Starting up, Thoughts

Why you need a co-founder

Here are some hard truths about why you are not starting up because you need a co-founder to get things moving. These observations are made based on my co-founder search and from what I heard from others needing a co-founder.


You are insecure

Finding a co-founder was becoming an excuse for my lack of action. I was insecure about my idea, whether is it really stupid because nobody wanted to be part of it. It seems like I needed someone else to boost my esteem.

You must have faith in yourself, in your startup. Else, don’t start up.


You want free labor

Most people need a co-founder with skills that they don’t have. Somehow it seems like an excuse because they are unwilling or unable to fork out the money to hire someone to get things done. So with a co-founder, you get to save the money otherwise spent on outsourcing. My need for a co-founder diminishes drastically after I’ve gotten a grant.

But you must remember that money can be earned. How about taking on freelance projects or find a job (that you may absolutely hate) just to finance development?


You are not committed

You have no time to work on your startup or have no time to learn how to develop your startup. That’s probably because you have a job that you cannot quit or bills go unpaid. That’s perfectly fine. I had a job early half of last year before quitting for good, which is why Learnemy is a year old but developing so slowly.

But you have to be honest with yourself that if you’re in this situation, you’re just not committed to your startup. With this revelation, you might want to rethink if you want to go on this startup path.


Note: Point #2 and #3 do not contradict. In a startup, you either bleed cash or time and it’s usually BOTH cash and time. Getting a job just to put money into a startup is a commitment too.


No man is an island

You say, “but no startup can survive on a one-man team!” You’re right. But what you need is a team, not co-founders. Your users are not going to care if John, Tom and Rob has equal amount of equity. They care if your startup is solving their problems.

Your job is to give them the solution.


Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.


3 thoughts on “Why you need a co-founder

  1. Pingback: 5 things I learned as a young, female, solo founder who can’t code | e27

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