One of the most important decisions when starting a business is whether to start it on your own or to bring on a co-founder.
There are several good reasons to build a startup on your own and be a solo founder, including keeping a more significant ownership stake in the business and having decision-making control.
But there are many more advantages to having a co-founder.
In this article, we will take a look at the following:
🔹 The huge benefits of a co-founder
🔹 What to look for in a co-founder
🔹 Where to find a co-founder
🔹 How to make your co-founding team work
By the end, you should have all the information you need to find the right co-founder for your business.
The Huge Benefits of a Co-Founder
Sharing the journey of starting a business with a trusted partner has many benefits.
Your co-founder may have a complementary skill set, can share the burdens and joys of building the business, and will be able to understand you and your shared business better than anyone else.
But there are also several less obvious benefits to having a co-founder.
💡 Investor Support
Venture capital firms often see a single founder as a risk and are hesitant to invest when there aren’t at least two founders.
💡 Better Decision Making
A co-founder can act as someone to bounce ideas off of, bring a different perspective, and critique your decisions.
💡 Risk Mitigation
A co-founder doesn’t just share in the profits, but also in the financial risks.
Having a co-founder increases the size of your network.
What to Look for in a Co-Founder
While there are clear benefits to having a co-founder, finding the right business partners can be challenging.
Starting a company with someone is an incredibly close partnership, and this partnership is fundamental to the success of your business.
So it is necessary to understand what you should look for when choosing a co-founder.
Apart from having a complementary skill set, we think these are the four most important things to consider when choosing a prospective co-founder.
🔹 Shared Vision
You need to know from the start whether you and your co-founder have the same long-term vision for the company.
Your co-founder needs to bring the same passion to the business and have the same goals for your startup as you do.
You need to be able to trust your co-founder completely, so you need someone who is honest and has integrity.
Founders need to be able to fulfil multiple roles within the startup, especially at the beginning.
Your co-founder needs to be able to handle many different types of tasks and have the willingness and ability to learn.
Your co-founder is not an employee but a partner in your business, so they need to be self-sufficient, reliable, and able to function without input from you.
Where to Find a Co-Founder
Given that your partnership with your co-founder is such a close and important relationship, the best fit will typically be with someone you already know and with whom you have shared history.
The best place to find a co-founder is within your network.
A good approach is to make a list of everyone you know who you would want to have onboard as a co-founder.
Meet each of them for a coffee and ask if they would be interested in being your business partner.
If they say no, ask them if they can introduce you to two or three people who they would want as a co-founder and repeat the process.
This way you can reach people outside of your immediate network.
If you cannot find a co-founder in your network, don’t worry. There are several other places where you can find one.
Here are some of our top picks.
1. Startup School’s Co-Founder Matching
Startup School is a program from Y Combinator that teaches entrepreneurs how to start a company.
They have a dedicated co-founder matching platform that matches you with potential co-founders based on your interests, skills, and location.
With over 9,000 co-founder matches made, this is a great platform for finding co-founders.
StartHawk is another platform you can use to find and match with potential co-founders.
They have a large network and a search algorithm that helps to make finding a potential co-founder easier.
CoFoundersLab claims to be the world’s largest network for entrepreneurs, so your chances of finding a good co-founder here are high.
You can also find and match with mentors and investors on CoFoundersLab.
Reddit is one of the largest internet communities and is made up of various sub-communities called subreddits.
One of these is r/cofounder, which has more than 36,000 members and is dedicated to matching entrepreneurs with a startup co-founder.
How to Make Your Co-Founder Partnership Work
Once you have found a co-founder for your startup, it is crucial to ensure the partnership will succeed.
Probably the most important requirement for your partnership to work is to have a founders’ agreement.
A founders’ agreement is a legal contract between founders which defines the roles, responsibilities, and liabilities of each partner.
It’s a bit like a marriage, where you both agree to respect and look out for each other. The founders’ agreement is similar to a prenup. 👀
At a minimum, your founders' agreement should cover the following:
🛑 Ownership structure defining the equity split
🛑 Roles and responsibilities of the founders
🛑 Voting rights
🛑 Capital contribution requirements
🛑 Conflict resolution
Founders’ agreements are legal documents, so you should seek legal counsel when drawing one up. However, there are templates online that you can use to get started.
Once an agreement is in place, you and your co-founder are ready to build your idea into a successful business.
Even though it can be a challenge to find the right co-founder, it is worth having someone who can help you build your startup successfully.
And with the resources available online, the process of finding a co-founder has become a lot simpler.
Once you and your co-founder have started building your startup, you might find that you need additional resources and expertise.
This is where MOHARA comes in; we can function as another early-stage co-founder.
We can bring our ten years of experience and software product expertise to help you grow your business into an established company.
We love to partner with startup pioneers and help them turn their ideas into reality by building businesses that will improve people's lives.
We have been fortunate to do so for multiple businesses across different sectors.
Why not get in touch and tell us about your idea?
Let's be pioneers together!