Cofounder with experience or employee with business development background?

We are three of us, studied computer engineering together. I did complete an accelerator, so I am familiar with the fundamentals of businesses as well as financial forecasting and modelling. The other two are more focused on the making the prototype. So now I’m thinking whether I should add a business background cofounder, or will I alone be enough? Of course, I still have a lot to learn, and I am learning. Or should we later hire someone who has a business background.

I only want someone to be a cofounder if they are making a major contribution, and at this time, I genuinely believe a cofounder with a business background won’t be all that helpful, but they will increase the diversity and credibility of our team.

I’d like to know about your experiences.


As a graduate of both economics and engineering who later worked in management consulting and launched a firm that was bought, I can attest that anyone majoring in “business” with less than ten years’ experience or without a track record of success is worth less than a toilet.

The only advantages a business person has are their lack of guilt and their ability to drink. You won’t have any trouble selling if you can master both.

If however, if you experience large amounts of shame and embarrassment when you ask for boat loads of money that you know you’re not entitled to, then yes you need someone with business experience.

Sales is the only thing that matters in the first year. Your startup is a time waster if no one is buying.


Someone who has scaled and sold startups in your industry is, in my opinion, more crucial than someone with a business background. You’ve covered a lot of technical ground and provided some basic starting guidance, but you still need someone who has been through the ups and downs and has a natural intuition for what lies ahead.


As the “business” founder of my start-up I don’t think it is necessary but it is helpful. My opinion is that you need to have someone selling your product before it is ready and the likely trap for a team of 3 engineers will be the inclination to keep building “until it is ready”.

If you’re not talking to your potential customers, you’re not going to really understand what “ready” means. Orient your thinking that “ready” means someone will pay for it, not that it has all the features the co-founders can dream up.


Doesn’t necessarily have to be a co-founder. You can have a CFO who’s not a co-founder but comes with relevant experience.


That’s exactly what I thought @DianneStinger. Someone with good experience can really bring value


What exactly are you attempting to build?

What skills does your team now lack to compete in the market you’re targeting?

Although you can learn sales and marketing, do you really need to?

At your level, financial forecasting and modelling are worth about nothing, and even if you did, hiring a co-founder would not be beneficial.

Look for someone who can assist with sales and marketing if you think you might need it.


It’s great that you have a good understanding of business fundamentals and financial forecasting, and that your co-founders have strong skills in prototype development. When it comes to adding a co-founder or hiring someone with a business background, there are a few factors to consider.

Firstly, it’s important to assess the current needs of your startup. If you feel confident in your ability to handle the business aspects of the company, and your co-founders are able to handle the technical aspects, then you may not need to bring on another co-founder with a business background at this time.

However, if you feel like you need more support in the business area, or if you think that having a business-focused co-founder would help you secure funding or attract customers, then it may be worth considering bringing someone on board.

Another option to consider is hiring a business-focused team member instead of bringing on another co-founder. This could be a less risky and less permanent way to add business expertise to your team, and it would allow you to maintain control over the direction of the company.

Ultimately, the decision will depend on your specific situation and goals for the company. It’s important to consider the skills and expertise that each team member brings to the table, as well as the potential benefits and drawbacks of adding another co-founder or team member.


What do you call something with multiple heads? A monster.

A business cannot be managed by committee. Just becomes ugly.

You have two guys making the prototype. If you can’t help with that, then you, by definition, will become the sales/business/manager guy. Instead of finding a new person, why not become the person you need?

It is valuable to have a technical expert who is also a business-savvy.


I firmly believe that you can learn how to create and sell items. You might not be great at both, but if you’re just starting out, you don’t need a second cofounder. I’m presuming that three of you each own a third of the business. How much more will you throw away from your cut?


Use advisors or contract employees for such situations. Everyone should build the product or the consumer base if you’re in the early stages. You seem to think that some of the latter are necessary? However, salespeople are employable, and they are genuinely driven by achieving sales targets rather than necessarily having equity.


Determine the precise roles played by this businessperson. You might be better suited with a cofounder if it involves fundamental operations like sales, fundraising, product development, etc. By the way, having four cofounders is above normal. You can engage people to handle particular business tasks if you have the money and the management skills to manage them.


I think some background on the product/industry of your business may help. If you’re starting a FinTech, definitely want a business person. If it’s gaming, maybe not.


Using advisors or contract employees could be a good solution to gain expertise in specific areas without committing to a permanent hire or bringing on a co-founder. Advisors could provide strategic guidance and industry expertise, while contract employees could offer specialized skills or knowledge for a specific project or timeframe.

The advantage of using advisors or contract employees is that it allows you to gain the expertise you need without taking on the risk and commitment of a full-time hire. Additionally, it can be a more cost-effective solution, as you can pay for their services on an as-needed basis.

However, there are also potential downsides to consider. Advisors and contract employees may not have the same level of commitment and loyalty as a co-founder or full-time employee. Additionally, it can be challenging to manage and coordinate work with multiple external parties.

Ultimately, it depends on your specific needs and the nature of your business. If you need specialized expertise for a specific project or timeframe, then contract employees or advisors could be a good solution. However, if you need ongoing support and expertise in a particular area, then it may be worth considering a permanent hire or co-founder.


Tech people are notoriously not people and business aware.

Maybe think about the deliverables that you need to new stranger to bring to the table.

Remember that any people capable person will feel awkward. You need all three (People, Business, and Tech) in the pot for success.

So expect to feel uncomfortable. Remember to put things down in writing and also provide for exit plans that don’t kill babyBusiness.

Remember that babyBusiness is a person. Are you considering babyBusiness’s needs and feelings?


No employee compares to a good cofounder. To be successful, you’ll need good staff, but the magic happens when you have good cofounders. With an employee, you are never as perfectly aligned as you are with a co-founder who shares your risk/reward profile. Our success was largely due to our team of diversely skilled cofounders. my opinion.


I think founders especially technical founders often underestimate the importance of a business person in a venture. Ultimately what you are building is a business venture and for that having a business partner is important. However business being so broad and something that can be self taught like most things in this world means that you really need to know what to look for. Ultimately you need someone who can sell a product but more than that as a startup especially you need someone who can define and set a market for you. So in my opinion you do need a business partner but what role that person has in your venture or what sort of partner you need is something for you to decide. It doesn’t need to be a cofounder or even something you look at right away but you will want someone on board before you fully commit to launching and selling the project.


The problem is that even if someone has a business background it doesn’t mean that they will have what it takes to grow the business: selling, marketing, doing whatever it takes and in Paul Graham’s words being an animal at those things. Especially since they might not care as much about the business as you do. So I think you’re better off learning this yourself. But you have to be ok to go 100% on this and not do technical stuff.

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