Don’t do it Akela! – Co-Founders’ Guide by Srikant Sastri.

Srikant Sastri is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta with interests in current affairs, contemporary history, and economic development. He is a seasoned entrepreneur who spearheaded multiple ventures and exited two successful ventures. He provides strategic leadership as the co-founder of Crayon Data, the ambitious Singapore-headquartered start-up, which aims to build a global business around a Big Data platform and products. This is his third start-up. As a successful entrepreneur, Srikant had founded India and Southeast Asia’s largest CRM & Digital agency, Solutions – Digitas, in 1995. Sastri is a known name among Indian technology start-ups and an active angel investor. He created a theme-based web series called ‘Chalo Startup’ which focuses on helping entrepreneurs to unravel the start-up ecosystem through the experiences of early stage entrepreneurs.

Mr. Srikant Sastri visited Venture Center to give a talk about finding co-founders for start-ups on 23rd March 2018. He discussed important aspects of having a cofounder as a part of the startup.

He addressed three important questions through his presentation.

  1.    What you look out for in a co-founder?
  2.    What are the expectations from cofounders?
  3.    Why having co-founders is important?

According to him, it’s difficult to manage a new business as a sole founder and at times it becomes stressful handling everything. The complementary cofounder plays an important role here, helping them to make better decisions. Also, investors are most likely to invest in start-ups with multiple cofounders because multiple brains are better than one and cofounders complement each other’s skillsets. Looking out for a person who has rights skillsets and personality traits who can complement yours helps in growing your company in the right direction. Mr. Sastri quoted,

“Finding right co-founders and a great working relationship is key to a successful start-up.”

He mentioned that relationship with cofounders is similar to the relationship with a spouse. There needs to be mutual respect among co-founders to make it a long-standing relationship. Co-founders should regularly spend time together to maintain that partnership. Seeking out cofounders from ex-colleagues, classmates and juniors is one way of finding the right candidate. Start-up events and Entrepreneurship summits is another way of bringing in like-minded people. Social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook is another place to look out for cofounders. First among equals is a principle which helps in successful business partnerships. Having a clear founders agreement amongst cofounders is critical to safeguarding start-ups future viability. It should cover important areas like equity distribution, ownership, roles and responsibilities etc.

Mr. Srikant Sastri interacted with the present entrepreneurs and answered all their queries.