If you asked any experienced investor that invests in early-stage startups this question “Do you invest on ideas or on teams?”, 90% of them will answer that they invest on the team. That’s because they understand that a successful startup is 5% about the idea and 95% about execution.
Now that we all agreed on that, let’s talk about what makes a great founders team. First of all, let’s talk a bit about the importance of having a founders team in a startup. Having a founders team is not similar to having employees that work in the startup for the money, a founders team is a bunch of people or friends that all share the same vision. A founders team usually consists of 2-4 people with different backgrounds (business, programming or design..etc). Below are some of the benefits of having a team instead of being a solo founder:
- Making better decisions: You’ll need someone to brainstorm and bounce ideas with. This usually result in making better decisions.
- Hard workers with low cost: In a startup you’ll need people that works 12hrs-14hrs everyday!! You can’t find someone that works that much without paying him/her a huge amount of money. However, your founding team are there for the long-run, they own equity in the company and they believe that one day it will worth millions of dollars.
- You are not a superman: You can’t be great in everything (business side, programming, design….etc). You need a co-founder to complete the DNA of your startup.
- Supporting each other: A startup is like a roller coaster journey. During this journey you’ll go through a lot of ups and downs, it will be great to have a co-founder that gives you a push when you are down, and someone that you can relay on when you are not around.
OK, so we agree that most of the time having a team is better than going as a solo founder. But, what makes a great team. A dream team will consist the following:
1- A Domain Expert
2- A Rockstar Programmer
3- A Superstar Designer
Startups are created to solve problems. So the domain expert is the guy who faced the problem and knows exactly how it should be solved. Let’s take an example, Jordan works in Walmart and he works in the inventory department for more than 10yrs. Jordan realized that he can help Walmart save 20% of their inventory costs if they used his new idea that doesn’t involve any human interaction!! He went to his manager and told him the idea. The manager kicked him out of the office and told him “I never want to hear this bull sh** again from you, do you understand!?“.
So Jordan went back home and called Magic (his great programmer friend) and Bird (his awesome designer friend) and told them that he will quit his job and create this crazy idea that he called NoMoreInventory.com, and asked them if they are welling to join. They both agreed to join the startup and after 5 years they sold the company to WallMart for US$250M.
Max Marmer the founder of Startup Genome (AKA StartupCompass.co) wrote a great blog post about what it takes these days to create a Billion dollar startup. He argued that having only Tech guys and designers in a team will most likely result in “another mobile local social photo sharing app!!“. I agree with his view and I believe that most of the problem/solution assessments should come from these domain experts (unless the idea itself is about a new technology) and the programmers and designers should be part of the team to translate this vision into reality.
Big part of StartupQ8 is to help entrepreneurs and visionaries in meeting programmers and designers to build the next big thing. So if you are a Domain Expert and you think you have a great idea, then come join us on one of our events, form your team and start building the next billion dollar company!!