Why are 2+ founders (potentially) better? For me it’s about the camaraderie and partnership that emerges when two (or more) people decide to go on such an incredible journey together. And when the going gets tough (and it always does), it’s nice to have someone sitting beside you in the dark who knows exactly how you feel. There’s a comfort in that. A good partnership between co-founders usually means a good division of labor, and things can be a little less overwhelming for each individual. But that co-founder relationship takes constant work to maintain, and it can go sour surprisingly quick.
So what about single founders? Single founders have an advantage in that they don’t need to build consensus with other founders. They don’t need to work on the delicate co-founder relationship, they can just plow ahead. They may need to bring in additional senior talent, often on the technical side (which has its own challenges), but they’re 100% in control. There’s something just simpler about it overall.
So what’s the answer: single founders or co-founders? I don’t see a definitive answer.
(1) Seeking Alpha is a sole founder startup, but I’ve found that my relationships with some key people have developed into co-founder-like relationships, with the camaraderie that Ben Yoskovitz talks about.
(2) Cf. The danger of sole founder startups