Should I Co-found? With Whom?

07/28/2016 00:04:17 to watch
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Once a decision is made to found a company, one of the first and most important decisions concerns whether to “go solo” or to form a founding team. There are good reasons to form a team, but it is essential to address the question: with whom should I found?

Suggested Readings

Founders School || Founder's Dilemmas || Should I Co-found? With Whom? || Impact Guide (PDF).

Wasserman, Noam. The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2012. Chapters 1, 2, and 3.

Hirshberg, Meg Cadoux. "For Better or For Work: Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families". An Inc Original, 2012. Chapters 1 and 13.

Higgins, Monica C., and Noam T. Wasserman. Humphrey & Cecilia. Harvard Business School Video Supplement 810-702, 2010.

Wasserman, Noam T., and Rachel Galper. Big to Small: The Two Lives of Barry Nalls. Harvard Business School Case 808-167, 2008, Revised 2012.

Wasserman, Noam. Curt Schilling's Next Pitch (TN). Harvard Business School Teaching Note 812-007, 2011.

Meg Cadoux Hirshberg Balancing Acts

The Startup Spouse: On Risks, Trade-offs and Never Sleeping on the Floor

Questions for You

What human capital do you possess?: Education, industry knowledge, technological expertise... What are your biggest gaps?

What social capital do you possess?: Colleagues, connections, collaborators... What gaps exist in your network?

How has your career prepared you for launching in the industry that you’ve chosen and for the role you are assuming? How has your career not prepared you and how are you going to compensate for those limitations?

What are the biggest limitations on your personal circumstances? Financial, family... How will they impact your founding timeline?

Are you evaluating the business idea and the market conditions clearly, or is your judgment clouded by your passion and confidence?

What are the risks of waiting? If you decide to work as an employee elsewhere for longer before founding, what are you doing to ensure that your lifestyle expenses remain in line with future founding?

Who are your potential co-founders? What are their backgrounds? How are you similar? How are you different? Have you worked with them before in a professional capacity? What disconnects might develop between you?

Questions for Your Team

What gaps exist for us as a team? How and when will we fill them? How do we balance one another? Where don’t we balance each other?

Are we collectively ready to make the leap? How much time and resources can we each contribute?

How can we support one another? How will we ensure effective communication exists between us throughout?

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