Business Development · Business Strategy

What is more important for startup success? Co-founder or Mentor?

Novi Sonko Founder, Software Development Consultant

February 27th, 2021

I'm Novi, the the solo-founder of Boostlane is a platform that provides information about new ideas, trends, products and services. Members can create collections of their favorites things and purchase products and services from partners.

I am a one-man army and built all aspects of the platform. I see that a lot of founders on this platform are looking for a co-founder... I can understand that, for non-technical founders, finding a technical co-founder is a big priority.

I am wondering however, what is more important for solo-founders who have managed to make substantial progress alone. The advice of an experienced mentor or the energy of a co-founder who can get a lot more done, and faster?

What's your take on this? What would you choose? A great mentor or a great co-founder?

I would go for a mentor; maybe because I'm too confident? I'm not sure...

What abou you?

Tony B All knowledge is self knowledge. Keep learning. Stay hungry.

February 27th, 2021

I think you are on the right track with a mentor. If you've managed to take your idea to launch, a co-founder may have something to offer in the long term, but not short term. A co-founder may not even be practical for you long term. A mentor might be able to give you what you need to find a good partner or staff to help you get to the next step and should be able to help you prep for scale if your business takes off.

Having confidence is a good thing, but stay a little bit humble if you're open to seasoned advice and open to the idea that at some point, you will need help. It seems you have yet to hit any major challenges based on your confidence and question, but you certainly will. You should look for someone with experience managing and pushing through business challenges and help prepare you for when that time comes.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

March 10th, 2021

Mentor. Remember that each co-founder exponentially slows down or complicates the decision-making process. Now finding a co-founder can be a great thing, but what makes them great is that they share an identical vision for your company, not that they have complimentary skills.

In this way you get significant value from anyone who helps you develop skills or adds to your pool of resources (mentor), and you don't have the burden of co-ownership.

You never NEED a technical co-founder, but you may need technical skills. Technical skills can always be purchased and should not require co-ownership. If the reason you think you need a technical co-founder is that you can't afford to pay for technical skills, then you have a different problem of resources, not of lacking technical skills.

Good luck!