In the part 1 of this article, I presented the structure that I used to conduct the first meeting with a potential co-founder from Antler’s community. In this part, I will go through how the second meeting is conducted. Before the meeting, both parties should have downloaded and filled Antler’s Track-out Questionnaire.
When the meeting starts:
- In your zoom call share screens and go over the co-founder questionnaire spreadsheet question by question.
- The more you listen the more you will know about the person. Try to use the questions as a talking point, and feel free to elaborate or enrich the dialogue with personal examples and experiences.
This point only applies if one of you has already started a company, and are trying to bring the other co-founder on board. Skip if not applicable.
- Before you start discussing the funding and equity section, walk your potential co-founder over everything that shows how much progress you’ve made before you both met. That includes plans, milestones, KPIs, decks, financial models, sunk costs, products built, etc.
- When you start equity negotiation, you must be completely open-minded to the fact that the other person is offering something that you don’t have.
- Work together period: Before tracking out, you should try to work with your co-founder for 2–3 weeks.
Dropping out: Despite all of this, your potential co-founder might decide to drop the ball.
- No matter how long it has been since you’ve met, it’s still possible.
- Do not be upset if it happens because you have no control over it.
- Do not burn bridges and try to understand their reasoning
- Be grateful for your ex-cofounder’s honesty. Be glad it happened early and not the day before the IC meeting.
- Do not let that demoralize you. There are a lot of hungry and smart people in the cohort.
- A potential co-founder with no personal runway: Do not be afraid to ask how long your potential co-founder can sustain themselves without getting paid. This is very crucial, especially if you don’t get an investment from the IC, and you want to raise money from other investors.
- A potential co-founder talking about getting paid a market salary before fundraising. This table was provided by Antler and it outlines the acceptable cash compensation founders can pay themselves during all stages of the startup.
- A potential co-founder who doesn’t take the time to know their co-founder.
- A potential co-founder who is wasting your time when in fact they’re not interested in working with you. This is the worst type, and unfortunately, they’re hard to discover until they have wasted a considerable amount of your time.
* Ending remarks:
- This approach allows you and other people to know as much as possible about each other. However, DO NOT let it restrict the flow of free conversations. The more you let people talk, the more you will know about them.
- The approach is not perfect by any means. Feel free to change it to fit your needs or come up with your own approach and share it with the everyone in the cohort.
- Remember: You’re “dating” people for the weeks before tracking out. Your tracking out request is your engagement, and after your IC meeting, you will marry your co-founder for the next 5–10 years. There’s no such thing as over-communication if you want to avoid a messy divorce.