The Difference between a Founder and a Co-founder
Roles, Responsibility and Compensation — Answered
It’s not the same.
Founders are the first people to take a serious risk and invest in their ideas. They believe in themselves, their product, and its potential to make an impact.
Co-founders are equally important but their involvement is not at the same level as that of a founder.
Co-founders are responsible for bringing their specific expertise to the table and for taking ownership of a particular area of the business.
This is where you will need to find someone who can lead and execute on that area of expertise with authority.
For example, if you are building a SaaS business, it makes sense to find someone who has experience in sales and marketing because they will be responsible for bringing in new customers for your product or service. You can find a co-founder by attending startup events, going through local meetups, or by hiring one.
If you don’t have any money, don’t worry! You can still find a co-founder by asking friends or family members if they would be interested in helping you build your startup.
This is also an excellent way to gauge whether your idea is interesting enough for others to want to get involved with it. It also shows that there is demand for what you want to create.
However, make sure that any person who offers help has relevant experience that will help grow your business. Don’t just go with anyone because they offered their help without understanding how valuable their contribution will be towards the success of your business.
How do I know if I need a co-founder?
If you’re in the beginning stages of your startup, you should have a strong understanding of what you want to do and why. You should also have an idea of how you are going to get there.
For example, if you want to build a software product that will help companies reduce their expenses, you should know how this will happen. Do you plan on creating a software product that automates certain tasks? Do you plan on building a service that provides companies with the information they need to reduce their expenses? How will your product be distributed? Are there existing products or services that do something similar and are already selling well?
These are all questions that should be answered before even thinking about co-founders.
If you have the answers to these questions, then go ahead and find someone who can help make it happen.
Remember, your co-founder is responsible for helping execute on your vision and for bringing their specific expertise to the table. They aren’t just investors.
What if I don’t have a co-founder?
If no one is willing to invest in your idea or if there is no one else who can bring their expertise to the table, then start building it yourself. This is not ideal but it is possible.
You just need to be prepared for the extra work that comes with having both roles in the business.
That means learning everything about every aspect of your business because now, not only do you need to learn about building software products or starting a SaaS business, but now you also need to learn about sales and marketing.
It’s a lot more work but it’s also very rewarding when it works out. You might not even need money at this point because all of this extra work can get customers interested in what you’re doing which will allow them buy into what you’re doing right away. Just make sure that everything has been thought through before jumping into anything.
Can co-founders be equals?
Yes, co-founders can be equals. You just need to decide what the structure of your business will be. There are many different ways to go about this but I recommend doing it from the beginning because it will make things a lot easier down the road.
You can decide to split everything 50/50 or you can decide that one person is responsible for sales and marketing while the other is responsible for product development.
However, you choose to do it, make sure that everyone is on board with the decisions and knows what their responsibilities are going to be! If you don’t decide on this at the beginning, it will create conflict later on when there is more money involved and someone feels like they are not getting what they deserve. It’s better to address these issues early on before there is any more money involved.
Should Founders and Co-founders be rewarded the same?
It depends on what you decide at the beginning. If you decide that everyone is going to be equal, then yes, they should be rewarded the same. However, if you decide that one person is going to be in charge of sales and marketing while the other is in charge of product development, then the person who does sales and marketing should be rewarded more because they are responsible for bringing in revenue.
Don’t just bring on co-founders because you think you need them.
Make sure that they can bring something to the table that will help grow your business. You might be able to do it all yourself but having a co-founder who can help you execute on your vision is going to make things a lot easier down the road.
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.