Saturday, December 13, 2014

Enlightened Entrepreneur - Finding the co-founder

One of the most important aspects of a startup is identifying a right co-founder.  I have come across serious discussions on co-founders, and even  job descriptions of co-founders!  What is surprising is the qualifications are very specific, and as if co-founding is a role to be executed.  There are few very important aspects of co-founding which should be the basis of the search.

  • Vision - it might be the founder's vision;  but if it does not turn into a potential co-vision, or if the interest is not innate, then the co-founder will have basic differences in terms of how the organization will grow.  The vision is not at a product or singular proposition level ( unless the business being started in a one-trick-pony), but at an overall agreement that the vision of the co-founded organization has to be a synchronous, long term one, and not myopic. 
  • Passion - This is the second most important aspect.  Passion for driving the vision, in terms of positive contribution, being a sounding board,  deep diving and involving in problem resolution and when it demands - be a hand on the deck.  
  • Commitment on time and resources - Either capital, skill or energy, is what a co-founder brings to the table.  This commitment is necessary for the co-founder to be a partner; even the term sleeping partner, has a worst case liability of satisfying legal norms, or a dead-pan investment.  
  • Complimentary Skills:  Identification of specific roles and responsibilities of the co-founder - typically the co-founders own some function, and the skills attributed to the co-founder is complimentary to others.   In short, all the founders together make the organization complete. 
  • Chemistry:  It is important to recognize personal and professional space between co-founders.  Co-founders may have different lives, or they may even be spouses.   There are organizations that are family driven; and the issue is being too close.   On the other hand, there are people who get to know each other as they start business, here is the case of being too far - that the trust is never truly established.  
  • Role:  Usually the organization roles are divided into - visionary, executioner, problem solver and builder.  These four roles have to be identified,  one person can don multiple roles.  But a clear identification of the role vs person. 
The above aspects affect the organizational business, revenue and operational plans.  The clear definition helps the long term success of an organization.   Wish you all the luck to find the right co-founder!

- Ashok Subramanian
(C) Cherunathury Tech Ventures 2014


At December 13, 2014 at 8:47 PM , Blogger Ashok Subramanian said...

One of the most important aspects of a startup is identifying a right co-founder


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