Cofounder Considerations: How Do They Handle Adversity?

I’m a big fan of cofounding teams. It took my being a solo founder to understand that every individual has gaps, but teams can be well rounded. The areas where I was individually weak were where my company could have done better (e.g., marketing). Building a cofounding team is easier said than done, though, especially for nontechnical founders. Finding a complementary cofounder is hard—many people aren’t sure how to evaluate fit.

One of the things I try to understand when evaluating a founding team is how they individually handle adversity. When things are going well, everyone is happy, and it’s easy to get along. It’s when things aren’t going well that friction becomes more evident. Adversity can bring out another side of people and push cofounder relationships to their breaking point.

If you’re a founder looking for a cofounder, consider taking time to understand how candidates have historically handled adversity. Their past isn’t proof of what they’ll do in the future, but it will give you insight into how your relationship might look if times get tough.