Rise of the Solo Founder

Over the years I’ve said numerous times that it’s much better to have a co-founder rather than go it alone. Personally, I’ve started companies with and without a co-founder and the co-founder route is much more enjoyable and achieved a much greater level of success. One of Atlanta’s biggest exits last year, Vitrue, which sold for a reported $300+ million, had an amazing solo founder in Reggie Bradford.

With the Atlanta Ventures Accelerator, the first investment we made was in a solo founder. For the accelerator, we prefer 2-3 co-founders per team, but we’re most interested in building successful startups, irrespective of number of founders.

Additionally, the cost of creating a minimum viable product, assuming potential prospects are lined up, has dropped substantially making prototypes more attainable. So, it’s easier for solo founders to start out independently, moving forward with the startup, and then look to recruit one or two co-founders as progress is made. By getting things done and networking, there’s a greater chance of finding potential co-founders, and the better things go with the startup, the easier it is to find people that want to join.

With more single founder success stories, and lower startup costs, look for more solo founders to emerge.

What else? What are your thoughts on the rise of more solo founder startups?

7 thoughts on “Rise of the Solo Founder

  1. David,

    There has always been and will be, a bias amongst investors to a team of founders and against Solo Founders. Thanks for sharing the details about Vitrue and Reggie.

    I do not understand how a solo-founder can opt-in others as co-founders at a later stage of the venture? They may be senior executives with stock options but that doesnt make them as Co-Founders, does it?


    1. I’m curious about this too. I have not found any data driven analysis of returns between solo founder companies vs. multi-founder companies.

  2. I’ve found it to be more rewarding when you build something with a partner. Having a wingman also helps you get through the moments of doubt or existential crisis that most (all?) start ups face.

  3. A diverse and capable team that functions well as a group is the very best of all worlds.

    Absent this, a solo founder is better than a team that doesn’t function well, especially if the founder has terrific mentors and a voracious appetite for gathering and really listening to feedback.

  4. David,

    This article resonates deeply, especially since I have had experience both solo and with partners. Having partners is akin to having eyes on the back of your head, being able to keep in check your blind sides and getting a reality check on where you are headed.

    Thanks for this and all other articles you write. Always informative, and so helpful for the trep community (especially our local one)

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