coaching journey

Co-Founder Partnership Support

Co-Founder conflict is the silent killer of startups and it’s time to face it head-on.

The startup landscape is more competitive and volatile than ever. In this high-stakes environment, the survival of your venture hinges on more than just a revolutionary product or robust business model. It’s the relationship between co-founders that often determines the fate of startups.

A staggering 65% of startups fold due to co-founder conflicts: a fact that warrants your attention.

Ignoring co-founder relationships can lead your promising venture into the graveyard of failed startups. On the flip side, startups that invest in robust co-founder relations stand out, secure better funding, and achieve sustained growth.

Investors are taking notice; they’re investing not just in ideas, but in teams that communicate and work effectively. In other words, your startup can either lead in harmony or bleed in conflict.

Imagine a startup where co-founders not only share a vision but also excel in executing it together. A business environment where seeking help for internal conflicts is seen as a hallmark of strong, forward-thinking leadership. This isn’t wishful thinking — it’s a strategic move that could lead to long-term stability and potentially superior returns.

Working on the business is not the same as working on the partnership.

Your Partnership

Co-founder partnerships are tested by facing the high-stakes pressure of courting investors, finding employees, trying to create scalablity, speaking to potential customers and facing decreasing funding runways. This tension can easily lead to strained relationships.  As tension mounts, deep issues are skimmed over and unhealthy habits develop.  Here are signals that niggles between you and your co-founder may be rooted in deeper, hidden issues:

  • You’re not talking about the hard stuff. You are repeatedly avoiding a specific issue or problem in the company because it’s too difficult to talk about. I often find that co-founders resort to being “keyboard warriors” so things get written in Slack rather than resolved.  Hence, they are patching over cracks instead of making structural repairs to build stronger roots.
  • You keep having the same old fight. You recognise that you are having cut-and-dried, fixed conversations with predictable paths and tired arguments. In your head you are thinking, “Here we go again”, and there is a sense of deja vu.  It’s the same fight because you all keep doing the same thing.
  • You believe your co-founder overreacts. At home you say to your partner something like, “All I said was that I had concerns and she flipped.” When someone has a heightened reaction that doesn’t seem to match the situation, it’s a clue that there’s more to this disagreement than there appears.

Our Support

If these resonate, we can help you start to work through these deeper hidden issues.  At its simplest, Co-Founder coaching is a conversation with a partner that is completely focused on the co-founding team, not the business. This partner will support you to:

  • Experiment with developing feelings, thinking patterns and relational skills that will support your start-up to go faster
  • Understand yourself & what you are bringing to the partnership (strengths and blind spots)
  • Gain perspective about how you relate to your co-founder & the start-up

I was blown away by your ability to help us develop awareness, truly absorb it, and then work to find a way forward.   Your presence was sensitive and challenging when it needed to be. You held the frame in a way that won everyone’s trust and you handled difficult topics with respectful lightness, bringing humour and calming energy. Truly amazing things were achieved and so I am extremely likely to recommend you to others.

Lucia Adams: Co-Founder of 10 Digital Ladies