Should I bring in a co-founder, or hire?


I'm a developer, who has been working solo on a startup for close to 12 months.

The tech side is coming along well, but I'm acutely lacking in my business accumen, and sales skills.

Here's some key points on where I'm at:

  • I've performed market validation with customers
  • The product is developed to an MVP point, possibly well beyond
  • I don't yet have any customers - largely due to my fear of sales. The product is at a point where it needs customers.
  • I've developed a business plan, (including initial pricing) and validated this with key people across the market. However, as I don't yet have customers, it's arguably unproven.
  • I'm currently working 2-3 days / week on this startup, and consulting to keep the lights on.

I have a few potential avenues to persue here:

  • Bring in a CEO / COO, on a mixture of salary & equity. I don't have much money at the moment.
  • Bring in a 'co-founder', for higher equity, and no money.
  • Tough it out, get customers leading to revenue, then hire.

Are there other avenues I should be considering?

Which path makes the most sense at my current juncture?

Also, if I bring in a co-founder, should I expect them to buy into the business, given it's current state? Likewise, what % of equity should I reasonably put on the table?

Co-Founder Hiring

asked Mar 20 '13 at 11:53
Marty Pitt
171 points
  • That is, unfortunately, not a very easy question to answer. It's the kind of thing where everyone will have their own opinion, and nobody knows you well enough or knows enough about your situation to provide a definitive answer. – Joel Spolsky 9 years ago
  • Is it possible to reword this as "What are the advantages of bringing in a co-founder over a hire" or something instead? I'd be interested in seeing a few experienced opinions if we can reopen. – Buzzology 9 years ago

1 Answer


You said that you've validated the market. Have you reached out to those people that showed an initial interest to convert them to customers?

As others said, this is a difficult question to answer. I can't answer it directly but I think there is great value in overcoming your fear of sales and going through the sales process at least a few times before your find someone to do it for you. That fear will continue to control you as your company grows and may lead you to be too dependent upon one person.

I'd also take a deeper look at your "fear of sales". I suspect it's more likely that you're afraid of failure or rejection. This guy was facing a similar problem and set out to be rejected more than a 100 times in order to overcome his fear.

**edit** Didn't realize this was an old post. Hopefully you found the answer you were looking for.

answered Mar 4 '14 at 18:27
Lindsey Wilson
565 points

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