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How important is it to have a co-founder when applying to an incubator?

I've recently been looking into applying to some incubators and accelerators as a solo founder and it seems that these programs prefer 2 if not 3 founders. Is that the case?

7 Replies

Eric Rogness
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Eric Rogness Entrepreneur
Technical Product Manager
I'm not aware of any accelerators that can stomach a single founder. That being said, focus on what will help your business be successful. If your business will do better without bringing a cofounder on at this time, then do that and find other ways to connect with mentors and investors. If your business could benefit from the experience, social, and financial capital that a cofounder could bring to the table *and* that means also the opportunity to participate in an accelerator, then bravo, pull the trigger and get yourself a cofounder.
Michael Barnathan
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Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
You'll usually have better luck with a co-founder on board, but I've seen people get into accelerators as single founders. If you have tech. chops, there are also programs like "Hackstars" (http://www.techstars.com/hackstars) that will allow you to get into certain accelerators on technical skill alone.
Helen Adeosun
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Helen Adeosun Entrepreneur
Co-Founder and CEO of CareAcademy.co
MassChallenge! There are a couple of us out of 128 companies and a lot work with contractors :-)
John Pettus
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John Pettus Entrepreneur
Founder at Fiskkit
That has been my impression. You don't want to waste your time and energy on a low probability application.

That's why I'm looking for people with solid tech skills to join me in SF. You're not really back-able until there are two of you.

I totally get that there are exceptions-- but they're definitely exceptions. And they prove the rule.
Candice Hughes
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Candice Hughes Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO & Founder Hughes BioPharma, AdapTac Games, Digital & Mobile Health, Biotech, Technology Scout
The accelerators I have pitched at want at least 2 co-founders to gain admission. Investors want the same- teams. Options to demonstrate your capabilities may be to plow ahead and build your prototype without a co-founder (ie: demonstrate that you can get the job done). And/or find someone who will act as an advisory "co-founder" as part of the decision process toward deciding if you want to create a legal partnership or not. This is a small step that shows the accelerator you can attract people to your venture. You will still need to show you can move forward on the prototype.
Andy Keil
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Andy Keil Entrepreneur • Advisor
Building smart products at Waldo Photos
Having just hung out with the guy and talked about the experience at length, I'd suggest reading about Jon Crawford's experience with Y Combinator and how they treated him when he showed up as a single co-founder:http://joncrawford.com/post/20378314843/how-i-got-kicked-out-of-y-combinator-and-then-raised
Charlene Brown, MD, MPH
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CEO & Founder, ReciproCare, Halcyon Fellow
Halcyon Incubator
http://halcyonincubator.org

Most are solo founders, but your startup must be social venture.

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