Co-founders or no co-founders

For years, I really wanted a co-founder, but I never seemed to find the right one.

That didn’t stop me from moving forward, of course, but the farther you get, the more difficult it is to invite another “late co-founder” into the game … What percentage should they get? Should they put in money? At what valuation? Do they have money to throw in? Will they feel like they’re really influencing the vision and direction? And so on.

Yet, at the back of my head, I still had that story about how I needed a co-founder, a partner.

But maybe I don’t. I think it’s yet another case of doing what’s right for you and your business, your life purpose, your contribution to the world, not doing what everyone else does or what the world tells you to do.

In just a few days, I’ve received the message from three different sources that a co-founder may not be the right thing for me. First, there was my intuitive reader, Deb Mangelus, who flat-out said “I think getting a partner would be an error at this point, it would only serve to dilute and delay things”. Okay, message received.

Then yesterday I was on the phone with Justin Kan, who graciously offered his time as part of a campaign for his new company, Exec. We talked about Y! Combinator, which I is a big fan of (he’s been through it multiple times), and which he suggested I apply for. I told him how I’d heard about their bias against solo founders, and he said it wasn’t a problem, they did take in solo founders, especially if they were themselves programmers. And since I already had a profitable business, so much the better. That was number two. (Just sent in my late application for the summer Y!C program - wish me luck!)

Then today I was reading Hacker News and came across this story about how to make the most of your exit (not that I’m going for an exit, I’m playing for keeps). Right up top is this quote from a blog post by Mark Suster:

Everyone obsesses with dilution from investors. The biggest dilution comes from co-founders. If you have 2 co-founders, you’ve diluted 66% before doing any of the hard work. Start by yourself and bring in co-founders for smaller stakes once you’ve got initial momentum. Unconventional wisdom, but the most economically practical advice you’ll ever get. 

See? I currently own 100% of my company. So there’s absolutely no dilution there. Maybe I should keep it that way.

Deb told me last month to keep watching for things that happen three times, as they’re often messages from the universe.

This seems to be one of those messages.


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