How not to lose your own startup

by | Apr 2024 | Start a Company

Is there a better way to start a business than handing over 49% to a cofounder?

Yes, there is.



In this post I described some of the cofounder car crashes I’ve seen. But what’s the alternative?

Answer: Do the first part alone

You wouldn’t hire someone on a salary before it became unavoidable, would you? So why do it with equity that, one day, will be worth millions of dollars?


It’s far better to wait.

Let’s look at the following steps towards launching a startup. Which of these can you not do yourself?

01. Identify a problem to solve.
02. Identify an ideal customer profile (ICP).
03. Make a list of 50 ICPs.
04. Set up calls and interview ICPs.
05. Refine the core proposition / offer.
06. Build a landing page / waiting list / event.
07. Test basic marketing on your ICP.
08. Can you sign anyone up (will they pay)?
09. If yes, how many and at what cost?

Do you really need a cofounder for this? No.

So what’s next?

10. Build and test an MVP.

Just outsource it. You don’t need microservices on day one, and there are plenty of firms out there who can built an MVP (we love Blue Mongoose). In fact, even if you bring in a cofounder, it’s unlikely they’ll build your product themselves anyway!

11. Raise funding?

I get it. Asking people for money is intimidating, but guess what… whether or not you bring in a cofounder….

You will still end up raising all the money yourself

Ask anyone.

So suck it up, do your market validation, go and raise some money, and THEN find a cofounder.

Then you can have all the benefits of a cofounder, while…

> Paying them a salary.
> Giving them 5% equity on a 4-year vesting schedule.
> And keeping control of your company.

At some point, you’ll be glad you did.

Kickstart your business without quitting your day job

DQventures is the only venture investor worldwide to support aspiring founders who cannot afford to give up full-time employment.

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