The Ups And Downs Of Starting A Business With A Cofounder

Having a company cofounder, someone to share the burden of starting a new business, can be a key factor in its success. But it’s a relationship that can evolve over time and at various stages of the business journey can become fraught.

In short, starting up with another founder has its pros and cons, as John Cheney, CEO of the CRM software firm Workbooks explains. “The positives are trust; you build trust with people you’ve worked with before, so that’s key, and expectation. You know what your cofounder is good at and what they aren’t so good at, so you can play to either’s strengths and support the weaknesses.”

Having a cofounder can be fun. Often you gravitate towards people you know and like and it’s easier to have fun with those people. It’s a difficult road and you need to enjoy the journey.

But there can be downsides, for example, your cofounder might be the right person to start with, but will they make the long haul? Then there are potential shareholding issues. “If your cofounder isn’t pulling their weight, it can cause a sense of resentment,” adds Cheney. “And what happens if they leave? They still own their shares and so are entitled to dividends, but they aren’t contributing to the success.”

Nevertheless, many businesses launched by teams of founders have embraced both the pros and the cons and gone on to enjoy huge success.

Cybersecurity startup Tessian was founded in 2013 by CEO Tim Sadler, Ed Bishop and Tom Adams, three friends who had studied engineering together at Imperial College London. After graduating they pursued careers in finance and investment banking, and it was here that they identified a problem that needed solving: staff accidentally sending emails, sometimes containing sensitive company data, to the wrong people.

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This Article first appeared in Forbes

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