When Starting a Company is it Better to have Co-Founders or Go Solo?

Many investors frown upon startups that only have one founder. This makes a lot of sense because it is extreeeemely challenging to start a company and even more stressful when you don’t have a co-founder to shoulder some of the pressure. I was the sole proprietor of a frozen yogurt shop for a few years before I sold it and let me tell you… running a small business can be more stressful than you can imagine (and also rewarding). There’s no one that can really fully understand the pressures except another partner who’s in the trenches with you. So imagine the angst of running a startup that’s raised millions of dollars the pressures of developing a thriving business is even greater. With all of that stress on one person it seems companies with one founder should be less successful.

With that said, the data seems to suggest betting on solo founders isn’t such a bad bet after all. According to CrunchBase there are 7,348 companies that have raised more than $10m and of those companies almost half are run by solo founders.

The breakdown:

  • One founder: 45.9%

  • Two founders: 31.9%

  • Three founders: 15%

  • Four founders: 5.3%

  • Five or more founders: 1.9%

Similarly companies with successful exits (sale of the comp, IPO, etc.):

  • One founder: 52.3%

  • Two founders: 30.1%

  • Three founders: 12.5%

  • Four founders: 3.7%

  • Five or more founders: 1.4%

From the data it would appear the more founders you have the less likely you are to succeed…. huh go figure.

What’s been your experience? Hit me on the InterGram thing.