Building a team · Business networking

What personality traits are you looking for in a co founder / business partner ?

Maxi moon Founder and Project leader of Trusted Animal Files, out of the box thinker, integrity

Last updated on May 20th, 2020

Alright. I have checked and it doesn't seem that this question has been asked previously.

Over the last decade, almost everything has become a marketplace. Dating sites are successful because many people have those moments when they visualize their perfect fairy tale relationship. When reality kicks in, day to day life, priorities...all those nice concepts go flying out the door. However, when you are with the right person you feel inspired by each other, you get energised and building on ideas and working long hours comes easy.

It's the same with business partners and I think it's not as easy as putting 2 and 2 together.

For instance sales and accountants or Marketing and IT Infrastructure architects.

Even when you know you'd need a complementary person you will also have to manage communication and have values that match your moral compass.

So here are some of the main traits I'm looking at (despite having a person that is always head over heels in love with my projects...:-)))

  • honest ( not to the point of rudeness)
  • humble (I've met some high potential, high IQ people that have been very modest always questioning themselves first and they were also very loyal to their company)
  • open-minded to trying new things ( On larger projects I work with people I know since a long time but in order to not be set in my own ways I like to start working with new people on smaller new projects. It helps me to learn new things. I like to find the same attitude within a potential co-founder)
  • not too scared of failure (that's important or we will never do anything and it indicates that you won't blame me or the world forever in case things don't work as they should)
  • flexible and pragmatic
  • a positive outlook on life for the most part
  • ready to take some risks

Voilà...that's it mainly for me. I'd be curious about what or if you are looking at any of the personality traits prior to associating to someone regardless of the "function"

To me, it is really important on top of having similar fields of interest.

Daiji Uehara Looking for Co-founding hustler Restauranteur, Founder @ Splitter(food tech startup)

May 23rd, 2020

Hi there,

There are many good answers already, but I would like to add followings personally.

•Different Skillset

If you are a hard core engineer and not very people person(not necessarily always the case), ideal skillset in co founder would be people skill, presentation skill, communication skill etc.

I always want my partner to be way smarter than me in her/his domain, as well as I try to be the smartest in my own domain.

•Hard worker

All minutes and seconds you put in to work increases the chance of success in business, and this is the simplest thing everybody can start from day one. We might not be able to be as smart as Elon Musk from the day one, but you can work hard instantly if you decide to. These are the cases not only because it is important simply to put in work to get things done, but also because that makes you even sweat to keep up. In another word that's the kind of inspiration that I look for in a co-founder.


Some people say this is sort of a compatibility, but I think is a bit underrated quality in partnership. I personally love to work with people who I enjoy working with, because it is not only about getting things done. It is the process that makes your business meaningful and enjoyable. And enjoyable work makes you and your team better. I have seen many people including myself who had difficulty pursuing their businesses due to hardships. I believe the mere joy in working with people you like is what gets you up when you fall.

Let's admit It is way better to have a partner that sincerely supports you than being alone.

Founders with great ideas have very huge pride and ego usually, and that's even how it is supposed to be, but some people are also having a hard time admitting this simple quality of enjoyment in working with great people.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

May 20th, 2020

I don't generally start with personality, rather I start with skills. To operate a business effectively the six fundamental business skills must be covered. No one person ever masters more than two, so I will always need employees, partners, advisors, or some other people to support the areas where I'm weak. Whether they're a co-founder or not is unimportant.

The essential characteristic for a co-founder is that they share your vision. Vision is defined as the ideal experience for your customers of your product/company (both external and internal customers). If you don't share the same vision, there will always been tension and unhappiness regardless of personality.

If you decide you need a co-founder (most people never have one), sure you want someone with whom you communicate well, who may be smarter than you are, and who energizes you in some way. People who do not communicate frequently, clearly, and intentionally are not good co-founders.

AShu Co-founder I CTO I Co-adviser I Full stack developer

Last updated on May 21st, 2020

Yes there are already good answers but i will add some of my experiences

As maxi and paul said both are correct.

But when we try to find co founder we always forget ourselves . I mean we think co founder have many qualities but is it we ask a question himself

what about me ? is it i have these qualities which i am trying to find outer world and people

I think most of people never think about there qualities which is in their control we think about other people qualities which mostly is not in our control.

I got many offers for co-founder.But many of times i rejected because many times people expectation are very high and immature.

So always remember relation is two way or in logic gate in which





When analyse your self then you got both points. You have some character like maxi said

but no one perfect as paul said .

So i said always

"Don't convert your perception into expectation"

Because reality is more different from your perception

I hope you got my points



Maxi moon Founder and Project leader of Trusted Animal Files, out of the box thinker, integrity

May 21st, 2020

Thanks for both of your comments and your effort to add things that weren’t asked.

@ Ashu, I only got half of your points pertaining to your system of judgment of others. I understand that you have rejected co-founders offers since you judged their expectations as immature and too high, is that right?

Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t see your personal criteria of choice if there is any or if you after all are not looking for a co-founder, investor, and business partner on a particular project.

I do agree that many people tend to have expectations on things (or results) that are out of their control. That is something pretty hard to avoid dealing with, if you are ever going to put a product out there. Still it is also what makes life interesting.

If I ask people to throw in some apples and they throw in bananas it's out of my control. If they don’t throw anything at all it’s also out of my control unless I put tools into place for it to happen, thus the invention of incentives and formats.

In this case luckily for me I haven’t been expecting anything at all. I crossed off the “ask a question” and I wondered if anyone would reply and if so how and if anyone even wondered about what I am interested in.

A. I gave some insight

B. I gave an example

It is fun to observe that there are 2 replies and biased answers through the form of using active voice to a passive one, presenting statements rather than the answers to the question asked.

So, indeed Ashu, what do I have control over?

I can ask myself if my question is maybe too personal and scary or too complicated. What if I throw out there that reality is a perception based on a perception of consensus? But that’s for another debate.:-)

In the answers, Paul is choosing skills over personal traits.

Here is how his choice based on his answers if accurate would differ in the practical hiring process to mine.

A. Is a klepto and Scores 95 percent in a test you provided

B. Has never stolen anything in his life, but he only scores 75 percent in your test

I will choose B without hesitation. Improvement can be made on those 75 percent skills. Choosing A in my process would cost me more in implementing an environment to keep the kleptomania in check. Also, if you do not look at the personality trait you will most probably even miss that A. is a klepto.

(You can object that I can't predict future hiring process based on simple answers given and I am not. It's just me throwing some more darts out into balloons )

That is just my humble opinion on the importance of even defining and considering personality traits or not. So really there is no right or wrong answers. It's very irrelevant to the question asked.

I simply asked if you are looking at personality traits at all in a co-founder (given you are looking for one) and if so which ones are important to you.

General statements are general statements. For instance: “Vision is defined as the ideal experience for your customers of your product/company (both external and internal customers).” That is a general statement admitted as correct by most successful entrepreneurs.

What do you need to hire someone that understands your vision? Don’t you need people with certain personality traits that will understand your vision and understand how to “put customers first” according to your vision? ;-)

Many “skills” are based on personality traits. If you are separating them then skills should be able to be performed best by bots.

Back to the question, what is important for you versus what do you believe is the best way to choose or not in general. Those are complete different questions.

Does my question make you feel uncomfortable in any way?

Let me know.


Edward de Jong Software designer and developer, programming language designer

May 27th, 2020

There are only a few things you need to make a long-lasting successful product. 1) A good design, 2) A reliable implementation, and 3) a way to sell the product.

Typically the founder is capable of doing 1 or 2 of these tasks, and cannot do the third. Let's say you personally can design and build the product but don't know how to sell it. You need a cofounder who can deliver. Successful salespeople are already rich and you cannot afford them. So you will have to risk using an untested salesman. It doesn't matter if they are organized or disorganized, mean or nice, you have a single problem to solve which is selling, and within 6 months you will know if they are any good or not.

One thing you do have to have is honesty in any partner. A startup is a pressure cooker, and they have to have a genial nature else life will be unbearable when things get tough. And a dishonest partner will end up screwing you over and cause great suffering for you.

On the other hand, if you are a good salesman, what you need is a competent developer who is reliable. That means predictable delivery of a gradually refined product. Best to start with a minimal product and add features gradually, so that you are always in a working condition. Do not try to and build facebook in the first version.

Mert Doganli Founder of engineering companies

May 27th, 2020

I would need a co-founder to complete my skill and character set. For character, I mean the type of person , for a rough generalization; Type A or Type B (or drivers, pioneers, integrators, guardians etc.) . If I don't like working on details, I would prefer my co-founder to fill in the gap. Skill set is self explanatory. However, I think personality is the key here. Open communication, transparency besides the items listed in the comments are also very important. From my past co-founder experiences ( total number is 7 now and none is with me now- company is still operational) , I can say that, if the person is not open and do not fit into the company culture, everything starts messing up. And if you are the fighter one, it is your duty to clear all the mess. Visions and expectations should be parallel. If you want to scale the company but your partner wants to stay small and puts in that much of effort, soon there will be friction. If you already have a company, I would suggest spending around 1 year by giving out percentage out of profits etc. to make sure that the rights are more than wrongs and you can still be friends :)