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The Anatomy Of A Perfect Startup Team

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Jan 24, 2016

This question originally appeared on Quora: What is the perfect startup team? Answer by Bill Gross.

The elusive perfect startup. That is something I have been trying to discover for more than 30 years and more than 100 startups!

I have not learned the answer, but here is what I have learned:

The perfect startup needs a complementary team:

1. It needs a passionate and driven visionary who is the product person.

2. It needs a capable execution skill that can deliver the product or service against that vision.

3. It needs people skill to make sure that the best people are recruited and retained, and so that conflict in the company is resolved.

4. It needs administrative skill to make sure that as the company grows the wheels stay on (this skill can come a bit later – it’s not needed on day 1)

5. These skills do not need to be present in 4 distinct people, but most often it takes at least 2, and usually 3 or 4 to lead these areas.

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Looking at the success factors in more than 100 companies I have been involved with, the strongest correlation to success has been the founding team – much more than the idea, or the amount of money raised, or almost anything else I can think of. The best successes came when there were at least two strong people, with opposite but complementary skills, who had a great deal of mutual trust and respect for another.

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Looking at the success factors in more than 100 companies I have been involved with, the strongest correlation to success has been the founding team – much more than the idea, or the amount of money raised, or almost anything else I can think of. The best successes came when there were at least two strong people, with opposite but complementary skills, who had a great deal of mutual trust and respect for another. That usually required significant previous experience and time together to build.

If I see I a complementary team like that, I would try to find almost any way to work with them because I feel the correlation with eventual success is so strong, particularly if they are open-minded to listen to the market and be ready for a business pivot.

Image by Startup Mena


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