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Spotting the Unicorn and Taming it! [‘Hiring’ a Cofounder]

In many startup forums I often find people looking for co-founders. From my experience, the class of people who fit the co-founder bill are like unicorns. They have special healing powers, add tons of energy into the start up and are extremely difficult to spot. Even if you did spot one or two such unicorns in one of your startup pilgrimages (meet ups), its often not clear how to decide on one (especially considering a co founder is like a girlfriend – they throw frequent tantrums!), and on what terms to start working with them.

Considering Recruiterbox has made reasonable progress since Raj joined us and we haven’t killed each other over the last 8 months, here is what worked for us: Raj’s experience was diametrically opposite to that of me and Girish. He was a non-techie who studied entrepreneurship at Babson and tried three startups (both tech and non tech). We wanted to get someone who would think differently, react differently to situations and had a different skill set compared to us – especially in the area where we were stuck (marketing, in our case). Also, we immediately discovered that our chemistry, aspirations and risk appetite (time for which we could go without a salary) matched. unicorns

We had already spent a lot of time on Recruiterbox before we met Raj, and we had come up with the equity & salary to offer him. As for salary, we decided that all the founders would take the same salary. At that time, it was zero. For equity, we used two completely independent approaches to come up with an offer. For one approach, we used Paul Graham’s equity equation. For the second approach, we came up with the premium that Girish and I should have for having spent the time that we already did, compared to Raj who was joining at that point. Both approaches gave us close results and we made the offer. After discussing Raj’s expectations, we eventually settled on the midpoint. One important point – the entire conversation about equity and salary lasted less than 30 seconds! – Which meant that we were mutually keen to work this out.

Enthused by our success with Raj, we are looking to add more people to our founding team. Any of you with suggestions or experiences to share, do leave a comment below.

Adds Team Pluggd.in: If you are a startup, willing to share some of your ‘hard’ decisions, do connect with us (team@NextBigWhat.com).

[Guest article written by Raghuveer Kancherla, Co-Founder of Recruiterbox. Raghu can be reached at raghu@recruiterbox.com]

[Image credit: Anley Piers/Flickr]

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