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What is the right number of cofounders?


Currently I am looking at building my founding team and partnering up with skilled folks around a tech startup idea.
However, I am struggling with the right number of co-founders that I should involve with this project early on.
Based on your experience and what you have seen what is the right number of founders to start a tech business?

16 Replies

Ken Berkun
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Ken Berkun Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
Based on my experience 4 is too many.
Rob Gropper
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
there is no right number. the key is right mix of skill sets and the right mix of personalities and i would say the latter is the more important of the 2. In my experience the number 1 cause for startup failure is cofounder conflict. That said the chances for personality conflicts increase as the number of cofounders goes up. More than 4 is unusual. Obviously your dilution increases as the number of cofounders increases.
Chip Hazard
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Chip Hazard Advisor
General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners
I wrote about this question here ( https://hazardlights.net/2014/04/23/getting-the-co-founder-decision-right/), but the short version is that founding teams of two, with complementary skill sets and a shared vision, seems to be best.
Joe Albano, PhD
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Joe Albano, PhD Advisor
Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.
What are all of the capabilitiesyou will need to discover and validate your business model?

Which capabilities are "core" to the creation of your value proposition and which can be "outsourced" or contracted?

What is the number of people you will need to embody all of the core capabilities?
Gopi Mattel
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0
Gopi Mattel Advisor
Director, Chennai Area at The Founder Institute
As i see the many startups I mentor, I find that three is the best number for a startup. Ideally, the roles should be a Tech/ Marketing / Sales. One of these should also be the visionary/strategic individual.
Steven Bonacorsi
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Steven Bonacorsi is the Founder of the Lean Six Sigma Group, President of ISLSS, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt
In my experience 2-3 roles initially
1. Marketing/Sales
2. Operations/Technical
3. Personnel
Shams Juma
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Shams Juma Entrepreneur
Founder
This varies, but the rule of thumb is 3. You need vision (CEO). You need marketing (CMO). You need product (CTO)..
Tarun Razdan
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Tarun Razdan Advisor
Software Engineer ( Project Lead ) @ HT Media
As what i've been seen while mentoring these startups in technology and acting as their project manager, people now a days are moving towards making a more clear distinction in the position from the starting. For e.g. If it's your idea and you are the person looking out for people then you should be the founder and others can be co-founders. Also in my opinion 3 people would get you an unbiased view, but at the same time there might be chances of your opinion not being considered. I would suggest hire a good CEO or Product manager or a person having faith in your idea. This way he will suggest you what would be the best thing for your company.
Michael Barnathan
3
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Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
Focus on skills and how many cofounder-material people you can actually bring in (suitable cofounders are actually quite rare, more due to lack of founder-level motivation and initiative than lack of skills). Don't worry about the number. Sometimes the answer is "just start it yourself and look later because you have to get the ball rolling".

If you're missing an essential skill on the team, that's when you need to bring someone in.
Suresh Kumar Neti
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0
Software Outsourcing Advisor | Custom Software & Product Development
I think 2 or 3.
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