The Curse of the single founder
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* This article is a snippet taken directly from Andy's Blog Post titled "My Street MBA: Lessons learned from Real Time Win
* His LinkedIn Profile gives a view of his tremendous accomplishments as a serial entrepreneur.
** Thank you Andy for your willingness to share this content with the world!
I say “we”, but I really mean “I”. The Curse of the Single Founder.
I was blessed to have an amazing support team around this startup. Active, engaged and responsive investors in Michael Jordaan & Mike Ratcliffe and an advisory network including Josh Adler (Founder Everlytic, Director of Entrepreneurship at the African Leadership Academy), Brett Commaille (AngelHub Ventures) and Keet van Zyl (HBD / Knife Capital / AFDAWN) among others.
But I didn’t have a co-founder. And I will never, ever, do another startup without one.
In 2012, this idea and passion for a retail discovery app started to form. I laid down the first PowerPoint slides. Sketched the first notes. Overestimated my first market size. All the good stuff.
At that stage I had a choice: sit around and wait for a co-founder (something I’ve battled with my whole life) or just HTFU and get going. I chose the get going option, of course. And I have no regrets about it.
But the life of single founder is tough and lonely. Amazing businesses are built with people not with products. The chemistry between founders and early staff is probably the single most critical factor in its success. When things are going well, you need people around you to high five. When things are going badly, you need people to prop you up and help you get up off the floor and keep punching.
I would have moved faster with a co-founder/team. I would have failed faster at our first 4 business models with a co-founder/team. And those are both critical factors. I’ll speak a little more about this in the lesson around Timing.
Do everything you can to find that support network. Do everything you can to find a co-captain. Whether that means events like Startup Weekend, Incubators, Speed Dating (cough, nerd!) or general Networking events. Cast the net wide. Don't be afraid to ask. Nothing ventured, nothing gained (slipped that one in before I ran out of cheesy metaphors).
On the other side of this argument, just remember that divorcing a business partner is harder than divorcing your wife. Choose well. Look up the word “vesting” - it might just save your life!