📚 Junior Founders Guidebook #1 - Co-founders
Problem? Identified. Solution? Drafted. Pitch? Polished. Prototype? Ready. Co-founders?
… Is that a requirement?
More likely yes than no.
Why do I need a co-founder?
Productivity. You can get a lot more work done if you have someone to divide the work up with. Plus, you can brainstorm and come up with better ideas than you could alone.
Moral support. Leading a company is an intense and taxing journey. It's great to have someone you can lean on for support during tough times.
Pattern matching to success. If you look at the most successful startups in history (Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft), they all had co-founders when they started (Y Combinator).
What am I looking for?
Complementary skills. Working with someone who complements you increases your chances of success. One approach is “one builds, one sells” (Medium).
Shared drive. An ideal co-founder recognizes your drive, mission, and passion, and shares it. Your partner will keep working hard in spite of hurdles, hardships, and failures.
Adaptability. Your startup will face some challenges you can’t possibly predict early, and being adaptable is sometimes critical. Especially when it comes to pivoting and doing boring work to get the thing going.
Disagreement. 62% percent of all startups fail due to co-founder conflict (adioma). Conflicts are inevitable, so better to test the waters. Start with a project to assess your chemistry, as well as your ability to compromise, accept failure, deliver when there is disagreement.
How do I connect with them?
Your network. Start with people that you know and you think would be great co-founders. They do not want to start a company with you? Ask them if they could introduce you to someone who could be.
Events. Great if you know what you are looking for. Are you after a tech co-founder? Attend some tech talks or even hackathons.
Accelerators. A few weeks to meet and test the waters with as many potential co-founders as possible.
Founder matching websites. Many online platforms are designed for business networking. They connect you to entrepreneurs, mentors, or just talking groups (Crunchbase).
But, what about Elon and Jeff?
They are outliers.