Nathan Hurst on how to evaluate a non-technical cofounder:
If you're joining someone else's company, the team has to be good enough for you to give up [100 - (your equity share)]% of the company. Let's consider the situation where there is a sole non-technical founder approaching you to be the other member of the founding team. How should you evaluate that person/startup?
The key points to look out for, according to Nathan, are:
- Traction (measured differently for different kinds of startups);
- Domain expertise;
- Marketing ability;
- Fundraising ability;
- Product skill;
- Respect for development;
- Startup experience;
- Relevant connections/following.
Really, joining a startup as a cofounder is like being a major investor in that startup. You should use many of the same metrics as any investor (as a bonus, this will teach you how to pitch your startup).
One meta-metric that comes to mind, in addition to this list, is whether or not the startup/founder really needs you to succeed. If the startup needs you specifically in order to have a ghost of a chance, then you're not joining it - it's joining you. And so the negotiations about share percentages should reflect that.
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