3 Reasons Why I Invest in Solo Founders

Solo Founders

What Is The Most Common Misconception Of Solo Founders?

What is all the hype around solo founders? A high portion of the founders I meet who start a business alone happen to be ethnically diverse, often women and almost always from working-class backgrounds. VC investors such as Y-Combinator (YC) share about investing in cofounding pairs or teams of three. I’ve invested personally in some great founders who started their businesses alone and I’ll share 3 reasons why I invest in solo founders.

VCs send out signals, and it’s clear they have a bias as they believe (within reason) that s startup is too much work for one person. Now, for most VCs including YC it is not a dealbreaker as they did invest in Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox – although he did end up finding a cofounder.

The rule of thumb is that no cofounder is 10x better than having a bad one.

The reality is that starting a business is friggin hard, especially when you start on your own. You are effectively managing:

  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Product
  • Hiring
  • Sales
  • Legal
  • and the list goes on….

2 Founders Are Not Always Better Than 1 Solo Founder

In 2018, a research study came out by MIT shared that 2 founders are not always better than 1.

Credit: Laura Wentzel from 2 founders are not always better than one.

Every founder’s journey is different, always remember it’s YOUR personal journey.

I’ve invested in some incredible solo founders such as:

I wanted to shed light on some of the strengths I’ve personally seen in strong solo founders.

🏃🏾‍♂️💨 Speed of execution due to the ability to make decisions quickly and priorities ruthlessly as they are hyper-driven and focused.

🥊 No infighting between cofounders, which is the number one killer of startups.

🎙 They understand customers deeply and therefore create products that solve their problems. Obsessing over customers, not competition.

🧩 Founder/ market fit. Often origin stories reveal that one founder, in particular, has a lived experience or personal pain point they are solving. This is also true for cofounding teams. Purpose matters.

👩🏼‍💻 They build strong teams to fill their gaps and compliment them (freelancers to advisors and team members). Often with a strong number 2 often acting almost like a proxy cofounder. Just because you are solo, doesn’t mean you are alone.

Here are some solo founders of companies you may know:

• Jeff Bezos, Amazon

• Pierre Omidyar, eBay

• Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap

• Eric Yuan, Zoom

• Sara Blakely, Spanx

• Craig Newmark, Craigslist

Joanna Jensen, Childs Farm Ltd

Nikki Lannen, WarDucks

Zoë DesmondFrolo 

Audrey Limery, Kweevo

Funmi Adewara, Mobihealth International

The bottom line is, despite persistent biases from VC and angel investors, solo founders can create successful businesses. This doesn’t take away from the fact founding teams can create enduring companies too. Every company is different and that’s ok!

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