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Should an Entrepreneur Solo-Found

Updated August 9, 2022

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In the United States there is a general consensus that start-ups with more than one founder are more successful. The biggest piece of advice from the co-founder of Y combinator, Paul Graham, is from entrepreneurs to find a co-founder (cite). People in the entrepreneurial community are easily persuaded to believe this assumption because simply put, aren’t two brains better than one? Didn’t Apple become so successful because Steve Jobs could focus on Sales while Steve Wozniak focused on the tech? This assumption has become so ubiquitous, that investors rarely invest in companies with a solo-founder (Cite). It is true, that founding with more than one person offers advantages such as a larger network, range of skills, and human capital, yet until recently there had been no empirical data on this widely accepted assumption.

Jason Greenberg, professor at NYU’s business school, and Ethan Mollick, professor at UPenn’s business school, found evidence that co-founding teams actually are less successful than solo-founding companies due to the “social frictions” that results in “diversions from productive activities to conflict resolution (cite).” Research from MIT also suggests that solo-founders are “twice as likely to own an ongoing, for-profit venture” than a company with two or more founders (cite). The data from these two strong research studies is promising to people who eventually want to found a company on their own, yet solo-founding for women does not look as promising.

Women who chose to solo-found a company face many more challenges than men. Founder of Node, Falom Fatimi, stated at first she though her “ambition” would enthuse investors, yet they consistently told her to find a co-founder and made comments about her gender (cite). She stated, “it is just a fact, females will have to work harder and be more prepared” (cite).

Although the #MeToo movement aiming to shine light on the inequality, and sexual harassment of females in the workplace helped uplift female founders, it didn’t result in VCs investing more in female founded companies. In 2017, women founded companies only received 2.2% of the total money invested by VC’s (cite). Female founded companies in comparison to male founded companies have lower loan authorizations by 20% on average (cite), lower median valuations, and are acquired more infrequently (cite). This data makes sense because most females aren’t receiving the investments needed to grow a company. It is not that female solo founders aren’t capable, they just don’t have the support. The VC industry is oversaturated with men that have never been held accountable for their lack of support.

These facts only push me to want to become a solo-entrepreneur more. There has to be women who are willing to face the ugly challenges and depict how strong a female can be on her own in order to create an entrepreneurial community supports females solo-founding ventures.

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Should an Entrepreneur Solo-Found. (2022, Aug 09). Retrieved from