Strike the Right Balance

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One-person shows rarely achieve success in new venture creation – and for good reason. Think about the teams behind some of today’s most successful and notable ventures – Bill Gates and Paul Allen at Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at Apple, or Dick Egan and Roger Marino at EMC. What they all have in common is a founding team of at least two individuals, where there is a clear balance of skills and some deep industry experience. Even the most brilliant, charismatic entrepreneurs need to be complemented with skill sets other than their own. A venture needs a synthesis of technological, marketing and business model acumen.

The right balance of skills is more important than the right number of founders. If a venture is run by all technical founders, it often lacks the aggressive type of go-to-market launch and expansion needed for a venture to scale. On the other hand, if a venture lacks a founder with financial sophistication, it can easily wander through the years without a solid, scalable business model or, give away the store to first and second round investors. In practice, finding complementary founders is not always so easy to achieve.

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Originally appeared in Wall Street Journal on July 24, 2013