Types of Start up Founder


5 Types of Start-up Founders

“Do I need a co-founder?” is a question I have often gotten from my clients being a consultant for start-up businesses, followed by “If I do need a co-founder, then who should be my co-founder?” question. If the same questions are what led you here, I am hoping that this post, like how it helped my asking clients, can also help you by pointing you in the right direction.

Let’s begin with the first question which asks if you need a co-founder. Realistically, the answer to this question depends entirely on you – and your sets of skills and abilities.

Typically, entrepreneurs look out for co-founders who can provide the skills the business requires from them, but entrepreneurs lack of or do not possess. For example, I’ve had a client who was a very idealistic man; he had so many great business concepts, but he had a problem starting one of his business concepts, because he did not know how to build products.

In his case, my client realized that he needed to have somebody to help him with the development of the products he has in mind- and I, backed up that realization, as I know, after long hours of talking to him (getting to know his scope) that he can use the help of someone to bring his business ideas into life, ideally a CTO who can focus on the scientific and technological end of his business since his business ideas are computer based technology ideas, including apps, software, and websites, which unfortunately, my client has very limited knowledge on.

Therefore to say, to know if you need a co-founder, you must first assess your qualities and set of skills— your entire business scope. In other words, you’d need to know what type of a business founder you are.


Idealist: You’re the type of founder who starts out the entire business with your own idea. You may or may not require a co-founder to take on the risk and reward of starting the business. Although it is more common that idealist like you recruits a co-founder, then a group to help develop and execute your idea, because a business idea is worthless without execution. And the execution of any business idea is a series of various processes that require various sets of skills and competencies.

Alchemist: You’re the type of founder who got the technical knowledge and skills to create and develop a product. More commonly, idealists look for alchemists like you to help them develop their products. Most alchemists are programmers, scientists and mechanics.

Magician: You’re the type who got the knowledge and skills to market the most wasted products and services and transform them into magnificent, high value products and services. You have the correct lead and perfect timing, but you may not have the technical knowledge and skills to build the product to market in the first place.

The Rock Star: You’re the type of founder who already has an experience starting a new business. It is more likely that your first raising fund from venture capital was successful or your first start-up was bought by a giant company. You have lots of connection and many VC are willing to invest on your new start-up. Unlike the Idealist and Magician, you are not willing to put your eggs in one basket, and you always have a backup plan in case your business doesn’t work as you expected.

Adventurer: You’re the type who currently owns or is working on a big and stable business and willing to invest time and resources to a new idea that is yet to be proven or tested for the first time. You have the guts to face the consequences and challenges encountered when starting up new things.

Big Brother: You’re the opposite of the Adventurer. Unlike the adventurer, you are not willing to take the risk and you’re only interested in investing your time and resources to a business that has a product or a service that is already been tested and already out in the market.

What Is Your Ideal Co-Founder?
Once you know which type of a business founder you are, it will be easy for you to determine your ideal co-founder.

So, basically (but most importantly), what you’re not is what you need to find in a co-founder. Your co-founder is someone who complements you professionally. For example, if you’re an alchemist (developer), look for someone with a business development/sales background as a co-founder. If you’re a marketing type, you’ll need a technology expert to help you develop the product to market. In other words, your ideal co-founder is someone whose strengths balance your weaknesses, and whose sets of skills fill your blind spots.

Aside from being someone who has complementary skills, your ideal co-founder should also be someone

  • Who can adjust to unexpected obstacles, there will be plenty of unexpected obstacles when starting and growing a business.
  • Whom you respect: a respectful relationship between you and your co-founder is a must if you want to stay together and longer.
  • Who can share the values around what you want to achieve for the business.

Now, finding a co-founder is a very difficult task, especially when you have the complementary skills to consider, but it is something that must be done, and it must be done really carefully, because this entrepreneur who you will be working with side by side, whose insights and decisions matter, can either help you make, or break your start up