When Kevin Tscholitsch met Thomas Klir at a Founders Forum event at TechQuartier last year, something clicked.
Maybe it was fate or luck that the two sat next to each other at this networking event and started to talk about a similar idea.
Even though each was successful in his corporate career, Thomas and Kevin knew that they wanted to do more. Both are sustainability advocates and solution seekers and want to give something back to society. Individually, they were working on an online platform that could help people shop locally and buy sustainable goods and services. On the other hand, the platform supports local, sustainable shops to generate more attention.
“I just want to do something with my life that will leave an impact.”
- Kevin Tscholitsch
The two decided to meet again and Thomas invited Kevin to meet his co-founder Fabienne Horlaville. She and Thomas had been working to build their company Nachhaltigkeitshelden (translated Sustainability Heroes) and were looking to grow their team.
Luckily, this chance meeting at a networking event gave the project just what it needed — Kevin. In just a year, this co-founding team of three has found their groove and they have developed their own roles and superpowers.
Fabienne manages marketing and design, Kevin handles the finances and numbers, and Thomas focuses on coding and development. Like with any superhero group (sustainable Avengers?), though, they rely on one another as they steer through the startup challenges.
After the recent launch of their interactive platform, the team is now adding new locations to their map and looking to expand beyond Frankfurt.
“Founding together is like marrying each together. You have to really think about it. You have to give each other time to see if their ideas and work styles fit.”
- Fabienne Horlaville
Good teams play a critical role in the success of a startup. According to research by CB Insights, startups with multiple founders have a 30% higher success rate compared to solo founders. The findings are clear. These startups are more successful due to the diverse skill sets and perspectives, shared workload and responsibilities, increased access to resources, accountability and support that co-founders provide.
We’ve all seen the frequently-used quote from Steve Jobs: “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” He was right but finding the right team members isn’t easy. Finding the right co-founders is even a bigger challenge for startups.
“It’s important to have people around you who are working on the same vision. Communication is also very important. You have to have an honest discussion about expectations,” Kevin said.
Tips for co-founders
- Clearly define your vision and values. Before you start looking for a co-founder, make sure you have a clear idea of your startup’s vision, values, and goals. This will help you to identify potential co-founders who share the same vision and values.
- Look for complementary skills and expertise. You want a co-founder who can bring different skills and expertise to the table, complementing everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you’re a technical person, you might want to look for a co-founder with strong business or marketing skills.
- Assess their commitment and work ethic. Starting a business is a significant commitment, so you want to find a co-founder who is willing to put in the time and effort to make it work. Look for someone who has a strong work ethic, is passionate about the vision, and is willing to take on challenges and overcome obstacles.
- Consider cultural fit. You will be working closely with your co-founder, so it’s important to find someone who shares your work style, communication style, and values. Look for someone who is easy to work with, has a positive attitude, and is open to feedback and collaboration.
- Test the waters with a trial period. Before you commit to working with someone as a co-founder, see how you work together and whether you share a similar approach to problem-solving and decision-making.
- Network in relevant communities. Attend industry events and engage with other entrepreneurs. This will help you to meet potential co-founders and build relationships with people who share your interests.