The fact of the matter is that co-founders spend most of their time fighting . . . But no one talks about it. Los Angeles venture capitalist Mark Suster. (Fighting Co-Founders Doom Startups)

Recognized by Texas Bar Today’s Top 10 Blog Posts

Setting up a private company on a 50-50 owned basis is typically a bad idea, but many founders of new businesses continue to embrace this perilous ownership structure.  We wrote last year about problems that plague 50-50 owned businesses (The Potential Pitfalls of a 50% Ownership Stake in a Privately-Held Company), and a google search on the topic produces articles such as: “50/50 Partnerships; Never a Good Idea,” and “Why You Shouldn’t Enter into a 50-50 Partnership.”  Venture capitalist Mark Suster explained in a column called the The Co-Founder Mythology that most people form 50/50 partnerships, “because they’re afraid to to start alone.”  Mr. Suster advises entrepreneurs to “take the leap” in starting their new company, but to do so without entering into a 50-50 ownership with a co-founder.  Mr. Suster states:  “. . . I meet far more people who had problems with [their current partner-ship] than founders who didn’t have problems.  People just don’t talk about it publicly or in blogs.”  (The Co-Founder Mythology)

50-50 Owned Businesses – High Risk for Failure

The evidence backs up Mr. Suster’s negative views regarding the problems with 50-50 owned businesses.  In 2013, Noam Wasserman, a Harvard Business School professor, published The Founder’s Dilemmas after studying 10,000 different business founders.  According to Prof. Wasserman’s book, 65% of high-potential startup companies fail as a result of conflict among the co-founders.  Pairs and groups bring a variety of skills, but there is also more potential for conflict—over the company’s leadership, finances, strategy, credit and blame.  (Fighting Co-Founders Doom Startups)
Continue Reading