Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Finding a co-founder for a "mature" early-stage startup

Often, you hear about how two or three or four friends/colleagues got together and launched a hi-tech startup ... and lived happily ever after.

You might also have heard about how VCs "help" a single founder put together the right team- sometimes without the need for the quotes around "help".

I have come across several founders of hi-tech startups lately. Maybe it's because they're all bootstrapping, and maybe it's because the cost of doing a software startup has gone down so dramatically. But the fact is that more and more startups are being launched and bootstrapped all the way to Angel/VC funding, until they become cash flow positive or until they die.

Many of these solo-founders don't want to go it alone. But once you're bootstrapping, you are on a roll, and it's not easy to find someone at a later stage who comes along, say a year later, and shares your passion and vision.

On the flip-side, I see wanna-be co-founders on the sidelines much like the way Angels and VCs do, waiting to see how far you can go it alone before they decide to join you. In other words, they are trying to maximize their contribution to risk ratio - and reap the rewards of being co-founders.

What is the best way to find a good co-founder for a startup that's "early-stage" by the Venture industry's definition, but has come a long way bootstrapping?

I don't know, I'm still looking for an answer. But I've started 'Agile Entrepreneurs' specifically to help founders find answers to questions like this.

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Is the world upside down?

Is the world upside down?
It's a topsy-turvy world out there!