Finding your co-founder
Co-founders have always played a pivotal role in making businesses successful
When the history of current era is written a few years from now, the term start-up will surely pop up every now and then. Not a day passes when media is not filled with news related to startups— though of late coverage has not been very pleasant.
Establishing a business from scratch and then taking it to the heights you have envisaged is extremely demanding, both physically and mentally. Right from production, marketing, product innovation, operations, finance, human resource, and what not, have to be woven together for your start-up to stand on its own and make a mark. Though nothing prevents one from starting off on own, a lot of entrepreneurs are seeing the bright side of having a co-partner in order to divvy up a lot of responsibilities so as not to be bogged down by just the running side of the business. Having a partner not only lightens up the physical pressure but also brings in some empirical qualities which you might be lacking.
“Having a business partner gives you an opportunity to see and comprehend things in a manner you may not have thought of”, says Deepak Sethi, Co-founder and CEO, POM POM.
POM POM, recycling partner for one of the largest event, ‘World Cultural Festival by Art of Living’, is a new generation solution provider for recyclable waste with a customer base of more than 10 lakh individuals. They started off from a small office in south Delhi and grew three times in the first three months. Cofounders Deepak Sethi and Kishore K Thakur share an interesting relationship. Deepak happens to be Kishore’s best friend’s nephew and has seen him grow over the years. Although both of them knew each other socially but started a professional interaction when Deepak joined Delhi Waste Mangement and started working under Kishore Thakur who is in addition a wholetime director of Delhi Waste Management Limited, a subsidiary of SPML. SPML was awarded the Best Service Provider by GMR Delhi Airport for three years on the trot.
POM POM is into buying trash whether it is plastic, glass, paper, tetra packs or empty toothpaste tubes. Anyone willing to sell their recyclable trash can simply send in the request by a phone call, text message or by using their mobile application which is available on both, Android as well as on iOS. POM POM further adds value to the trash and supplies them to the industries that recycle them to manufacture new products.Thakur, also COO, POM POM,believes in the ideology of “one plus one makes 11”.
“Deepak’s job is to infuse fresh ideas and energy into the system, whereas my job is not only to implement it but to harness it with my years of experience. This symbiotic combination gets the best result for us,” adds Thakur.
The chosen one
Zeroing in on a co-founder is a serious decision as it directly affects the business from the grassroot level. Typically, a co-founder should be the one with whom you share a good working rapport; and most importantly, the partners should collectively form a complimentary set of skills and experience required for the business.
Usually, it’s a friend or a colleague with whom you have some interests and goals in common who ultimately happens to be your partner in starting the venture. Another way of hunting a partner can be to be a part of social gatherings where you get an opportunity to meet new people with common interests. This can be a friend’s party, weekend outings or seminars and events related to your interest.
“Look out for somebody you already know, it would give you more comfort and trust level over going ahead with somebody totally unknown. Hunt amongst your friends, family and even co/ex workers,” advises Deepak.
“Successful entrepreneurs do not work in isolation”, believes Umang Srivastava and Neeraj Miital, Joint Managing Directors, Bonita India. Neeraj and Umang are Engineers from Delhi College of Engineering and have done their Masters in Business Administration and Business Economics, respectively, from Delhi University. They are from different batches but with few friends in common, alumni meets and similarity in approach towards life brought them together. Post college, Umang gained expertise in international distribution networks whereas Neeraj explored supply chain management across diversified sectors. In 2007 when both of them decided to set up Casa Brands India, serving international consumers under laundry care, storage and organising category. In 2012 they established Bonita, meaning beautiful in Spanish, to bridge the gap and the availability of international quality home utility products in the domestic market.
It is extremely common for disagreements to happen when people with different skill sets and experience work for one common goal. At the same time, it is equally important to not let your ego come in and to stand up as a team once a decision has been taken. Undoubtedly, it is always wise to credit the experience and skills relevant for the decision to be taken.
“We disagree and that’s absolutely essential for a healthy decision making,” says Bamasish Paul, CEO and Co-founder, Healthenablr India. Healthenablr acts as a global bridge, connecting healthcare professionals with the people seeking medical help. Health Enablr has all the solutions, from booking an appointment with the local doctor to book a video or a live chat session with the doctor.
What should also be kept in mind is that quite often it has been seen that the more you desperately follow a goal, the more it gets difficult to accomplish. Hard work with complete focus and relaxation therefore becomes a must.
“The idea for IndiaLends was conceived and evolved over multiple table tennis matches between Mayank and me during recess at CapitalOne”, says Gaurav Chopra, co-founder, IndiaLends. Indialends is an online marketplace that connects consumers, salaried and self-employed, looking for low rate loans with institutional lenders looking for higher risk-adjusted returns. Co-founders Gaurav and Mayank Kachhwaha worked together at CapitalOne in London and bonded over similar taste in food and sports.
Sometimes more than the shared business acumen, it is the shared interests that have the ability to a take a business right up there.