A Solo founder’s manifesto

I can be successful, alone. They will recognize that the journey lifetime begins with one step. One person can make a change. I believe the stereotypes of solo founders are a huge risk are false. I refuse to believe that I was unable to convince one person to join me in my entrepreneurial journey. I think of all the people who came with me during my journey as co founders. I would rather take responsibility for my failures than blame a co founder who was with me. I seek advice from many but end up following my own path. Solo founders make decisions quicker than consensus driven teams. Single founder companies have generated as many jobs and created as much wealth as two or three co-founder companies.

Go on – start a company even if you are a single founder.

16 thoughts on “A Solo founder’s manifesto”

  1. Thank you for this unusually (for me) poignant post. I am a few weeks from needing to stop working on a startup where I have been the sole founder. I question that for different reasons than many investors provide. Multiple programmers and designers worked with me on this for equity only and/or far less than they were worth. Many business owners and credit analysts spent countless hours sharing their experiences with credit bureaus, tested my first releases and gave me incredible feedback and validation. Friends and colleagues did invest money over time. Because of all of them I can hardly claim to be alone. But there is one area in which I feel it most keenly. I didn’t connect with bigger money. Even though I raised $20M on my first startup, this time around I felt like a fish out of water. I have no excuses and I’m running as hard as I can right up until my deadline but this is one of those times when I wish I had a partner!

  2. Thanks for this, Mukund.

    A Co-Founder should not be a Job Title / Description.

    If I can motivate an awesome core team around me, I don’t need to artificially prop up a Co-Founder in front of customers, vendors, employees, and/or investors.

    Because I don’t want to push the stress, the tension and the issues of my past onto anyone. Because I don’t want to bring a partner on board in haste that I will regret later.
    Because I have found supportive, honest investors who do not believe that a Co-Founder is mandatory to fund a game-changing business.

    Because I do not need to convince another person about pivoting every month. or every week.

    I have had friends, co-workers, supporters work with me on my product, on operations, on development, on sales for free, or for a pittance, mostly not even for Equity. And while its seemed quite haphazard and irregular, Its been me keeping the glue around the project.

    And success as a single founder comes from experience, from maturity, from knowing yourself well, from knowing your market well, from knowing what you are capable of and what you’re not; from being honest about your flaws and your weaknesses.

    Because Co-Founder conflict is probably the single largest reason why well meaning startups fail. Because partners are not honest about their expectations. Because partners expectations evolve, change, mutate over time. And that is out of your control.

    Because Team is everything. But every team needs a leader, a decision maker. An honest, humble, down to earth companion.

    I am a single founder, and I am succeeding.


  3. I am totally with you when you encourage solo founders. But one big disadvantage of being a solo founder is “Loneliness”. You are all alone and at times it is even difficult to find someone who is ready to go movie with you.

  4. Great article. There are so many out there who I know are not crossing the line because there is supposedly no co-founder. Will encourage.

  5. Interesting take. Having been solo for a long long while in my journey, but never really feeling alone, since so many hands lent help whenever I needed to be pulled up, and yes eventually one becomes 11 and you are a team, that doesn’t stop. Everything starts with one. All revolution at least 🙂

  6. Most iconic companies are built around a cause and not just a business idea. Hard to find co-founders who are committed to a cause. Because life gets in the way.

    1. Hello Venkatesh,
      I am interested. Let me know what is the cause? Share your idea with me.

  7. As long as the purpose of start-up is to “provide a context which is marked by access to a portfolio of meaningful opportunities (projects) which allow people to fully express their innate curiosity and engage in a vigorous discovery voyage (alone and in small teams, assisted by an extensive self-constructed network) by which those people go to/create places they had never dreamed existed” number of founders is just that – a number. (Quoted text not mine, also dont know who said it)

  8. I have been solo for quite a while now. The co founders I have tried to work with are up for the ride because of the quick customer validation, the recognition, and all sort of good stuffs.

    But whenever there are “shxx” to sort out, then they expected me to fix it. So I am basically all by myself as I was a sole founder before.

    I guess what I learnt is that having co-founders is just like a show for the investors, whether I can find someone to stick through the good time and the bad is down to luck.

    With hindsight, I should probably not spend so much time finding cofounders but just focusing on product, pre-sale, and crowdfunding. Would love to hear from your own experience.

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