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Breaking a myth: Data shows you don’t actually need a co-founder


Stashed in: Founders, 106 Miles, YCombinator, @paulg, @davemcclure

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You CAN start a company alone, but should you?

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While the above data from CrunchBase suggests that it’s possible to raise money and secure an exit as a solo founder, that doesn’t mean it’s a fantastic idea. In my opinion, building a company with 2-3 co-founders is probably the way to go. What the data suggests, however, is that if you fail to get a co-founding team together, it doesn’t necessarily mean all hope is gone.

Let’s be frank: There is no denying that starting and running a startup is an extremely stressful endeavor. Having a team working together and challenging each other along the way means that the startup can be more than the sum of its parts. There is also a large amount of anecdotal evidence suggesting that a number of investors will reject solo founders by virtue of not having a bigger founding team, or be a lot less likely to invest without a robust team.

If the accelerators of the world are anything to go by, you shouldn’t go build a company on your lonesome. Dave McClure suggests that being accepted to the 500 Startups accelerator is possible, but not common, while Paul Graham of Y Combinator goes so far as to suggest that solo-founded startups are the No. 1 one mistake that kills a startup. Which, incidentally, didn’t stop Y Combinator and other top-shelf accelerators from accepting a number of one-founder startups throughout the years, including some big success stories like Pebble’s Eric Migicovsky and Dropbox’ Drew Houston (though YC’s Paul Graham eventually had Houston find a co-founder).

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