What your founder A-team should be about!

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June 30, 2017
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July 8, 2017

What your founder A-team should be about

You should choose your founder A-team very wisely- actually as wise as you choose your partner. Based on the fact that you are willing to be an entrepreneur, build your own business and life, you will spend more time with your co-founders than you will with your wife, or husband.

Cofounder relationships are among the most important in the entire company. The number one cause of early death for startups is cofounder blowups. But for some reason, a lot of people treat choosing their cofounder with even less importance than hiring. Don't do this! This is one of the most important decisions you make in the life of your startup and you need to treat it as such.

Combining the strengths, insights, experiences, talents, connections and resources of a few people will give your business a greater chance of success.

Pando Startup Workshop

How to find a partner
If you don't know anyone in your own personal network (someone from your University, Work or just a friend), try to find the same type of people in your 2nd degree connections.  Hopefully, someone you know can make an introduction for you, and help vouch for you and your idea with the 2nd degree connection, in order to get them to trust you and invest their time in helping you.

If your connections do not work, you have no choice but to find a stranger as a co-founder.  You can find them on networking websites (like LinkedIn or Angellist.com).  You can find them at startup networking events (f.e. german events like: Bits & Bretzels, WHU Idealab, EBSpreneurship and many many more). 

You can find them walking the halls of shared startup co-working facilities (like wework).  There are even websites and events specifically designed around matchmaking co-founders for startups (like StartupWeekendTechCofounderCofoundersLab and Founder2Be).

Look for a James Bond
There is an appropriate metaphor coined by Sam Altmann, President of Y Combinator for the perfect co-founder, you should seek for: James Bond. You want somebody on your side who gets things done and who is relentlessly resourceful.

You're looking for a Co-founder who needs to be unflappable and tough. He knows what to do in every situation. He acts quickly, is decisive, creative, and is ready for anything. You need someone that behaves like James Bond more than you need someone that is an expert in some particular domain.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast
People build and succeed your businesses, not the business model or strategy. Furthermore, the culture initiated is created by your Founder team and will shape your strategy as well as further recruitments. Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

That’s why it’s highly recommended to work in founder team which shares a clear vision of the company’s future based on same values, attributes and MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose)

Additionally, a mutually understood commitment level regarding time, deadlines and general work ethic is not only crucial but fundamental. When founding, your number one priority should be your project. All attention and focus must be devoted to it.

Finally, combine your skills to build a dream team
A given business starts with an idea. It’ll change over time and adapt but still be the fundament. But good ideas are not hard to find. Not at all. The key of bringing one of them to success will always be EXECUTION.

The superb coder, the consummate sales guy, the persuasive business developer or the brilliant CFO, will all be guys you want to join your start-up. Of course you do. Execution skills in coding, design, production, sales, finance operations and marketing will bring your idea to fruition.

However, each of these skills is available at a given price. Given enough money it is possible to assemble an all-star team.

But as a matter of fact that you just have to start with your idea and you don’t already have a seed funding of 250k you are forced to focus of some sort of general attributes to cover in your founder team.

3 Key Activity Attributes your Team should cover

Entrepreneur It is not any one of the functional skills above, but rather a combination of vision, passion, leadership, commitment, communication skills and the willingness to take risks. He champions new ideas and move them to commercialization.

Scaler love new stuff and connecting the dots. Takes a model and grow it. Special interest in areas like marketing, design, or even programming.

Optimizer run a scaled business and squeeze for efficiency and improve processes.

Pando team attributes

This graphic shows the 3 Attributes which should be covered in your founder team: Entrepreneur, Scaler & Optimizer. Its purpose is trying to show which attributes and characteristics result into final job positions in your future company.

Starting from top. You as a human being was born as a hunter or as a gatherer. Through society, friends & family and some other influences you get a feeling if you are more on the left or the right side! Think about it!

For example, you are born as a hunter because your father is very extroversive and always taught you to be confident, strong and open. Over the years you might found special interest in financial issues and data. As a result, you feel comfortable in your position as a data analyst in investment banking. That’s great. You moved to the right side and still have competencies at the left.

If you want to start your journey alone and do a One-man-show. Go for it! But please have in mind that you will have to cover all of the above positions. (and many more) Here you can find an article about the topic: Why passion comes first and business second?

Lets’ review the article in a few key points:
  • Finding a really good co-founder is one of the most important decisions you make in the life of your startup and you need to treat it as such.
  • A mutually understood commitment is fundamental.
  • If you don’t know a possible Co-Founder for your start-up from 1st degree connection you have several possibilities to find one. (Platforms like Angellist.com, Techfounders.com)
  • Think of the image of James Bond and his attributes if you’re looking for a Co-Founder.
  • Work in a founder team which shares a clear vision of the companies’ future based on same values and MTP.(Massive Transformative Purpose)
  • It’s elementary for your Start-up to have a complementary skill-set in your founder team.

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