Why you don't need a co-founder

April 14, 2022

Background: I'm a solo founder who's made over $180k on past projects. I created my current startup 3 months ago and am now at $3,000 MRR.

I used to think my startup could only succeed if I had a co-founder.

Two brains are better than one. Hard to do it alone. Investors prefer it.

On my last startup, I had 2 co-founders. We hung out every day, coded all night. We got great initial traction, and the YC interview.

Then everything exploded. We had an equity convo and one co-founder ended up leaving. Traction fell and the other went back to school.

I spent the whole year coding in my basement trying to find Product Market fit alone. I onboarded 2 more co-founders. I hit walls with retention. Eventually, the co-founders ended up leaving and I was left with... Nothing. A failed startup.

Then I started co-working with Robert. We were both solo founders working on our separate startups. We'd jump on a video call unblock each other instantly ("How do you actually talk to users?") or ask the hard question ("How come you're building for 1 month when you haven't asked people to pay?")

After 1 month of co-working, I got 40 paying customers. With the support of Robert and other solo founders, I stopped searching, I stopped coding. I just focused on one thing, and one thing only: Is this a problem people are willing to pay for?

After 1 week, I got my first 10 paying customers. After 3 months, I got 91 paying customers, 85% retention, and $3,000 MRR. To this day, I have 0 cofounders, 0 code, and 0 investment.

There is a narrative out there that you must find a co-founder. In my experience, I don’t think it’s true. You don't need a co-founder, technical skills, or even an investor to find out whether someone will pay for your product.

If you're in the same boat, I can invite you to Founders Cafe https://founderscafe.io . We have a cohort of 80 bootstrapped solo-ish founders who co-work together and help each other unblock. Most of us are now getting paying customers in weeks, not after 1 year of building.

Maddie Wang founders of founders cafe solo founder
Maddie Wang
Gay / Solo-Founder / Stanford Dropout

I'm building Founders Cafe because as a solo founder, it can be very isolating. Last year, I lost 4 co-founders and a best friend on a previous startup.

Previously built a Minecraft Server ($61k), Amazon Store ($120k), and Queer Chart, where I met my girlfriend & close friends.

If you're interested in joining the Founders Cafe, let's talk and if it's a good fit, down to invite you!

Contact us at maddie@founderscafe.io
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