manager or a person having faith in your idea. This way he will suggest you what would be the best thing for your company.

Suresh Neti Software Outsourcing Advisor | Custom Software & Product Development

September 16th, 2016

I think 2 or 3.