Dear SaaStr: What Are the Qualities of a Good Co-Founder?

Q: What are the qualities of a good co-founder?

My list:

  • Same values and commitment as you. No matter how smart you both are, you also have to share the same values and commitment. Are you both 100% all-in? Are you both willing to go 18–24 months before initial product market fit? Are you both willing to do what it takes to win? Are there ego issues around titles? Is one of you willing to go full-time, but the other isn’t yet? If you aren’t aligned here, it won’t work out.
  • At least one key skill the other doesn’t have. Someone has to sell. Someone has to be the #1 engineer. Someone has to be the face of the company. Someone has to raise the money. Some overlap here, even a lot, is OK. That worked fine for Google. But one of you has to lead on Customers/Sales/Marketing and the other likely on Product/Engineering for it really to work. Most products do not sell themselves.
  • Better recruiter than you. In the end, it will all be about attracting the best team possible. If your co-founder is a better recruiter than you, this is an immediate upgrade.  Ideally, you are both strong recruiters in different areas.

A bit more here: A Simple Commitment Test For You And Your Co-Founders | SaaStr

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)

Published on August 15, 2021

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