[Matrix Moments] What is the magic number for a founding team?

In this episode of Matrix Moments, Avnish Bajaj, Founder and Managing Director, Matrix Partners India, explains Rajinder Balaraman, Director, Matrix Partners India, why an ideal founding team should be between two and three.
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For any company, the founders and founding team is extremely important; they make or break a company. They also help a company achieve its targets, as well as help it scale and grow. 

In this episode of Matrix Moments, Avnish Bajaj, Founder and Managing Director, Matrix Partners India, asks Rajinder Balaraman, Director, Matrix Partners India, what is the magic number for a founding team? 

Avnish Bajaj, Founder and Managing Director, Matrix India.



“It is 2.3, but this is the beauty of the averages. Somebody took the number of successful companies and the number of founders and divided one by the other, and the no. is 2.3,” says Avnish. 

This, however, is instructive. It tells one that you don’t need one or four, but somewhere between two and three. 

Work with different personalities 

While different analysis and data points show that a founding team of three is perfect, Avnish emphasises that it differs on a case by case basis. Earlier, Avnish had said, “There is an analogy of three people forming the three ends of a pyramid — visionary, hustlers, and hackers. The visionary sets the big picture, the hustler gets things done, and the hacker builds the systems. While this is an ideal world scenario, what helps is having people with complementary skill sets.”

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He adds that it is important to think of complementaries and not similarities, as in most cases, people choose those who are similar. 

“There are different archetypes that you talk about in founders; somebody is a promoter, somebody is a hustler, somebody is a thinker, so on and so forth. To build a company, it takes all the archetypes, and no one person has that. So, I think having different types of personalities is very important,” says Avnish.

Different skillsets

He adds these are domain and the skillset. If someone has to start a company and is a 

a computer science engineer by training, then it is important to find someone who has business expertise. 

Avnish has explained earlier he would never have equal co-founders. He says it is very important to have a first among equals. Avnish adds that he has seen teams that have been the most well-gelled – and it’s not about ownership. Ownership can be equal, but there has to be a person who is first among them.

“If I personally start something, I need a CTO. Also, its lonely at the top, and I think more than one person helps, both in terms of keeping you honest, as well as in the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship,” adds Avnish.

Edited by Suman Singh

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