What we do
It's time for a new model in venture capital and entrepreneurship....
cofounder.co is a new innovative partnership to help startups and entrepreneurs reach their full potential in the Bay Area. We are a group of experienced partners with founder/CEO and investor experience (Raj Kapoor is the first founding partner - others will be added later) that work very closely with a few tech startups mostly in the internet and mobile for consumer/small business/enterprise sector that either reside in the Bay Area or want to relocate there. A partner joins the company as a cofounder at the earliest stages (either at founding or sometime before funding) and spends the equivalent of one day a week (so they only partner with 4-5 startups at any time) helping in all areas of the company including financing, recruiting, strategy, product development, and mentoring the CEO. It's a much more deeper and focused involvement than most angels, advisors, and accelerators and for a longer period of time (several years). As a minority cofounder shareholder in the company, we bring commitment and importantly - valuable experience that high potential entrepreneurs may be missing - either if its their first time being an entrepreneur or because they are seasoned but entering a new sector. The goal is to help the entrepreneur in all key decisions in the companies life - being a true cofounder along the way.
What's In It for Entrepreneurs
In a nutshell, (as stated in The Founders Dilemma by Noam Wasserman) the founding process is “a marathon made up of a series of 100-yard dashes” - every 100 yards the founder faces a key decision with long term consequences – my role is to assist throughout the marathon. More specifically…
Support of a true cofounder working at their side - with deep VC and CEO/entrepreneur experience
- It should lead to faster and smarter execution because they have the benefit of experience and learning all the mistakes I and my 14 portfolio companies have made.
Reliable help on a regular weekly cadence over years (vs months in some models) as the company evolves through its stages - which includes:
- Help the entrepreneur be a great CEO - we are your coach, friend, and confidant on the journey
- Work alongside to get product/market fit fast - brainstorm and debate product and business strategy on a regular weekly basis as key metrics come out - we love product
- Mentor the key team members to become great managers and scale as the company grows
- Recruit vs just refer great hires
- Help prioritize, craft, sell, and execute business deals vs just providing BD introductions
- Apply proven marketing techniques (social, organic, paid, etc) learned over the years
- Share realtime lessons learned from other companies in my portfolio
Increase the likelihood of a fast and strong fundraise for each round
- I will call on my network - which covers most stages of investors
- I'll increase credibility as it's one of only a few companies I'm deeply involved
- I will put skin in the game - participate in the seed round to show my commitment and attract other investors
- I've done a lot of financings - I'll make sure we are treated fairly as founders
Help figure out if and when to exit, who to exit, and how to make it happen - every step along the way - especially the tricky mating dance, tense negotiations, and getting to close - which helped me sell Snapfish to HP without a banker
Do a bunch of other stuff I haven't thought of - net net, I have a strong incentive and sense of cofounder pride to make the company successful!
Also, I believe the risk would be low for an entrepreneur to jump in as I would vest my cofounder equity over time - allowing either of us to part ways if the relationship isn't meeting expectations.
In fact, there is more risk the way most founding teams are typically formed - with friends - Noam Wasserman from HBS has some great advice for entrepreneurs I've summarized from his book:
Cofounding with friends is typically less stable because the founder optimizes familiarity far above complimentary skill sets and networks that the company needs.
65% of failures within VC's portfolio companies (from a survey) were due to startup management teams - which I believe I can help
Who we are
Founder and Managing Partner
Raj Kapoor is an entrepreneur, internet veteran, and venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. He was a Managing Director for seven years at Mayfield Fund and continues as a Venture Partner investing in consumer internet/mobile, e-commerce, online advertising technology, and SMB/enterprise SaaS businesses. He has founded cofounder.co - an innovative new entity where he will be a minority cofounder deeply helping a few companies from the founding stage to global scale and rapid growth. His goal is to bring his wealth of experience as a successful cofounder/CEO/venture capitalist to startups in a deep and ongoing manner helping founders with every key decision. He is actively looking for passionate entrepreneurs in his sectors of expertise under this model who are in the San Francisco bay area or want to be based there.
Prior to joining Mayfield Fund, Raj was co-founder and CEO of Snapfish , a leading global online photo service. Raj orchestrated the sale of Snapfish to Hewlett-Packard in March 2005 for $300M and its now one of the largest online photo services in the world with over 80M members. Prior to Snapfish, Raj was an executive at Excite@Home, where he led the company's e-commerce and broadband applications business, driving new music, entertainment and e-commerce initiatives. Raj also held positions in strategic planning, business development and product management in consumer interactive services at Bell Atlantic Corporation, which is now Verizon. Raj received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS with honors in mechanical/robotics engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
He serves on the Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley Advisory Council, Harvard Business School's California Research Center Advisory Board and DoSomething.org's board of directors, the largest nonprofit focused on youth engaging in social entrepreneurship. He enjoys singing in a rock band (www.facebook.com/coverflow), surfing, fitness, skiing, infrequent triathlons and familyCheck Raj out on :
I'm looking for a few awesome founders to take this adventure with me (I'm targeting to work with only 1-2 new entrepreneurs per year).
You should apply if:
- You are obsessed with creating a big disruptive company that will change the world
- You are already an entrepreneur or are ready to lead a startup (and be the founding CEO) - you don't need to have a specific idea
- You are interested in the internet/mobile sector for consumer/SMB/enterprise - products/services that are "consumerized" for these audiences
- You either live in the Bay Area or will move there once partnered with cofounder.co
- You are one degree from Raj Kapoor (check ) or you have a strong reference from a well known person (e.g. a renown professor at your school)
- You are awesome in all aspects except perhaps experience (smarts are a given)
- You are a passionate builder who obsesses over product (the ability to build product is key)
- You have demonstrated entrepreneurial zeal in your life experiences
- You are a sponge for information and want to learn your domain cold
- You are self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses
- You have demonstrated you are collaborative vs soloist in nature – you can attract a strong management team
If this sounds like you,then please do click here to apply:
- Three Reasons Why You Will Be An Awesome Entrepreneur (each 140 characters or less)
We are psyched to have the following partners who are committed to making cofounder.co companies successful...
Talk on "Founding a Tech Startup in Silicon Valley -
The Good, Bad, and Ugly" - Harvard iLab, Boston, MA.
6pm Oct 15
Talk on "Founding a Tech Startup" - MIT Sloan School of Management, Boston, MA.
12pm Oct 18