November 24, 2005

"One founder usually not enough"

Bangalore-based incubator/early-stage fund Erasmic has decided it will not invest in any company which has just a single founder. Subrata Mitra, Founder & CTO of Erasmic said at a recent presentation at a TiE-Chennai event that this decision was driven by the founders' past experience with their own start-ups plus, given their small fund size ($3 million), Erasmic's ability to take risks was that much lower.

Vineet Buch of BlueRun seconds this in his blog post:
The best tech companies were founded by two people. Oracle, Cisco, Sun, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo ... the list goes on. One is usually not enough, three is acceptable, but having four founders can lead to committee-think - the antithesis of creativity. So, my entrepreneur friend, the first thing I recommend is finding a co-founder who has complementary skills and with whom you are comfortable spending your evenings and weekends. Munjal and I complemented each other perfectly while brainstorming on Ojos (a.k.a. Riya); he had the market vision, I had the tech savvy and process discipline to channel that vision.

As a single founder myself, I agree totally with Subrata and Vineet. From an investor's - and even the company's own perspective - having just a single founder is a dangerous thing for many reasons.

If you agree too, you might want to check out my earlier post, on how to select your co-founders.

If not, please do post your reasons as comments.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.