Jabur - How to pick a CoFounder

By Gilherme Jabur

Last update Last year

I assume most of your startup or business success is related to one single decision before even starting the business, the single moment you pick a business partner.
This post will briefly describe how I found out this and how I'm grateful for having a best friend and CoFounder in 1 person.

Why having a CoFounder?

But before I tell my story, I'd like to explain why.
As Ray dalio says: "You have to bet against the consensus and be right to be successful"
In other words, you gotta be right when everyone else is wrong to achieve great results. Trust me, things get doable when someone supports your ideas and work as much as you do to make it real.
Most of the startup days will be very hard, most of the decisions will shake your brain, most of the client calls will make you want to cry, in those days,  having a CoFounder feels like a gift.

My CoFounding story

I was 21 at the time and finally got the job of my dreams! I'd work for a bleeding edge SAAS startup surrounded by the most smart and hard working professionals I've heard of.
Everyone was so clever, senior and friendly, it was the perfect spot for growing as a developer and build my career... but something was not feeling right, something inside me was asking for something else, I wanted more risks, challenges and responsibilities than I could get from working for someone. I knew it was time to start building my empire.
I started a consultant firm by myself, hired the first 2 software developers in he 1st week and when I realised I had 15 employees and 7 projects running at the same time... those wore crazy times but absolutely the most rewarding months of my career. I was just thinking that I did it... but that was only the starting point.
With time I found out that a consultant firm wasn't a startup at all as it can't exponentially grow, the more projects I'd bring, the more developers I'd have to hire... it's basically a tech bakery. Once again I realised I wanted more, I wanted to build the empire of my dreams and I knew I couldn't do it by myself at 21... I'd have to ask for some help.
Suddenly, on a Saturday night while I was planning the company next steps, my phone ringed... it was the Tech Lead of the startup I worked for, he was looking for a new job and I knew he'd share the empire dreams with me.
A 2h call was enough to make sure he was my CoFounder. But don't be dumb, I've worked with him and i knew him for ~2  years now. Do not CoFound a company with someone you barely know.

How to not pick a CoFounder

Most of the first time entrepreneurs chose their best friend as CoFounder even if they don't know how his technical and soft skills will help the business grow and succeed.
It's better to choose someone that matches your abilities and build a great friendship while building the company instead of choosing someone by how much you like partying with him.
Don't choose someone for how comfortable you feel about him/her, but how challenging, in a good way, would be to discuss your ideas. Choose someone smart and radically transparent. Someone that chooses the best path instead of the ego one. You need someone to tell you when you're wrong and to support you when you're right.

Go-No-Go(A section from my CoFounder)

At this point, you probably must be thinking "Ok, this is the one", right? No.
To make 100% sure, it's necessary to give one step forward. You both need to start playing something we call "trust game".It's time to lay your cards on the table. Align all expectations. This partnership is a huge step in your career, but also in your life.
It won't be sustainable to make the most important decisions of your life with someone you can't trust.


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