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Finding your co-founder and building your team

Deciding to start a business can be daunting when you do it by yourself. Here are some benefits of having a co-founder when you’re getting started.

Deciding to start a business is already a big challenge for most people. It can be even more daunting when you do it by yourself. That is why so many founders decide to bring in a co-founder to help them manoeuvre their way through the highs and lows. In a time where it is easy to feel like every decision is the biggest you will make, it’s easy to get lost. Hopefully the below provides some clarity on the importance of getting this one right!

Having a co-founder means you get a business partner, but it also means you have someone you can vent to, laugh with, debate tough decisions, and most likely work a fair number of hours alongside. So, how do you pick who that person will be?

Know your weaknesses

Firstly, you need to know what you’re great at and where your skills lack. There is no point in bringing in someone who has all the same strengths and weaknesses as you. You need to pinpoint where you need support, not validation. For example, if you are great commercially but lack deep technical knowledge, then a co-founder who has a real grasp of the technical side of the business would make sense. If you’re a marketeer with little experience in product, then a product person could be the right fit for you. Remember that understanding your weaknesses is a superpower.

Align your values

Alongside this, the best founder and co-founder relationships I’ve seen are those who have similar values, but different perspectives. You want your co-founder to share your passion and outlook but approach these things from a different angle.

Consider the approach to longer working hours, flexibility, how they want to build the team and a commitment to the long-term vision. If these aren’t aligned between you both, then it can cause a problem. It’s the same with values – starting a business and making money is great, but if you don’t care about the same core things, will it work?


Once you have decided what you’re looking for in a co-founder, finding that person becomes the next challenge. That means it’s time to start networking. Search out the best industry events aligned to your start-up, look at different communities around the industry and make sure you’re looking at your own network and how you can make the most of it.

There is no one size fits all approach to finding your co-founder. Whilst finding the right person may take some time, they should be worth the wait (at the risk of sounding like a daytime tv wannabe dating guru, it’s true!).

Milly Cleal, Portfolio Talent Partner, Octopus Ventures

About the author

Here at OV I advise and work alongside founders and their leadership teams across the consumer portfolio, on anything people & talent related. I came into this role after 9 years working in London helping to scale and develop some of the cities most exciting consumer facing businesses.