I've been talking to some friends about ideas for a startup? There are plenty ideas and the common theme is that they're all SaaS webapps selling to small- or medium-sized businesses.
What do you think is the right set of skills to get in the founders group? Obviously most skills can be found either within the founders or simply outsourced. I've come up with the following skills for this type of venture (in no particular order):
So, for the this type of startup, how many founders and what skills should each bring to the table?
Ideally, I'd like the value and effort needed from each to be similar.
3 People with this mixture IMHO is the ideal combination for a startup. Less than that, it wouldn't be as productive, more than that can be too noisy. But you can also add up upto one more programmer if the program is technical.
I would definitely vote up designer.
A good designer can pitch in with web design, branding, HCI, user experience, IA, web app design.
These roles could of course be managed by many people in a bigger project, but I think you'd get a lot of bang for the buck with a designer on staff of a startup.
You could replace 'Vision' with 'Product Manager'. A useful role indeed, but more the responsibility of the CEO in a young startup.
The question is fine, and in some abstract form the answers are interesting. But IMHO the answer to the question is "that is the wrong question to ask". It is dead wrong to get caught up in the skillsets of the founders.
Startups are a imperfect experience; you make do with what you've got. Most skills can be learned. If a skill cannot be learned, it can be purchased with money (i.e. getting a consultant or employee).
For my personal list of must-have attributes in a co-founder I could go back and forth almost forever. But I guess it boils down to something like this:
I think you need at least a programmer and a marketer.
You don't need more than one programmer because you should create a minimum viable service. Unless there are separate programming skills involved (like SaaS and Machine Learning), one person is fine.
Design is easily outsourced. What is the designer going to do? Create some HTML templates and CSS files. That can be outsourced for a few hundred dollars in total.
Having said that, it is critical that your values are aligned. What do you expect from them? What do they expect from you?
Having one or two more partners is not bad. They should bring something of value to the table: either skills, money or connections.