The Co-founder dilemma

Posted by on Jan 27, 2013

Co-founders are on my mind at the moment. One of the events TechHub Manchester (http://manchester.techhub.com) is planning is a co-founder-finder event as this was high on the request list from people who have been in so far.

But then this got me thinking about what you need think about in a co-founder, and how you ought to go about finding them. There are lots of considerations when thinking about a co-founder:

  • Skills fit. Do they do what the business needs?
  • Flexibility. Are they willing to get outside their comfort zone?
  • Commitment. Are they really into doing this?
  • The ‘pint’ test. Would you spend time with them if they were nothing to do with your business? Would you go and have a pint?

I always think this last one is overlooked by too many people. I’ve been involved with many start ups over the years and the ones I hold the most affection for are the ones which happened organically. By organically, what I mean is that is we as co-founders met outside of the start up, got on really well, then an opportunity to do a start-up came along and then we decided to do it.

I’ve always felt this was important because this was the template for the most successful company I’ve done (it ended with a decent exit). But the journey was really hard and through a phase of life when people were getting married, having children etc etc. We don’t work together now (but we would like to at some point) but I count these guys as my closet friends.

Start ups are hard, so why would you do with someone you wouldn’t ordinarily spend time with?