10 Updates
Five Co-Founder Scenarios, Five Different Results

Five Co-Founder Scenarios, Five Different Results

Feb 14 2014, 9:10am CST | by

By Pablo Villalba, founder, 8fit.com . I started Teambox, my collaboration software  company, as a sole founder. Because of this, I have been able to keep a relatively high percentage of the company...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

22 weeks ago

Five Co-Founder Scenarios, Five Different Results

Feb 14 2014, 9:10am CST | by

By Pablo Villalba, founder, 8fit.com .

I started Teambox, my collaboration software  company, as a sole founder. Because of this, I have been able to keep a relatively high percentage of the company (over a quarter even after our $7 million funding round). That’s huge financially. But even with that, I don’t feel real ownership of the cap table.

I have since realized that it’s not all about equity — so I decided to start my fitness app  8fit with co-founders because I want to work closely with people who feel real ownership of the business.

When I built my first few companies, I tried several different approaches to the co-founder question, all of which failed. Here are the five scenarios I went through so you can learn from my mistakes:

1. No Alignment

In my first company, there were three founders, who all had equal parts. We had clear divisions of responsibilities, but also very different visions of what the company should be. One imagined it as a little incubator with lots of mini companies, while I saw it as a consulting firm.

Eventually, only one SaaS project took off, which I decided to lead. As it built some revenue I had to buy off my partners’ equity to reclaim full ownership. The revenue got to covering a salary and — after stagnating for some months — I decided to sell it for just a few thousand dollars.

Lesson learned: If the visions of the founders don’t match, you’ll feel like you’re working alone.

2. No Ownership

Next I tried to launch something more ambitious: we’d manufacture quadracopters to deploy power lines across the country in a clean and efficient way. It involved heavy research and development, legislation, and selling to large energy companies. I brought in partners from each industry and we invested a tens of thousands in the project. I had barely one-eighth of the company, and we hadn’t even looked for outside investors.

As difficulties arose, nobody had a real sense of ownership over the project – it felt like a part-time job to all of us. Because of my inexperience and our funding, legal and technical problems, we simply let the project die.

Lesson learned: Building a company takes all of your creative energy. Look for enough ownership to make you feel a part of it.

3. No Added Value

I was still dying to build a real SaaS company, so I jumped into the first opportunity I found: 49-51 percent partnership with someone who would work for and fund it equally.

I put my life into the project, putting 10-hour days into my first attempts at coding. My co-founder followed it from a distance while keeping his day job and never contributed anything beyond a few forecast spreadsheets. Eventually the project got traction, and I moved to full-time status to raise funds and work on the company. To me, his decision to stay at his job already meant that he was completely out. Soon after that, we closed the company down and I moved on.

Lesson learned: Choose co-founders by the value they add to the company, not just the funding./>/>

4. No Co-Founders At All

Teambox will always be a single-founder company.

My real partners were the early investors and employees who joined us. They got great returns, I kept a high percentage of ownership, and everything worked out well. It’s been a great, fair and financially appealing experience.

However, it’s hard to align people who have different interests. Sometimes I felt alone, or that I missed a certain point of view.

Lesson learned: For support in the early days, employees can often be as good as co-founders.

5. No Investor Majority

It is my personal dream to help others lose weight and get fit, so for 8fit, my goal is to surround myself with people who think of this mission as their own. I want partners who are better than I am. I want to build a billion-dollar company with a small team and high revenue per employee, or fail trying to get there.

I want a close connection to our customers and for the company’s spirit to be embodied by the founders.

Lesson learned: There is no right answer. Funding and co-founders can go hand in hand.

Wrapping Up

Your early choices will make up the DNA of your company. Co-founders can be amazing support, but they’re not indispensable. Avoid working with someone who doesn’t fit your vision just because you need their skills — it will backfire.

Look for cultural fit, talent, involvement and ownership, and don’t worry too much about which form it takes. Happy founding!

Pablo Villalba is the founder of 8fit.com . Previously, he was the founder of @Teambox_app/@RedboothHQ ($7M raised, millions in revenue).

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective , a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
10

5 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Cambodia's Famous Battambang Circus
KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the De ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

5 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Warner Bros. At Comic-Con International 2014
KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was b ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

5 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

The Prince Of Wales Visits The Royal International Air Tattoo
KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

5 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Husse ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

5 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the souther ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

6 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Government Weekly Cabinet Meeting
KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

6 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

6 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Iskandar Johor Open - Previews
JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involv ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

6 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Sche ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

6 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Suffering from anxiety disorder? Try yoga
Toronto, July 19 (IANS) Exercise and relaxation activities like yoga can positively impact people with social anxiety disorders, says a study.
 
 
Salary doesn't decide car usage
New York, July 19 (IANS) Not just income, but taxes that keep fuel costs high and good roads with ample parking space determine the amount of personal car use for people in developing nations including India, a new study shows.
 
 
Fish oil may save alcoholics from brain damage
New York, July 19 (IANS) Omega-3 fish oil could save the brain from alcohol-related damage and dementia by up to 90 percent, a new study says.
 
 
LED streetlight glare most dangerous for drivers: Study
Washington, July 19 (IANS) Do you feel your eyes strain due to the sudden stabs of brightness from street lights while driving at night?
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Assad appoints new Syrian vice president
Damascus, July 19 (IANS) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Saturday appointed Najah Attar as the new vice president, media reported. Najah Attar has served as the vice president for cultural affairs since 2006 and the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Israeli civilian killed in rocket fire from Gaza
Jerusalem, July 19 (IANS) An Israeli civilian was killed Saturday in a rocket attack on southern Israel, Israel's medical services said. A 32-year-old man died from rocket shrapnel, Israeli national medical emergency...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Bhuvneshwar helps India halt England at 319 (Lunch report)
London, July 19 (IANS) An inspiring bowling performance from Bhuvneshwar Kumar led India to bowl out England for 319 and then bat at 11 for no loss in their second innings at lunch on Day 3 of the second Test at Lord's...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
India vs England: Second Test, Day 3, lunch scoreboard
London, July 19 (IANS) The following is the lunch scoreboard on Day 3 of the second Test between India and England at Lord's here Saturday: India (first innings 295 all out) England (first innings, overnight 219/6)...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
MH17 black boxes not found: Ukraine rebel leader
Kiev, July 19 (IANS) Aleksandr Borodai, the pro-Russian rebel leader in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, denied on Saturday that black boxes of the Malaysian passenger plane that crashed Thursday had not been found....
Read more on Politics Balla
 
India trail England by 13 runs at lunch
London, July 19 (IANS) India were 11 for no loss at lunch in their second innings, trailing England by 13 runs on day three of the second Test at Lord's here Saturday. Shikhar Dhawan was unbeaten on 10 while his...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
MH17 crash perpetrators murderers: Dutch media
The Hague, July 19 (IANS) The Dutch government has not yet pointed a finger at the possible perpetrators of the Malaysian passenger plane crash in eastern Ukraine, but some Dutch newspapers seem to have their own...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Myanmar to hold 4th leg of golf tour in Mandalay
Yangon, July 19 (IANS) Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar, will host the fourth leg of the Myanmar Golf Tour from Aug 7-10. The golf tour is jointly organised by the Myanmar Professional Golf Association and...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
England bowled out for 319, lead by 24 runs
London, July 19 (IANS) England were bowled out for 319 in their first innings on Day 3 of the second Test against India at Lord's here Saturday. Resuming at 219/6, the hosts put on 100 runs and lost four wickets in...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
MH17 never strayed into restricted airspace: Malaysian minister
Kuala Lumpur, July 19 (IANS) Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said here Saturday that the flight path of the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was set out by the international aviation authorities,...
Read more on Politics Balla