Get All Access for $5/mo

Relationship Between a Founder and an Enthusiast – A Newfangled Perspective Research shows that people put more into relationships when they share common values and personalities

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


It takes a lot of water to make electricity and lot of electricity to make water. Both the elements are distinctive in their qualities but require each other's collaboration to provide greater goodness to the society. Water's nature is to flow and take the shape of the body around, similarly an enthusiast also has to adapt to its founder'sstate and personality to play the role of a coach, mentor, counsellor or manager based on the situation. Electricity runs, and likewise a founder's journey is a marathon he should be on the run to make his idea succeed.

The Spark

When water and electricity work in tandem with each other's abilities, there is a SPARK generated. This spark is essential to produce power. On similar grounds, an enthusiast and a founder need to build a strong bond and understand each other's strength and abilities to transport the value from the engagement

Runs out of Power

Many a times there are power failures and breakdowns when the energy supplies have run out, in such situation a refuel is required and water's energy is used in regeneration. In the same way, the founder might feel exhausted, dejected, lost and directionless several times on his journey, that's when an enthusiast's infectious energy, experience and knowledge would help in recharging the founder's batteries and bring him back on track.

Value the Value created by Water

Water plays a significant role in power generation and thus it's vital to optimize its use and value its role in generating electricity. Water preservation and its judicial usage is the key for a long run. This also applies on the Founder and Enthusiast relationship, it is important to value the value created by the enthusiast and compensate him for his time, energy and knowledge to keep motivated to run along with you.

Conflict to Collaboration

Though water and electricity are conflicting elements, they complement each other well as water is a good conductor of electricity. However, there are misfires and short circuits that erupt occasionally which require immediate attention and settlement. Correspondingly, founder and enthusiast might have conflicts, issues or difference on opinions with each other or with a third party, these concerns must be identified and resolved by working on it collaboratively.

Rapport Building

Research shows that people put more into relationships when they share common values and personalities. If you suspect the founder isn't getting anything out of the relationship, it might be because you're asking her to chat up a brick wall or it's simply not a good fit. Work towards making your relationship reciprocal by asking insightful, personal questions, sharing personal stories of your own, and offering to help whenever possible. Do everything you can to make sure your relationship is a two-way street, and you'll uncover a much more animated, energetic enthusiast. Develop a relationship of trust. Relationships need to be built before any effective engagement. An environment of trust and mutuality must be established. It is important for the founder and enthusiast to become acquainted with each other.

  • The enthusiast should learn about the founder's educational background and experience, and share information about his or her own background and experience.
  • The enthusiast can then continue to build upon the founder's strengths, needs, and goals throughout the period.

Phases of the Founder-enthusiast Engagement

  • Engage with a Start-up Enthusiast–Initial engagement where the start-up seeks guidance and support from the enthusiast based on his interest and ability. This phase the start-up and enthusiast check their comfort levels and come to a mutual agreement. This phase the interaction usually revolves around work tasks.
  • Building a base- Begin with a getting-to-know-you session. The enthusiast helps the founder identify his or her professional needs and goals. The enthusiast should learn about the founder's educational background and experience, and share information about his or her own background and experience
  • The middle period - The enthusiast continues to build upon the founder's strengths, needs, and goals throughout the period. Both the parties continue to benefit from relationship; the emotional bond strengthens and more frequent interaction opportunities occur. However, at the end of this phase the relationship plateaus.
  • Loosening the relationship – In this phase the enthusiast and the founder experience a dip in their relationship. Thisoccurs after significant change in roles or emotional experiences within relationship. There is slowdown as thestart-up has possibly outgrown the relationship.
  • Redefining the relationship- This phase is extremely vital to nurture the relationship. An indefinite time period for relationship to transform to become more peer like. This may begin with uncertainty or discomfort that transforms into gratitude & possible friendship and finally a peer status is achieved.

(Fig: 1 Graphical representation of the relationship transition)

The history of power/ electricity generation has marked several milestones. Advances in technology opened upnew realms for power generation. It started off with Hydropower energy, which used water as a resource to generate electricity. With some developments Natural gas was used to produce power by burning natural gas in a gas turbine and using residual heat to generate steam. Later nuclear fission heat created from nuclear reactors was used to create steam.

Like different turbines are required to tap into different energies to generate power, start-ups also require different mentors to tap into their potential at different stages. While starting-up the founder's requirements are different and the support he needs changes as the start-up evolves and enters the market. The guidance and support required while expanding and scaling up is also exclusive.

In conclusion, a mentoring relationship is unique and profound. It evolves with time based on the requirements and interests of the enthusiasts and founders.

(Fig: 2 Graphical representation of different kinds of electricity generation and its correlation with start-ups)

Muthu Singaram and Prathistha Jain

CEO, IIT Madras HTIC Incubator and Director at Vibazone Private Limited

Muthu Singaram is the CEO of IIT Madras HTIC Incubator. And, Prathistha Jain is the Director at Vibazone Pvt. Ltd. 
News and Trends

Dee Piping Goes Public: Announces Initial Public Offering

Dee Development Engineers Limited, commonly known as 'Dee Piping,' has announced its transition into a public limited company.

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

News and Trends

Unifi Capital Launches Two New Funds at GIFT City

Rangoli India Fund and G20 Portfolio are the two new funds launched by Unifi Capital, via its subsidiary UIML in GIFT City, to expand international investment opportunities.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.


I've Grown a High-Performing Team in Just 2 Years — Here's are 5 Growth Strategies I Learned

A team's strength lies in its people's individual skills and how they synergistically come together.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.