Co-Founder Characteristics in a Startup

Finding the right co-founder for a startup is one of the more difficult tasks. It isn’t that there aren’t great people that want to go to war with you, rather, getting your co-founder right is one of the most important things you’ll ever do in a startup, right up there with choosing an awesome market, and timing things well. I’m a fan of two total co-founders, sometimes three, but only if everyone really adds significant value.

Here are some characteristics to look for in a co-founder:

  • An owner mentality (e.g. ask how comfortable they are to go without pay or sign a personal guarantee on a line of credit)
  • A skill set that complements the other co-founder (e.g. technical, business acumen, marketing, etc)
  • Aligned personal, professional, and family values — this can be tough, but values hold a team together during the toughest of times
  • Personality fit whereby it’s someone that you’ll look forward to spending a significant amount of time together

A co-founder is one of the most important decisions of a startup and should not be taken lightly. Spend as much time with the person, even working on projects, before jumping in. With the right co-founder, the startup experience will be that much better.

What else? What are some other co-founder characteristics to look for in a startup?

3 thoughts on “Co-Founder Characteristics in a Startup

  1. I think that the characteristics you listed are important for any collaboration in business – thanks, for sharing! As at Coretium we work closely with start up businesses, I will be happy to share this with them.

  2. I totally agree that your to-be co-owner’s skill sets have to be adequately matched with those of yourself and if they aren’t, the results can be catastrophic. Not to mention the personalities have to be in-sync. These are great points when starting up a business, but also make sure you 100% know your ideal target market!

  3. Owner mentality. If all founders aren’t putting in the same effort and risk – a sense of “we’re not in it together” may grow. Generating success and traction will tend to outweigh other areas such as personality fit.

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