Do I need a co-founder?

May 4, 2021

Do I need a co-founder?

by Matthew Peng, CRO, DoubleRule

It’s a hefty decision, and not one to be made hastily. You’ve either already started a business or you’re thinking about starting one, and you’ve realised that you will need help.

The question is, where is this help coming from? Hiring someone to join you instead may entail resources you aren’t prepared to allocate upfront while trying to grow your business quickly, therefore, finding a co-founder just may be the right course of action.

That’s what I decided to do for one of my own business ventures, and I’d like to share how I undertook this process in the hopes that it might serve as a guide for those of you considering the same.

How to Find a Co-founder

To begin with, I didn’t want to have a huge pool to choose from, and formally advertising for a co-founder isn’t something I’d recommend, mainly because you could literally end up with just anybody. 

You want to handpick somebody for the role, that would be complementary to your skillset so start with your networks when you search. In my case, I approached someone who worked in an adjacent industry to myself and who I played sports with socially, so I knew I could work with him in a team setting.

Once you’ve identified your top pick, make sure you arrange to have multiple meetings with this person in different settings to see how you would both get along on a range of topics and scenarios. Make your decision slowly, so as to really get to know this person as a potential business partner.

What to Look For in a Co-founder

  1. Complementary expertise and experience. In looking for my co-founder, I wasn’t looking for someone who was a carbon copy of myself. I needed someone who had experience I didn’t have, and whose skills filled gaps in my own skill set.
  2. Value brought to the business. As you continue your meetings, be sure to ask “What value do you think you’ll be bringing to the company?” Steer conversations away from what you want your potential co-founder to do; rather, find out what this person could be doing as part of your business.
  3. Matching career aspirations. It’s crucial for your new co-founder to have the same kind of drive as you. You’re also going to want to look at what stage they are in life, i.e. the motivations of a young business owner will differ from those of someone more mature. Ask yourself whether you’d be comfortable being co-founders with someone at that stage.

Other Points for Discussion

  1. Networks. Find out what kind of connections your potential co-founder has that your business might be able to leverage. 
  2. Capital. Learn how much in capital or resources this person is able to contribute. 
  3. Business structure. Talk about what roles might be best suited for one another and delineation of responsibilities and how you might settle in times of a split decision. 
  4. Legal. Finally, to make things comfortable for both parties, make sure you agree on how to enter or exit the company and other such details, and that you don’t scrimp on getting professional legal assistance in drawing up a formal agreement. 

These are the points I’ve followed in finding my own co-founder, which I hope will be of some benefit to you. For personalised advice on how to start or grow your own business, I’d like to invite you to book a discovery call with us, today.