How to Choose the Perfect Co-founder for Your Startup
Find people whose background is completely different from yours
The Co-founders you choose can make or break your startup based on a plethora of factors. It is as important as choosing your spouse. There are a lot of burning questions that should be on your mind when choosing a co-founder for that dream company of yours.
These days you see Facebook groups on entrepreneurship plastered with messages like — “Looking for a kick-ass Co-founder for a startup with a billion-dollar idea in the field of technology (insert random technology). Please DM”. Not only is this a pathetic promotion for your startup, but a poor way to find a partner, who has the ability to catapult you to terrific success or doom, based on how you choose one.
I spoke to Jithin V G, Co-founder of Accubits Technologies, an Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain development company. In 2012, Accubits Invent, a product-based company was started by Jithin with four other partners. He founded Accubits Hardware in 2013 with four more co-founders. Each of his Co-founders was taking home only INR 20,000 per month in their previous companies.
A few quitted as they were not happy with it as they wanted more stability even though they were passionate about the company. Come 2014-15, these ventures weren’t making a profit, so they pivoted to the current services model that has gained tremendous traction and has retained the six co-founders.
“We have known each other since childhood, thus making it easier to understand each other’s emotions, strengths and weaknesses. You really need to be sure about who you are partnering with before you aim to build a world-class company. Knowing someone for 3-4 years is never enough unless you are sure that they are extremely professional. One trait that most of us look for is the correct skill set, but sometimes we tend to overlook soft skills, which are mighty important when you work as a team. It is pretty much like a brotherhood,” said Jithin.
When there is money flowing in the initial stages of your startup, it makes sense to invest it back into the company while taking a little as salary for one’s personal exigencies. “When Accubits Technologies started growing rapidly, we couldn’t keep up with the speed. At such a time, you are staring at two options, either: 1. Let the startup grow by setting checks and balances or 2. Arrest the growth. Option 2 is a risk not worth taking. You need to put back your money into the company to bring in a better structure, create a process to make everything streamlined. This is where understanding the attitude and aspirations of your co-founders matter”.
Here are a few other things that you should keep in mind when choosing your co-founder:
Find if the Skill Sets Complement Each Other:
If you and your co-founder are good at the technology side of business, then you would still have to look at someone who can scale the business with marketing skills. If you are someone who loses it on pushing the wrong buttons, find someone who is calm and composed at all times. Find people whose background is completely different from yours.
When you are dreaming about building a billion-dollar company, you might think that success is the only destination you are aiming while the path may not exactly be important. Do you realize that despite signing an agreement there are still many ways your co-founders can hurt the company? Embezzling company funds, passing off personal spending as company’s expenditure, instigating employees against each other or against another co-founder are some of them. Does honesty, transparency and reliability rank at the top when choosing a co-founder? If you don’t, you might end up with regret.
Do They have the Same Vision for the Company?
‘Visionary’ is a word that is loosely used by many entrepreneurs on their social media profiles. Well, this is not the same as having a vision for the company, which is another vital question that you need to ask when scouting for a co-founder. What is the motivation for someone to be a part-owner of your company? Does he/she believe in the idea? Did they do adequate homework before jumping to be a part of your idea? Answers to all these questions would give you a legit answer about the motivations of the person.
I write about startups, entrepreneurship and productivity at various portals. I help companies grow their business with Content Marketing by bringing in more leads and with branding efforts. Have interviewed more than 200+ entrepreneurs and am on the lookout for more such interactions.