4 tips to choose the right co-founder | Accelerate! by Synergy

Note: This is a transcript from a video uploaded to my channel.

Why would you want to choose a co-founder? Well, we’re going to get into that in a minute. If you stay until the end, I’m gonna share with you, which one of these four tips is the one that I think is the most important. I have to say that according to a recent poll on Twitter that I did, it is going to be a bit controversial… but we’ll do it anyway!

First of all, as an introduction as to why I decided to talk about this, a quick story. I was having a conversation with a solo founder, a couple of weeks ago. The company is doing well, they’re very young, and still have a long way to go but the potential is super high, since their space is booming. We were talking about the company, their prospects, and their future in general as I’ve known them for a couple of years already. I had thought about the subject before, about the possibility of them having a cofounder, or a second leader, and it was something that they were actually thinking about. So we had this conversation and they were wondering, what I thought about the subject, and how should they go about finding someone. These are the four things that I told them I thought were the most relevant. So let’s get into it.

Tip 1: a complimentary skillset

This is sort of the obvious thing, that everybody thinks about. So what would a complimentary skillset help you with? Well, let’s say you are a technical founder, you’re running a software as a service or, some sort of technology play and you got your tech down. You’re good. It’s it’s all sorted! But you are having some issues with either hiring people, managing the company’s finances, or whatever it is. There is some area that you are not as comfortable dealing with, or handling. Of course, you can hire somebody, -and you most likely have had to hire people in that area- but, sometimes having someone who is part of the leadership team -and not an employee-, having someone in that area, within the leadership team can add an extra pull to that function. You might want to do that.

Or on the flip side, you may not be a technical founder and be running a tech startup or even a mining company. You may be a financial person and you’re running a mining firm, a mining explorer and you’re not a geologist. You know, there are so many potential reasons.

So that would be the complimentary skillset. Finding someone who can add something that you don’t necessarily have an extreme depth of experience in, because most likely you do know a lot about it, but it’s not your main profession -or your degree, if that is applicable-.

Tip 2: You know them really well

This is someone who you’ve been friends for a few years or been, workmates in another company, you, or your families, know each other, and you know their values, you know how they react in different circumstances, in front of different situations, and things that happen, and they have a work ethic that you understand and appreciate and that is similar to yours.

Tip 3: Networks

It would be somebody who has, either current access or the potential to access, large relevant networks for the company. And when I say relevant, that means that these have to be networks that make sense for your company.

Doesn’t have to be someone who’s just, let’s say a celebrity, and they don’t necessarily have a strong network in the tech field that your company is working in. So has to be relevant to the company in particular. It can be for potential clients -especially if you are in the B2B space-, it can be networks, client networks or customer networks of some sort or, associations, and that sort of thing. It can be for hiring, so it can be someone who is really well connected to the type of employees that you’re going to need in the future, someone who’s going to connect you to potential contractors, potential, people or companies that are gonna provide you with supplies and services that you will need, if your business has a very strong reliance on a lot of large contractors or, the contractors are a relevant portion of what you do.

Tip 4: Access to capital

So you may see that there are so many venture capital firms, accelerators and, there’s a lot of activity in groups that can help founders get to capital, or understand how to raise capital, understand how to manage having investors, and that sort of thing. You can find a cofounder that can help you navigate that with more ease, because they either did it before, or they do it all the time.

It doesn’t have to be someone who is full time, an executive. That is something important to point out, particularly with this tip, in terms of access to capital.

All right, so those are my four tips.

And, finally, the tip that I find, the most important. In my view, and with my experience, having run a few of these companies and having had some brilliant experiences and some not so brilliant, for me, the main thing is knowing these people really well. Significant problems will come when you are running an early stage firm. And I find that, having someone who you already trust, who you already know, the good and the bad, is gonna help shorten a lot of them. A lot of time in terms of things and processes that you’re going to go through, and in general, it’s going to help you. It’s going to help you move faster. and with a firmer step, if you will. We’ve had a few experiences where, it didn’t go well because of that.

All right. So the people on Twitter didn’t agree. So the poll that I had, over there was mostly leaning towards the skill set, which is very, very, very understandable.

And that is it from me, today. If you enjoyed this piece, consider following me here or, even better, on Twitter, where Iโ€™m most active. Until next time!

I’m Paola Rojas. I write about emerging startups and small-cap stocks, in natural resources (mostly mining) & tech. I am a corporate advisor & investor, and CEO @ Synergy Resource Capital. 

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