Why Do Venture Capitalists Need to See Atleast 2 Co-Founders?


Shown Above: Whatsapp Co-Founders Brian Acton (L) and Jan Koum (R)

‘Why Do Venture Capitalists Need to See Atleast 2 Co-Founders?’ originally appeared on discussion network Quora. Below is the answer by Auren Hoffman, CEO, SafeGraph

Investors will pay more for a deal the less risk it has. Of course, investors are looking for upside potential (and usually spend a lot of time on that), but they also spend a massive amount of time on risk factors.

Do you have revenue? That de-risks it

Do you have a functioning product that looks good? That de-risks it.

How much of the team have you filled out? That can massively de-risk an investment.

One of the hardest things to do (especially in today’s market dynamic) is recruit a super high-quality team to join you. Convincing high quality people to put all their eggs in your basket is often much harder than getting investors (who usually have a very broad portfolio). If investors see that you have brought on an amazing team, that’s a huge plus.

If you have a strong cofounder, you are at least a team of two (rather than just one). You can start humming immediately. And as you add more and more to the team, it adds more confidence to investors that you can execute (at least in the early days).

One of the most promising investments I ever made (which will go nameless) had massive trouble recruiting. I thought this company was going to be the next Google. It ended up having a decent exit (acquisition) but it could have been a dominant company if they could have figured out how to recruit great people.

Another reason to have a co-founder (as Jason M. Lemkin mentioned in his answer to this question) is to have someone in your corner to talk about the struggle with.

Startups can be really, really HARD. My cofounder at LiveRamp, Jeremy Lizt, was my partner in building the company. And he is still the LiveRamp CTO (ten years later) running the entire 100-person engineering organization. Without Jeremy, the company would not have survived its rough patches. He was a fantastic partner. Not only was he a superstar exec, but we had dinner every Monday night for the nine years where he gave me truly honest feedback (which the CEO usually does not get). And today, even after ten years, he carries extra weight because he has been there from the very beginning.

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