Choosing a co-founder for a startup venture is one of the most important decisions that an entrepreneur has to make. Investors prefer to invest in startups with more than one co-founder but they must be sure that the entrepreneurs are working well together. They take into consideration how long the founders have known each other, what is their background and want to know if they have worked on previous projects together. Co-founders who have known each other for a long time and have previous experience working together are more likely to achieve better results faster. It has never been easier to communicate and even connect and work with people even on the other side of the globe.
However, there is an important caveat to consider. Some people can only go three months, while others could last three years.
It's highly dependent on what they want to do, not just what they've done before - you have to talk about it to find out. Still, a positive outcome is anything but guaranteed and progress is often hard to sense. You need to put one foot in front of the other - you have to keep moving. I don't think that these steps are strictly linear - there's no waterfall chart that perfectly illustrates the stages as you move through them.
Step 1: Find potential co-founders from your network of entrepreneurial communities.
Step 2: Identify overlap through initial conversations. What sectors or industries do you have experience in?
What areas are you interested in building a startup in? Step 3: Dive into exploring specific ideas with brainstorming and lightweight prototyping. The goal is to both make progress toward an idea and gain collaboration experience to see what it would be like to work together.
Step 4: Fill out the co-founder questionnaire separately and schedule three to four working sessions to go over your respective answers.
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Step 5: Commit to working together or part ways. Know when to pull the trigger - and when to stop and start anew with someone else. In the sections that follow, Lin gets granular on each of those high-level steps, filling in tactical advice and drawing on stories from her own co-founder search experiences.
Lin typically courted a mix of folks that she had either known for a long time, gotten introduced by a mutual friend, or just recently met at an event.
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I told all my friends and closer connections that I was looking for co-founders and asked for recommendations and intros. There are even some early-stage investors who help facilitate some of those interactions. The long and the short of it is that you have to be open to opportunity. The only opportunity that should give you pause is a chance to work with a particularly close friend. His research found that social connections are likely to be stable in the first six months - the honeymoon period - but become riskier over time.
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And even if it works out smoothly, doing a startup together will surely affect your friendship, so you have to be prepared for that. After finding a potential lead, schedule a few coffee chats or calls to uncover common ground - or a lack thereof. In particular, she searches for a lack of alignment in this step. Here are the threads she recommends pulling on in these early conversations:.
Areas of interest: What kinds of things are you excited to work on? What have you explored recently?
Are we interested in the same industries and business models? Broad roles: Are we interested in potentially exploring a co-founder relationship together?
What would that look like? After spot checking for initial alignment, Lin dives straight into tackling a project with a potential co-founder. Lin suggests timeboxing this exploratory period to about two weeks to maximize both learning fast and moving quickly.
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I had their process in mind each time I was ideating. When investigating a consumer play with a potential co-founder, Lin is a firm believer that you have to try to build something. Contrast that with enterprise, which is more about customer discovery. Customers will tell you what their problems are.
If you listen very carefully, you might be able to figure out a jumping off point to build a company around. How do you currently manage this process?
Founder2be is the largest startup community for developers, web designers, marketers and anyone looking to start a startup worldwide. Founder2be - Start a startup and find a co-founder. Find a developer, web designer for your business ideas. Learn from the. Collective Experience of a like-minded Community. FounderDating is my go-to place when I'm working through my toughest entrepreneurial challenges. It's an amazing resource! Sunil Rajaraman. CEO, The Bold Italic & Cofounder, Scripted. Popular Topics. Director of Engineering at Zenefits. commented on. Being a founder and running a company takes more than your whole time. There's literally no personal life left. But the situations may vary on the basis of how much time you get for personal concerns. Basically you can still hack into your timetable on keep dating if required.
How big of a pain point is it for you, compared to other pain points you have? If you could wave a magic wand and have that problem go away, how would that affect your work or your customers?
That said, there are indicators that you may be on the right track.
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Segment is a great example of this. With the right person, you can push through that, and move onto other areas and experiments.
But sometimes when ideas die on the vine, the partnership can lose steam. You start to question if this person is the right partner for you. Other times, a business idea had true potential, but we discovered that we had incompatible working styles.
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There are lots of ways people can decide not to work together, but for me personally, I most appreciated when there was a clear go or no-go date, and we had one or two direct conversations about the viability of us working together. Those are the relationships I feel better about today. Once you have a very basic sense of how prototyping is going, the next step is to tackle the finer points of what the co-founder relationship might look like.
Enter the co-founder questionnairethe getting-to-know-you gauntlet that Lin throws down before seriously considering starting a company with someone.
As with most things in life, timing is everything. For example:.
Working at a company alongside someone is very different than co-founding a new startup together. Could you see yourself getting married?
If you ask these on the first date, you might seem too intense. Here, she gives a tactical overview of how the questions evolved and how co-founding pairs can put them to work:.
This specific questionnaire for co-founders has been quietly making the rounds in certain entrepreneurial circles for some time. Lin then expanded on that question set to make it even more robust and pull out what she was interested in learning.
And it will continue to evolve as entrepreneurs take the doc, and add or subtract questions as they figure out what works for them. Lin found the questionnaire to be a valuable tool as she was looking for a fellow company builder.
This is how I react when I get stressed. I found that this process uncovered our weak spots as a collective. Lin notes that while you can run through the questionnaire several different ways, there are some essential elements to keep in mind:. Custom-tailor your own test.
Feb 04, Startup 50 Questions to Ask a Potential Startup Co-Founder A startup veteran shares the extensive list of questions she used for co-founder dating.
Pare it down for a lightweight version at co-founder speed dating events. What's the worst interpersonal conflict you've dealt with? How did you handle it?
I don't think that dating a startup founder is a hindrance to having a romantic relationship. I think we have grown up so much together since the start of our relationship (3 years ago) and I think that his growth has been influenced by his job as well. Ben, Husband (Joanne, HappyBunch). Choosing a co-founder for a startup venture is one of the most important decisions that an entrepreneur has to make. The co-founders must complement each other's skills, to share the same vision for the future of the company and to succeed in leading together the company in the right direction. But generally speaking, here's the process I followed in a nutshell: Step 1: Find potential co-founders from your network of entrepreneurial communities. Step 2: Identify overlap through initial conversations. Have a few coffee chats to cover some basic topics such as: Step 3: Dive into exploring.
For how long? What sounds good?
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What sounds like hell? Do you have different expectations for different phases of the company's lifespan? How much money should we raise?
What does an ideal company exit look like to you? What impact do you want to have? Is your startup objective "getting rich" or "changing the world"?
Is control or success more important? Are you willing to step aside if the company is more likely to have a financially successful outcome or is it important for the founders to stay in control of the company's destiny?
Is it possible to build a wildly successful company without burning out or damaging other parts of your life family, health, etc. What is the minimum monthly salary you need to survive? To be comfortable? To feel like you've "made it? Values are written words, and your culture is how you actually live those written words.