Picking a Startup Co-Founder - Shayan Zadeh
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Picking a Startup Co-Founder - Shayan Zadeh

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How to pick a co-founder for your startup by Shayan Zadeh. Zadeh is the co-founder, ceo of Zoosk. A dating application of Facebook with 8 million monthly users. He gave this presentation at ...

How to pick a co-founder for your startup by Shayan Zadeh. Zadeh is the co-founder, ceo of Zoosk. A dating application of Facebook with 8 million monthly users. He gave this presentation at StartupDay 2010.
http://www.seattle20.com

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Picking a Startup Co-Founder - Shayan Zadeh Picking a Startup Co-Founder - Shayan Zadeh Presentation Transcript

  • Co-Founders and Advisors
    • Shayan Zadeh
    • @shayang
  • Do I need a Co-Founder?
  • Startup life: what is it like?
    • It’s a challenging life
      • A startup by definition is working against odds
      • Chances of success are very low
      • Requires personal and professional sacrifices
    • It takes a while
      • Building a successful business usually takes 5-10 years
    • It has many many ups and downs
      • You better like roller-coasters
  • Startup life: what is it like? Want to be in a pressure cooker for 5-10 years by yourself?
  • How does a Co-Founder help?
    • Shoulders part of the work
    • Supports you emotionally
    • Helps you not give up
    • Keeps you honest
    • Complements your skills (hopefully)
    • Is your “safe” sounding board
  • How many Co-Founders?
    • First choice: two founders
      • Easier to split responsibilities
      • Each have enough skin in the game
    • Second choice: three or four founders
      • More than two humans means politics!
      • More work can theoretically be done
    • Third choice: single founder
      • Very lonely
      • Clear company vision
  • What am I looking for?
    • Honesty and Fairness
      • Would you trust them with your future?
    • Capability
      • Can they add value to the business?
    • Commitment
      • Can they run with you for 5-10 years?
    • Persistence
      • Will they give up when the going gets rough?
    • Motivation alignment
      • What is driving them?
    • Chemistry
      • Can you stand spending 70% of your awake time with them for the next 5 years?
  • Where do I look?
    • You MUST have a history with them
    • Best places to find Co-Founders
      • College & Grad School
      • Colleagues at startups
      • Colleagues at HOT larger companies
    • Family is not recommended*
    • What about close friends?
  • Found them. What now?
    • Decide on equity divide
    • Vest the equity over time
    • Agree on mechanics to part ways
    • Write the agreement down
    • GET TO WORK!
  • Do I need advisors?
  • Types of Advisors
    • Main-Function Advisors
      • Product / Strategy Advisor
      • Marketing / Sales Advisor
      • Startup Life Advisor
    • Support-Function Advisors
      • Finance Advisor  CFO
      • Legal Advisor  General Counsel
      • Rolodex Advisor
  • When & Which Type?
    • Decided by
      • Company stage
      • Your weak areas
      • Business needs
    • Changes over time
      • Track your business need changes
      • Adjust your advisory team accordingly
  • Advisors need to be managed
    • Finding them is just like any other recruitment
      • Find the right candidates
      • Sell them on the company (or you)
      • Know their motivations (best is ‘I want to help you’)
    • Compensate them
      • Somewhere between 0.25% to 2% equity
      • Vest it over time (2-4 years)
    • Manage them
      • Set expectations of contribution (hours a month, etc)
      • If not delivered (or needs change) terminate the relationship
  • Questions?
    • Few resources
      • Interview: How to pick a co-founder http:// venturehacks.com/articles/co-founder-interview
      • Noam Wasserman's "Founder Frustrations" blog http://founderresearch.blogspot.com /
    • I will be at Table #26 (1:30, 1:50, 2:10) of the advisory room
    • You can reach me at [email_address] or @shayang