A VC explains the best ways to chose a great cofounder for your startup

- August 4, 2023 2 MIN READ
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Entrepreneurship is a thrilling and challenging journey. At its core lies the profound decision of selecting a co-founder, a choice that shapes the very destiny of a startup.

The landscape of this relationship encompasses more than skills and expertise; it’s a delicate balance of shared values, mutual trust and a harmonious blend of commercial and technical perspectives.

Commercial vs technical co-founders: a balanced perspective

Similarities: shared foundations

  1. Alignment of values and goals: Both types of co-founders must share core values, missions, and long-term objectives
  2. Chemistry and trust: Open communication, mutual respect, and adaptability foster a strong partnership regardless of roles
  3. Commitment to growth: A joint commitment to the success and growth of the start-up is vital

Differences: complementary strengths

  1. Skillset: Commercial co-founders excel in strategic planning, marketing, and business development, while technical co-founders focus on innovation, product development, and technology
  2. Approach to growth and innovation: While commercial co-founders may lean towards market expansion, technical ones often drive quality and technical robustness
  3. Risk appetite: The approach to risk may vary, with commercial ones possibly more aggressive and technical ones more methodical

Building a strong and trustworthy relationship: a journey through time

Beginning the relationship: compatibility and vision

The initial spark comes from shared goals and a mutual understanding. The chemistry between co-founders, whether commercial or technical, sets the stage for a successful partnership.

Developing trust: time and consistency

Trust is earned through time, actions, and consistency. Open dialogue, integrity, and shared experiences foster a relationship that can withstand the trials of entrepreneurship.

Nurturing the relationship: effort and evolution

Investing time and effort, understanding each other’s roles, and growing together are paramount. Regular communication, both formal and informal, helps the relationship evolve with the business.

Key insights for finding the right co-founder

  1. Start with ‘why’: Understanding the core motivations ensures alignment
  2. Expand your network: Engage in entrepreneurial events and personal connections
  3. Consider a trial period: Evaluate compatibility and shared vision through collaboration
  4. Handle equity fairly: Be explicit and legal about equity distribution
  5. Respect domains: Recognise and appreciate the unique value each co-founder brings, whether technical or commercial
  6. Consult professional guidance: Seek legal advice to ensure clarity in all agreements

A multifaceted approach to success

The decision to choose a cofounder is complex and multifaceted. It’s about understanding the nuanced differences and embracing the shared values that bind commercial and technical co-founders. It’s about building trust, nurturing the relationship over time, and recognising the individual strengths that each partner brings to the table.

The path to finding the right co-founder is an adventure in human connection and collaboration. By balancing the complexities of skills, trust, commercial and technical insights, start-up founders can forge partnerships that not only drive success but create a legacy of innovation and growth.


  • Benjamin Chong is a partner at venture capital firm Right Click Capital, investors in bold and visionary tech founders.