Advice on choosing co-founders

The following advice on choosing and working with co-founders originally came from Noam Wasserman, author of the legendary book Founder’s Dilemmas:

  • Bringing in co-founders who have the technical expertise, sales background, or social connections that you lack;
  • Creating a more diverse team gives you access to a wider, more diverse network;
  • Avoiding co-founding with friends and family; the eventual conflict far outweighs the value.
  • Creating a clear division of labor helps accountability and creativity to flourish.
  • Having a plan to address problems. Don’t avoid conflict; make a plan for it.

(Quoted on a Profit Guide post, Build a team of founders investors will love.)

It’s a solid list but misses something hugely important. The best founder teams we have seen here at Forward Partners have had a deep and obvious mutual respect. A startup is a long and sometimes difficult journey and mutual respect gives relationships the strength to survive turbulent times.

  • Gavin McNally

    Nic if i don’t have connections with possible co-founders, what would be the best way to find one? I understand that you can go to events designed for this but unsure of this route. My idea is a social network for sports & fitness with added eCommerce, given this is a massive difficult task most possible co-founders i think would look for something easier to crack. Would you recommend more than one co-founder?

  • Hi Gavin,

    I think your choices are to go to the events you mention of build an early version of your site first and use that to attract co-founders from a position of strength. We help founders with the latter route.

    If you’d like to talk with us reach out via our website or email me with details of your plans, or alternatively you could apply for our next office hours on April 8th.

    Thanks for the comment.


  • Gavin McNally

    Nic i would like to email you details of my plans directly, my email is [email protected] if you can drop me a line first so i can reply. Many thanks.