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Eli Aleyner & Mani Fazeli - What does it take to find a co founder
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Eli Aleyner & Mani Fazeli - What does it take to find a co founder

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When people mention startup hubs, San Francisco, Boston, and now even New York come up right away. But after returning from the West coast in mid 2011, Eli Aleyner and Mani Fazeli saw huge potential …

When people mention startup hubs, San Francisco, Boston, and now even New York come up right away. But after returning from the West coast in mid 2011, Eli Aleyner and Mani Fazeli saw huge potential in Toronto’s booming startup community. Amazing talent, great universities and new startup accelerators have them believing that Toronto can be part of this short list. That’s why they are Managing Directors of FounderDating for Toronto – working to solve what they believe is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs today – connecting with the right people to get started.

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  • Simple answer: you increase your odds of successAnna Vital of Funders and Founders published an infographic:A 2 man 40% likelier to succeed than a single founderVCs and Angels wish to de-risk wherever they can, see challenges as overbearing for most single foundersNot always about your idea. Sometimes you have skill and drive, and are seeking a great vision to get behind
  • You need the support and added speed to hit milestones before you run out of steam / sweatThe further along you are, the harder it becomesPeople coming on early wish to feel like they own part of the visionThe team is as important as your idea or mockup
  • Why are you an asset to a new venture and co-founder?You have to sell yourself long before your visionHave you raised funds before? Run a business and know the nitty gritty?Do you have deep domain expertise? Are you a full stack eng?Show your skills but know your shortcomings and seek complimentary
  • First your co-workers, classmates (becareful with friends)Hackathons, specific interest groups, Twitter other networksFounderDating 
  • 62% of startups fail due to founding team conflict (Funders and Founders stat)Find out about the person’s motivations and desiresValidate the relationship using light-weight partnerships to startReal learnings become from tough times and needing to shipHackathons 
  • Approach it like you would a VCWrite a press-releasePaint a picture of what the world looks like when you get thereIf you’re technical, let some code do the talking… simple is fineIf you’re business, show mockups, user flows, market analysis, etc.Have a tangible plan, but be open to your co-founders inputVision trumps ideaPlan trumps visionActual deliverables trumps planThe more you do, the more convincing you are
  • What traits are important to me?Level of commitment the person hasPigs or chickensCan we spend endless hours together and be productive?What to look for in a technical co-founder?Technical expertise - hunger to codeDo not approach an engineer like a coder for hireMaturity - Can they grow into the role of technical leader?What to look for in a business co-founder?Can they SELL? Are they all talk and strategy and no execution?What does their network and pedigree look like?How capable are they in cold calling and closing
  • 50/50 vs otherYour stake does not matter much when you succeedIf you have large imbalances, there’s no need to be equal in equityIt’s not about any one person winningVesting schedule for everyoneThings can go wrong, everyone has to be comfortable and happy with the outcome and be alignedThe company needs to be able to survive without youYou need to operate in the best interest of the companyFormalize! (Pre-incorporation partnership agreement Must-HAVE, consulting agreements)Incorporate when you’re ready, don’tget bogged down

Transcript

  • 1. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO FIND A CO-FOUNDER? ELI ALEYNER - @EALEYNER MANI FAZELI - @MCFAZELI
  • 2. ABOUT US  MANAGE PRODUCT @ XTREME LABS  PRIOR LIFE: AMAZON.COM, MICROSOFT  CO-FOUNDER @ BETTEREZ  HELPED START: CONTEXTLOGIC, MANAWA NETWORKS
  • 3. WHAT IS NOT COVERED Incorporation When to quit your job Should I outsource my development? Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalexanderson/5421517469
  • 4. WHY LOOK FOR A COFOUNDER? Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nwardez/3834852526/sizes/l/in/photostream/ It’s a long road to walk alone
  • 5. GET STARTED EARLY You need speed, support and execution http://www.flickr.com/photos/aartj/527502812/
  • 6. BE PREPARED http://www.flickr.com/photos/krypto/14765221/ Show your skill, know your needs
  • 7. WHERE DO I LOOK? http://www.flickr.com/photos/haagsuitburo/2627515964/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Co-workers, classmates, hackathons, FounderDating
  • 8. STRUCTURE OF A RELATIONSHIP Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jay_que/450365066/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Equals, not subordinates
  • 9. DEMONSTRATE YOUR VISION http://www.flickr.com/photos/cgoulao/2206212075/ Have a tangible “plan”
  • 10. WHAT TO LOOK FOR? http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulnomad/7599430328/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Pragmatic coders & savvy sellers
  • 11. EQUITY http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierrotsomepeople/3060137552/ Split, vest, formalize, move on…
  • 12. COMMON MISTAKES Mirror image of yourself Not working together before committing Glossing over goals, lifestyle, cash needs Not picking the outward facing person http://www.flickr.com/photos/savethejellyrabbit/5154067039/
  • 13. THANK YOU! QUESTIONS? ELI ALEYNER – @EALEYNER MANI FAZELI – @MCFAZELI REFERENCES (1) FUNDERSANDFOUNDERS.COM/STARTUP-DIRTY-LAUNDRY-CONFLICTS-THAT-KILL-PARTNERSHIPS/ (2) FOUNDERDATING.COM/QUESTIONS-TO-ASK-POTENTIAL-COFOUNDERS/