January 18, 2015

The Science and Art of Finding a Co-Founder

Extract from INSEAD Prof. Vissa Bala's article in the Economic Times:
While complementary skills and social capital matter, it is good to remind ourselves that the entrepreneurial journey is fraught with uncertainty. When times are tough and there is no light at the end of the tunnel, the founding teams that persist and press on regardless are the ones with shared values. So it is critical that your co-founders are as passionate as you are about the opportunity or dream that you are pursuing; that your co-founders share with you the same convictions about what your venture stands for and how you build it.

...Shared values make it much more likely that the founding team builds chemistry and trust; these elusive qualities are essential so the team can handle the pressure cooker environment of a start-up. You have to ask yourself: Can I survive being in the same room together with this person for 72 hours at a stretch to handle a crisis, without biting his or her head off? Because if there is one thing we know for sure about building a growth venture, a crisis that will require long hours at work may be lurking around the corner, just when you least expect it.

...Given that it is difficult to find a co-founder who is a perfect match on every criterion, it is often better to run with a 'good enough' match and execute a founders' agreement or a shareholders' agreement to govern the principles of the relationship.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.