Dear SaaStr: Would You Invest in a Start-Up With 6 Co-Founders?

I’ve done it — once.  At least with 5 true co-founders.  And that startup did end up selling for over $1 Billion (!) — so it’s not a firm “No.”  But it did have the exact issues you’d expect.

The downside? The company was a lot less nimble. Decisions took much longer, more egos were involved, especially on compensation. And strategic decisions took forever.

I don’t think you can really have 6 top decision makers with a founder mandate. 2 works out well, with 1 as the clear CEO. 3 is maybe sometimes OK if you have clear divisions of ownership. 6 is kind of impossible.

But … that company with 6 co-founders? It likely will be a unicorn. It’s getting close.

The reality is, in most start-ups that have 4+ co-founders … several move on as you scale. That’s painful, but perhaps OK.

You can’t have 6 CEOs (no matter the titles). That doesn’t work. But if 6 is the right number for you — exceptional companies make exceptions to rule. Just bear in mind, probably, all 6 of you won’t be there at $100m in ARR.

A little more here on how to plan for some of the 6 maybe not staying forever: A Simple Commitment Test For You And Your Co-Founders | SaaStr

At the Top SaaS Companies, Founder-CEOs Own ~15% at IPO. And Most Co-Founders Are Not Equal (And That’s OK). UPDATED

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