7 Traits to Look For in a Co-Founder

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Once I began constructing my first firm, issues had been troublesome — the pandemic was at its peak, and my staff and I solely had bootstrap money to hold us for a couple of months. There was an actual threat that our firm would die.

Had I been alone, I might not have been capable of transfer something for the higher meaningfully — I used to be fortunate to have a staff of co-founders to enrich my skills and make up for my shortcomings.

Trying again, I noticed that there have been distinct traits amongst us co-founders that had been essential to push by way of. These are the traits any founder ought to have, and I like to recommend you search for them when looking for a co-founder.

Traits each co-founder ought to have

1. Openness

Search for somebody with mental curiosity and humility in equal elements. Somebody prepared to determine issues out can conquer something. A fantastic co-founder is aware of they do not know all the pieces however is keen to seek out out.

For my staff, this turned crucial once we pivoted from constructing a flashy client app to constructing an outsourcing answer for small and medium companies. This pivot meant giving up a giant a part of our preliminary dream, so it required letting go and getting aware of a very unfamiliar area. Being open to this modification and embracing it made us finally profitable.

Associated: Curiosity Did not Kill the Cat! How Curious Leaders Maintain Your Enterprise Agile.

2. Adaptability

Pivots are nearly inevitable when constructing any tech startup. Nonetheless, these aren’t all the time as consequential as the instance above. Primarily, there are slight iterations within the product, reorganizations within the staff construction, alterations of the advertising strategy, or a slight change within the enterprise mannequin.

instance is the usage of software program whereas scaling: Fb Messenger could be an amazing communication device for a staff of three, however it will not minimize it for a staff of 15, so you must swap to a unique answer.

That is true for nearly any side of an organization, so you’ll continuously change instruments, processes, and even staff members. As an entrepreneur, these slight modifications are a continuing, so any good co-founder should be snug frequently altering issues.

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3. Belief

Coming from a navy background, I’ve a specific relation to belief. In my earlier profession, I needed to belief my fellow troopers with my life — actually. Whereas that is hardly ever the case in a startup, belief is important on your enterprise to bloom. Solely once you belief somebody fully will you allow them to work of their area with out the necessity to verify their work or management them.

You need to belief your co-founders as a result of your lives might be entangled. You’ll spend hours working collectively and affect one another’s funds, reputations as entrepreneurs and extra. A scarcity of belief will severely hamper your effectiveness and may even change into a blocker to total success.

4. Knowledge Focus

Should you have a look at profitable startups, you will see that founders who base choices on information moderately than on intestine emotions. Positive, individuals could have some success following their intuition with out dependable information. Nonetheless, ignoring actuality and never measuring standards related to the speculation will doubtless do them a disservice in the long term.

I’ve discovered this the onerous method as a CMO working social media adverts: I used to ideate and choose advert pictures based mostly on my notion of what our prospects may discover interesting.

Sadly, our advert success was mediocre, so I outsourced advert creation to a distant supervisor. Solely along with his strategy of rigorously testing quite a lot of pictures did we lastly acquire robust traction and attain a possible return on funding.

Folks conscious of their biases, prioritize information over their intestine feeling, ask the best questions and gather significant information are invaluable additions to a founding staff.

5. Gross sales acumen

A founder doesn’t must have a background as a salesman, however they need to be good at promoting. As an entrepreneur, you all the time promote to prospects, early staff members, buyers, enterprise companions, and so forth.

Not less than one founder (in early-stage firms, usually the CEO) ought to be glorious at promoting since it’s important to get the phrase out about your organization and have individuals purchase into what you’re doing.

When in search of a co-founder, pay particular consideration to how persuasive they’re when speaking about issues they care about. This might be an excellent indicator of their gross sales acumen.

6. Complementary ability units

When in search of a co-founder, it’s simple to make the error of solely contemplating individuals such as you. That is solely human since we are inclined to affiliate with individuals with comparable beliefs, ability units, and so forth. Nonetheless, for a co-founder, you wish to have somebody who’s not such as you.

Consider constructing a enterprise as a relay decathlon, the place racers should divide the assorted disciplines to succeed. To place it bluntly: In case you are a tech genius, discover somebody nice at gross sales and enterprise technique and vice versa.

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7. Grit

Whereas flexibility is valuable in a startup setting, a founder also needs to be steadfast and devoted. It takes lots of ardour to energy by way of the ups and downs of constructing a tech firm, and founders want to stay to their weapons when issues get powerful.

Nonetheless, it is essential to take suggestions under consideration, too. Do not confuse grit with stubbornness — it is important to stick to your imaginative and prescient and hold executing and iterating regardless of setbacks. A fantastic entrepreneur can stroll the wonderful line between persistence and welcoming wise change.


Selecting a co-founder is crucial since it should outline your enterprise’s success (or failure) by a unprecedented magnitude. Ideally, you will see that somebody whom you already know. It is a good suggestion to thoughtfully overview your community and determine buddies, present or former colleagues and classmates as potential candidates.

Do not rush into a choice. Give it time and get to know your potential future co-founder. Belief, adaptability and grit, particularly, take time to judge, and selecting unexpectedly can value you extra time down the highway.

As a substitute, take time to judge your potential co-founder’s traits. Figuring out somebody will aid you assess their character and decide whether or not they carry the qualities wanted to be a profitable entrepreneur.

Associated: Considering of Going Solo? 7 Causes You Want a Co-Founder.

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