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Co-founders overlaps - can you start with two similar cofounders?

I am in contact with several ex colleagues and peers, who wants to establish a new start-up. However, since their business experience is very similar to mine, we are not sure if it makes sense establishing a new start-up with two similar co-founders, and thus split the equity for no reason, even before the raising the first seed. Do you think it makes sense building a team with two business co-founders with similar experience + another tech co founder?

9 Replies

Neil Gordon
6
0
Neil Gordon Advisor
Board Member, Corporate Finance Advisor and Strategy Consultant
There's significant value in a team that has worked well together in the past. If there's sufficient work to keep the three of you busy, go for it!
Philip S. Miller
0
2
Philip S. Miller Entrepreneur
Founder at Hempies™ Paper Inc.
Obviously opposites attract and similar charges repel UNLESS they spin in a circle with an opposite charge dead center between the two providing balance, but the opposite charge must stay centered ALL the time. That seems like the job of the Chief, not two chiefs. Using Quantum entanglement, if two Atoms are informed by the same laser then two atoms can always be in perfect sync anywhere in the universe however the charge of the particles is always the opposite. That is a complex arrangement, but you might be up to it. Peace. Philip
Joe Albano, PhD
0
0
Joe Albano, PhD Advisor
Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.
Any rewards (compensation, equity, fame, fortune, etc.) should be based on value created, not knowledge or the potential to create value. Clear articulation of expectations and the distribution of rewards are two elements of a crucial set of commuications we call the while we're still friends talk. It's useful to remember that it's easiest to have the while we're still friends talk,while we're still friends.
Vinay Darp
3
0
Vinay Darp Entrepreneur
VP Service Delivery at Curologic Systems Pvt. Ltd.
Agree with Neil...one can't standardize a co-founder formula. If you have a gut-feel that it will work out; and if you find it exciting to work with him - it's bang on!
Thomas Sutrina
0
0
Thomas Sutrina Entrepreneur
Inventor at Retired Pursue Personal interrests and family
Just because you co-founders have done similar things does not mean that you have the same skills and outside experiences and similar interests. Similar experiences does not mean that in the start up you will be doing similar tasks. The question is do you divide up the needs of the start up to people that actually want to do them and will likely be good at them.
Pam Boney, Founder
0
0
Pam Boney, Founder Entrepreneur
Founder at tilt365.com
Take the True Tilt Professional profile and I will debrief the two of you together for free if you like? You may be similar functionally speaking, but you could be a nice compliment in terms of personality dynamics and character. I am the Founder of tilt365.com and hired a CEO that is my compliment and it works wonderfully. We help startup teams answer questions like this using our assessments.
Greg Alkalay
1
0
Greg Alkalay Entrepreneur
CEO / Founder at batteryPOP Kids Network
It makes sense to found a company with someone who understands your space as well you. Happens all the time. But before you get too deep, think through where you need to be in 1 year...3 years...5 years...and have an understanding of what roles you will evolve INTO. If you don't differentiate roles before bringing on more partners, your eventual equity conversations are going to be awkward at best, destructive at worst.
Jason Garber
2
0
Jason Garber Entrepreneur
Software Expert • Engineer • Co-Founder at PromptWorks
I started PromptWorks with two other senior software engineers with nearly identical experience. Nearly 3 years, 20 staff members, and a few million in revenue later, I can say it's working well.

It's a real advantage to have three interchangeable co-founders. We just divide up the work and since there are three of us, there's never a deadlock. Our pair programming background also gave us a leg up on collaboration and giving and receiving control. In some cases zone defense is necessary, so we carve out areas of responsibility for each. Our experience has been overwhelmingly positive, but perhaps we're just incredibly well matched.
Daniel-Flavius Lucica
1
0
Daniel-Flavius Lucica Entrepreneur
CEO/CTO at intellmob
In the book titled "Good to Great" by James Collins, one of the most important data driven key separators in great companies is the fact that they first get "the right people on the buss".

High caliber individuals can develop your company in ways you cannot even imagine, yet most companies hire once and shut the door. Hire for quality, value not for function. If they are both valuable, there's no reason why not get them both on board.

More on the topic here.
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