Entrepreneurial journeys can be lonely, so finding a co-founder right at the start is perhaps the first foundational block for building a startup. It’s not that a solo founder isn’t any good. But having a founding partner who brings complementary skills and can be an honest sounding board helps keep the journey bluntly real and weed out all the early confirmation biases.
To be sure, having a co-founder doesn’t guarantee a startup’s success. The number one reason cited by many researchers for startup failures is co-founder conflicts. And there are enough examples in the Indian SaaS – software as a service – ecosystem where co-founders part ways after the first few years. The separation is painful primarily, and it can mean an existential crisis for a startup if the founder agreements and transition plans aren’t in place.
Most startups result from former or existing colleagues and batchmates coming together as co-founders. So, there’s already a sense of trust and camaraderie that binds them together. We rarely find a lonely founder looking for a co-founding partner like a chief technology officer (CTO) or chief product officer (CPO). And in such cases, having co-founder agreements becomes even more critical.
In this chapter, we will bring deep conversations with SaaS founders who have lessons to share in putting together a foundational team, starting with the quest for their co-founders and going as far as hiring their first vice president of sales and beyond.