Start with a Cofounder. The Idea is Optional

If you ask any venture capitalist or angel investor what they look for in companies they invest in, odds are that the top answer will be “the team.”

There’s no doubt that they also factor in expertise, passion and traction, but they know from experience that the trials and tribulations of startups are best handled by cohesive and dedicated teams. Why then do most early stage entrepreneurs obsess about their idea as opposed to seeking the number one thing most VCs look for—awesome co-founders?

The common wisdom goes something like this: build a slick product prototype, gain a bit of traction, get noticed so the right co-founders find you. As one of the managing directors of FounderDating Toronto, I have a unique front row view into many early stage startups in our city. This visibility allows me to dispel some of the myths about the common wisdom and why finding a co-founder should be an entrepreneurs first priority.


I noted above that VCs and Angels look for the team first and foremost. Why? VCs and Angels are trying to maximize their returns, they also have the advantage of seeing hundreds of entrepreneurs.

Putting the two together it becomes clear that VCs and Angels believe that is the team that is the best predictor of venture success rather than anything else. My experience with FounderDating points me to the same conclusion.


As Eric Ries and Steve Blank, the pioneers of the lean startup movement popularized: startups often go through significant product direction changes and pivots before they find their product-market fit.

Groupon started as, PayPal started as Confinity (a crypto solution for handhelds), and Flickr started as an online game. The idea you are working on today will likely change and morph. Your customer’s needs will change, but your founding team should not. The right teams are agile and persevere through changes.


Most high potential co-founders have an entrepreneurial itch. Yet, they also want to build their own business. The further along the execution of an idea, the more difficult it becomes for co-founders to develop a sense of ownership and ground level impact around that idea. You wouldn’t set a date or pick a venue for a wedding before finding the special someone, right?

Suppose the idea on which you are working is validated, or you have a product in the market. You are now fully committed. Yet your potential co-founder is still shopping around. They are likely getting pitched many times a month by others looking for talented co-founders. Guess what? They may join something where they have input into the vision, as opposed to something that is already well developed.

At FounderDating, we believe that finding the right co-founder should be your top priority and we want to help you do it. We believe in people above ideas, and are building an exclusive network of people who are passionate about starting a business across North America. We want you to leverage this network and begin to build the next great startup.

Apply for our next Toronto round, which has a deadline of November 1 and a kickoff event on November 14. We are accepting applications right now, so apply today.