We are often told that starting a startup on your own is madness. There are thousands of articles out there that tell you that, as well as why you need a co-founder. Probably solid advice, but data from thousands of startups in CrunchBase shows a different side of the story. More than half of startups with an exit did so with just a single founder. The average is 1.72 founders.
To ensure that I had the most useful and well-reported data, I limited my research to “successful” startups. It’s tricky to determine what makes a company qualify for that label. There are examples of great companies that haven’t made a penny in their existence, and others that made a lot of money but still cannot really be considered successful. As such, I decided to look at two different — and admittedly slightly arbitrary — measures of success. The first group is companies that have raised more than $10 million of funding. The other group is companies that have successfully exited the business, either via an IPO or an acquisition.
The numbers in both cases vary slightly, but there are some strong similarities, in both cases re-confirming data from about 10 years ago, where a much smaller data set concluded that successful companies had, on average, 2.09 founders.