Keys To Successful Co-Founder Relationships | Startup School - Deepstash

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Why Do We Need Co-Founder

Why Do We Need Co-Founder

Having more than one co-founder help. Many successful startup have similar stories eg Microsoft, facebook . Here are some of the reason:

Productivity: High quality and quantity of work. Moving fast is critical in startup. You can have 2-3 times work done in same time. Also, Having Co Founder helps you see around corner.

Moral support : Cofounder often provide support during hard time and having somone to empathies and balance out your thoughts sometime.


58 reads

Where Do You Find Cofounder ?

Where Do You Find Cofounder ?

People you know

People who are fun to work with

Some places to find are college friends , work place colleagues, friends of friend.

Work on small project with them to know whether to work with. Check during this your working style compatibility and skill sets


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Tips For Co Founder

Tips For Co Founder

Meet in person ASAP

If you are non-tech founder , try to find some tech founder.

Try showing what progress have you made alone. Show your MVP if you have made one. To get clear understanding of each other.


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Evaluating Potential Co Founder (CF)

Evaluating Potential Co Founder (CF)

Goals and Values: why do you want to do it

Stress: How do they deal with stress. How you help each other handle stress. Because there are gonna be stressful times.

Communication: have honest and clear communication. & offer feedback to each other .

Finances : How much time you can go without salary. What timeliness do you have in mind. Is it 1 month, 2 month or 1 year.

Commitment : How much you can work on this project, whether 1 or 2 hrs a day or work on weekends.

Meet in person as soon as possible. So that the communication is smooth.

Don't have CFs for fund raising , or learnable skills.


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Tech Founder Vs Dev Ops

Tech Founder Vs Dev Ops

Dev shops are expensive and are to cater clear deliverables .

As a startup you don't have clear picture sometime and will face lot of issues. Iteration of product can be expensive in that case.

Moreover Dev shops don't care about your customers

Having a tech founder helps.

If you don't have tech co founder , atleast learn to code.


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Trial Projects

Trial Projects

To know compatibility for projects with someone. You have to try to work with them on some project

Take small project and try to work with them on this.

Have a time line usually 2-4 weeks. And check who owns it to the end.

Also , in the end like any choice in life . You will need to take a leap of faith.


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How To Split Equity

How To Split Equity

By default split it equally : this is in view that you are going to go too far on this project and should be equally motivated.

People may feel they came up with idea, so the share should be different . But ideas change over time as you grow.

But if things go well , you are gonna work for 7-10 years with each other. Do you came with idea is such a small thing in this long run.


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How To Work Together

How To Work Together

Communication: have good relationships with CFs . Be comfortable in having hard conversations if required.

Finances : have clear discussions on the finances. How long can you work without salary or how long can you wait for product to go Viral. What timeline is your expectation


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Topics To Discuss In Advance

Topics To Discuss In Advance

  • How much time to work on the startup ?
  • What does being available or response time look like ?
  • How long can you go without salary/ benefits?
  • What milestone to be reached to feel motivated ?


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Building Trust

Building Trust

  • Trust people by default
  • If you say you'll do something, do it
  • Create space for mistakes. Never say "I told you so."
  • Spend time together in person


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Setup For Quick Decision Making

Setup For Quick Decision Making

  • Start with clear title, atleast pickup a CEO.
  • Clear areas of ownership, who is the final decision maker
  • What happens if someone disagrees slightly vs strongly.
  • Setup structure for accountability


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Personality And Communication Style

Personality And Communication Style

  • Keep an eye on mental health of each other: whether anyone of you feel burnout.
  • Know how your co founder reacts when they are under stress : do they attack or do they retreat.
  • Does your co founder speak up when they see the problem or do they bottle it up ?
  • What environment are most comfortable for your co founder to voice concern: whether on walk, over dinner or in meeting.
  • Are you comfortable praising each other or celebrating each others win ?
  • Will you feel attacked if your CF make suggestions about your work ?


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Useful Habits And Structures

Useful Habits And Structures

  • Regular, scheduled 1:1s
  • Bi-directional feedback - both positive and constructive
  • Don't delay hard conversations
  • Engage a coach
  • Avoid personal attacks and normalize failure Argue, but know who is ultimately the decision maker


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In the startup world, finding co-founder is very critical. The following stash provide guidelines to do it effectively. This stash is summary of video of Y combinator .


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