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Co-founders and Domain Expertise

, May 13, 2015, 0 Comments

startups co-founders domain expertise-MarketExpress-inStartup, innovation, dreams and the idea of make it big seems to be a cliché in reference to finding a good co-founder. Passion and the drive to make or create an enterprise out of it is one thing but making the teamwork is an another thing.

One often thinks that anybody can be your co-founder as he/she identifies some common areas of liking and interests – “the initial crush”. However, it won’t last long as you get into the grind in 90% of the case. Many facets come to the surface as time goes by; most of them are related to the execution-style, risking taking appetite, perspective & understanding of the market dynamics, leading and responsibility.

Co-founders need to adjust quite a lot and adapt to the company needs, plan and vision. You need to take care of these things on first priority basis before you enter in co-growth mode. It is not in the rule book but trust me these will be the factors on which the relationship will hinge on.

With these warnings – How one could find the elusive co-founder who could stir your heart, soul and bring the awesome feeling of creating something which could be disruptive.

A large number of people may argue the above matching factors may be very hard to find. It is as good as finding a needle in the haystack. Don’t lose hope; I am of the belief that even ANGELS and GODS could be found around you then finding co-founders is a piece of cake. Focus on the large picture and don’t let your emotions take over while on the hunt. Evaluate any potential co-founder candidate from all angles and perspective.

Bigger question – the ultimate goal is whether that person is the one with whom you want to grow old for few decades or few months.

You will find someone – and would have the WOW moment, now pause a bit and don’t rush into things with the thought – “ if we don’t tie the knot we have lost the opportunity”. Opportunity can be created if we believe in ourselves and rest will be taken care of by our universe.

Every person is unique and brings with him some amazing qualities; domain expertise, leadership skill set, humility and maturity, one needs to assess your potential co-founder requirements w.r.t to the above yardstick and other things which you perceive is of paramount importance. Each of the parameters will help you understand the person in relation to the requirement to the business needs and your need.

Domain Expertise

Domain expertise is the base on which your business relationship can grow and flourish. There are few ways in which you could find this compatibility; either you know the person from a distance, he/she has been working in another department/company where you have heard of their feats. You might have worked together in some of the projects, assignments as the team members or good friends and many more.

Domain Expert -The extent to which a person has experience and/or understanding of the business and technical contexts, process, practises and requirements

One needs to assess the skill sets of the person in terms of the company’s future and present requirement, whether domain expertise complements each other or it is the same set of skills as yours.

It is good to have some criteria match, but here you need to create a matrix w.r.t. to the skill sets and requirement and create the engagement flow and draw clear-cut boundaries about who will do what. Document everything. If preferable go legally vet the documents as it would be very handy to have the clarity in the roles and responsibilities.

Human, money and time are a very complex combination. It can throw at you some situation in future that would keep you stranded in steps and disturb your core and foundation. In these things documentation comes as your savior.

Also in the future, area of working could be blurred but here you should afford to relax the boundary lines and give the touch of humility to create a stronger bond between yourself and your co-founder. However here too there Is a limit, beyond that it is going to be chaos.

In blurring of lines, co-founders may start trying to meddle in each other’s work. This won’t do any good for relationships. In this case you need to put your footing in a subtle way and try to ask them to aid. It would be the sweetest thing you can do for one another. More often, the later part doesn’t happen as the other.

One should stick to their area of work, try to learn the behavior of your co-founder and ways whether he/she likes to take help. If not,wait for the person to approach you. This way you are nurturing a relationship which could last decades.

Startup is a challenge where one tries to develop something with minimal support. Therefore,it is a journey where you could see the spring time, hot summer, cold winter, and the bubbling rainy days. One should take everything in stride and move along.


Next we would cover the leadership angle.