Following on from question 3 above, picking a co-founder or co-founders is one of the biggest and most significant decisions you will make in business and there are a number of factors to be considered.
Knowing and understanding your co-founders
Any co-founder really should be someone that you already know and trust. You want to know what this person is like, how they work, are they reliable, what are their skills, and what are their weaknesses? It really should be someone that you have history with – that you know and understand.
Friends, family, loved ones?
Equally, the stresses and strains of startup life can be really hard – so really consider going into business with close friends, family or loved one. If the business is struggling, there is a real risk of damaging long-term and important relationships. This is not to say that you shouldn’t start your venture with these people (noting these are the people you know and understand!) but think about what is at risk and if it is likely going to be a good fit.
Touching on one of the earlier questions – keeping a startup lean and agile is key to success. One key way to achieve this is to make sure that any co-founder you bring on has skills which differ to yours.
For example, if you are looking at starting a fintech – it might be a good idea to have someone with a banking experience, or regulatory or IT background – if these are skills and experiences you don’t have.
Just because someone is a good fit culturally, they are going to contribute by playing a major role, so having someone who can do something you can’t is key.
The ‘investor’ reason
Investors at the early-stage are not investing in your business, they are investing in the potential of you and your co-founders to deliver on the potential of the business. When deciding whether or not someone should be a co-founder in your startup, put the ‘investor cap’ on and ask yourself the following – because these are the questions which will be asked of you when seeking to raise capital.
1. How long have they known each other?
2. Have they worked together before?
3. Can these people work together?
4. Are they likely to continue to work together on this venture?
5. Do they have the skills and capacity between them to deliver on this venture?
6. Do I trust them?