Of course not.
In the SaaS/B2B world, AppDynamics, which was just acquired for $3,700,000,000 had no co-founder. Zoom, one of the fastest ever in SaaS from $0 to $100m in ARR, had no co-founder. Even Salesforce didn’t really have a true, equal co-founder.
It happens all the time, and every day.
But man, I could never have done it alone.
In her first Unicorn article on TechCrunch, Aileen Lee had a great analysis of how often $1b+ valued start-ups have just a single founder:
So of course, it’s not necessary.
But most of us can’t get there that way. We need help. We can’t code, sell, support and envision a world-class product … on our own.
There’s a reason the concept of a “partnership” came along … most of us do better in them. Even with the drama they almost always bring with them.
One thing can bail you out — the “ex-post facto co-founder”. Many of the solo founder start-ups I know well, find someone that basically acts as a co-founder after the fact. A COO, a VPE, a CRO, a someone that takes such ownership of the company and its vision that she takes over some of the CEO-level burden.
Most of us can’t carry it all on our shoulders.
But you can find that help later.