I started working with my co-founder, then my boyfriend, when I’d been screwed over by a developer and he offered to step in and help. His background was as a part-time web developer and when I say part-time by that I mean he had built maybe half a dozen sites over just as many years. I wasn’t keen to involve him since I had prior experience of working with a partner and I knew that mixing the personal with the professional is nearly always a recipe for disaster. But I was desperate and he made it clear that he didn’t want to be my co-founder, merely to get me out of a sticky situation. And he did help. We found a good team of people to work with and we created an app that people liked and were using. The problem was that it had no way of making money and I live in a country where it’s very hard to raise investment for a product that doesn’t generate revenue.
Fast forward a couple of years and my boyfriend and I have broken up. I managed to raise a small amount of investment and when I say small, it’s what the average Silicon Valley start-up burns in a month. We’ve pivoted to create a platform that generates a small amount of revenue but, in the process, have lost much of the personality of the earlier product. I now can see quite clearly what we need to do and where we need to go.
My ex/co-founder, on the other hand, has lots of grand ideas but lacks direction or discipline. When I ask him for a deadline, it’s as if I’m asking him to kill his own mother. Our small pot of money is shrinking fast and yet he seems to believe that we’ll raise more money soon. I keep trying to tell him that there’s no guarantee of that and that we should be concentrating on building a sustainable business that requires minimal involvement and does not rely on outside investment. I’m willing to put in a bit more cash but I can’t help but think that I’d be better off either a) finding a more disciplined and experienced co-founder whom I can give some equity or b) going on my own. I find working with him very stressful and it’s making me generally unhappy. It has taken him three weeks to create one wireframe! It’s hard to work with someone who is always thinking into the future when I feel we need to be concentrating on the here and now.