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Why you need a co-founder and why it matters

Why you need a co-founder and why it matters Startups

Rome wasn't built in a day, nor by a single person – your startup shouldn't be either.

The problem with moving fast and breaking things is that the debris piles up and you inevitably begin to tread on the shards of broken glass. Unfortunately, certain shards are harder to remove than others…

One of the easiest ways of mitigating these unwanted wounds is to develop an SOP early on and sticking to it. Though the CEO is not always the best person to design the procedure, the COO is, acting as the engineer that keeps the machine running. No startup is a well-oiled machine, and though every step taken is one step closer to optimisation, the right steps should be taken at the right time to ensure growth isn’t stunted. There is no precise formula, but the road to success is most certainly not solely driven by ambition and vision, but calculations that ensure the CEO can utilise their ambition to efficiently materialise their vision. The CEO can’t take these steps when they are fundraising but can’t keep track of where the money is coming from, they can't assess new hires without knowing how much is in the bank, how long that cash will last them, and how reasonable that spend is. 

These measurements and risk assessments avoid spiral mode, the sheer panic one finds themselves in once they discover they are indebted to HMRC, to investors for deliverables and tax certificates, to employees for salary, or to customers for an improved product. This panic is contagious, it seethes into a teams’ psyche spurring doubt and shaken confidence from whence the foundation the company is built on begins to tremble.

CEOs, ask yourself…

  • Am I an ‘ops’ person? Do I know how to file taxes, organise director’s insurance, meet deadlines, and model my company’s finances?
  • Or do I bank on the leadership I exude to investors? The assumption that they will be pleased if I can achieve growth regardless of how I got there? I pulled it off once – does that mean I can replicate the result?
  • Does my passion need a system of checks and balances? Does it blind me at times?
  • Will skipping certain steps now impede me from executing later?
  • Am I capable of meeting my fiduciary duty to investors whilst accelerating the company forwards?

Be a step ahead – or find a partner who can – before a VC stumps you on an operational question and beckons to the rest of their team, “where’s this guy’s COO?”

Your value derives from how you propel yourselves forward, the only way to do so with ease is to structure an operational framework that cushions interruptions to fundraising, logistics, planning and growth strategy. If you feel your answers fell on the wrong side of the above questions, put together a list of where you feel your relevant skillset is lacking and look for that in a co-founder/COO. Utilise your network, communities, your alma mater, and accelerator directories. 

Level up before going at it alone hinders you. 

Andrea Davies
Investor Relations Analyst