This month I found myself in three separate conversations with founders who were booting one of their co-founders out, as their relationship had soured and it simply didn’t work out.
I’ve been there. It’s a difficult, emotionally draining and sometimes outright nasty situation to be in — and the one question every founder asks themselves is: “Could I have known better?”
Yesterday a friend introduced me to FounderDating. Which made me realize how bizarre the whole concept is: Building a startup is one of the most stressful things you can do. It’s a true stress test for every relationship (both inside and outside of your company — I personally not only lost co-founders but also a longtime girlfriend in the process). And yet — I see tons of entrepreneurs make someone a co-founder whom they have met only a few times. It’s a bit like popping the question “Will you marry me?” on the third date.
What to do though? You need co-founders and you need them NOW. At the very least make sure that you have good contracts in place (there is a reason why all the Hollywood celebs have prenuptial agreements in place before they get married!) and more importantly: Spend as much time as you can with the other person. Experience the other person outside of work. Meet their friends. You will soon spend more time together than a lot of married couples do. Better make sure you are compatible.