Why You Should Date Potential Co-founders

I never dreamed of running a fashion e-commerce company with four male founding members. I dated each one very carefully and married all of them. It just so happened that way and it has been absolutely amazing.

HoHow finding a co-founder and meeting your spouse can be strikingly similar experiences.w finding a co-founder and meeting your spouse can be strikingly similar experiences.

No, I didn’t actually date them. But it was a similar courting period. And once we decided to found a company together, it was if we entered into a marriage.

Here’s how I met my co-founders, dated around and ultimately put a proverbial ring on it.

1. How did I Encounter my Dates?

I met my co-founders through a friend, a family introduction and at a startup event. When I tell people that I didn’t have to pay any developers to build products because I have technical co-founders, people would say “Oh! You are SO LUCKY.” I’d answer nonchalantly, “Yes, surely I am lucky.”

But the truth is, I was looking for technical co-founders for three entire years. In the past, although I had full-time jobs, I knew I was interested in the e-commerce sector, and wanted to build something. I taught myself basic skills and finally got to the level where I could understand enough to speak with developers and differentiate between good and bad developers.

As of now, my three years of learning and effort paid off. I met two intelligent web developers (Cornell CS graduates who were graduate school roommates), and not too long after, I met a kick-ass app developer (MIT graduate, genius iOS guy). I sold them my idea and they became my co-founders.

2. What do you Need to Know Before ‘Marriage’?

First, dating doesn’t guarantee marriage. You may work on something together and win a hackathon together, but that doesn’t guarantee that you both will co-found a company together.

Second, love at first sight works, sometimes. One of my co-founders decided to work with me after one dinner meeting.

Finally, timing is everything. All of my co-founders were looking for a new opportunity before I pitched my idea.

3. Are my Relationships Happy?

DearMissJ launched its iOS app and website last year. Last night, I was writing an email to the entire team (now, we have seven people in total). I wrote a long email sharing updates.

At the end of the email, I wrote “Thank you everyone, I am totally blessed to have you guys around me.” And it hit me, “Wow, I do have so many talented people who believe in me, and I love working with them.” It was the best feeling I’ve had since the moment I finished the incorporation of my company.

4. Tips for Finding Mr (or Ms) Right

I found co-founders by always keeping an eye out. When I met someone I liked, I would aggressively sell them on joining my team.

In SF, the top talent developers are always poached by recruiters, or already working on their own ideas. I had to convince them that I had a cooler idea and that I was the best person to work with to execute the idea. I feel blessed to have talented, hard-working and cool guys as my co-founders.

Just like any other married couple, we may fight a lot, but I know I picked the right guys.

By Kristy Kim (Founder & CEO, DearMissJ)

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