How Many Founders are Needed to Build a Startup?
We often saw three-founder startups are the most common practice, consists of one hipster (as CEO), a hacker (as a CTO), and a hustler (as a CMO). More is too complicated indeed, and there are three roles that absolutely need to be filled. On contrary, if more founders were necessarily needed then why not? Because more people could bring complimentary skillsets to each other.
Venture Hacks claimed that two-founder startup is optimal. The pros are that you just have to establish one solid partner relationship, there’s a clean division of roles and responsibilities, and there are minimal politics.The cons are, if those two can’t get along the company is effectively dead.
And then CEO of Touchstone Semiconductor Brett Fox claimed that worked at a company that had nine founders, he argue that rather than worrying about whether you have too many cofounders, why not worry about whether or not someone is cut out to be a founder.
In short, it’s not about how many people hold the title “co-founder”. It’s about how many people form the core of the company and are dedicated leaders (not necessarily organizational ones) for the long term. The people come first; the “number of founders” comes second. Beyond this, the other problem to delve into is what you and your team are trying to accomplish.
For example if the goal is to build a founding team of specialists who compliment each other, you might need three, four, five, or more co-founders. Either way, it’s not black and white. What then becomes a potentially more interesting question is what the labels of “founder” and “co-founder” really mean. So, there is no straightforward answer to the number of founders. The reality is that every founding team must make a decision, and that is a decision of what it means to be a founder/co-founder, and why it matters to the company and the individuals involved.