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Roles and responsibilities

  • Who is responsible for product creation?
  • Who should deal with investors and prepare pitch documents?
  • Who is responsible for marketing?
  • Who is responsible for the website and design?
  • Who is responsible for customer support?
  • Who is responsible for the user-interface?
Responsibilities amongst the co-founders must be mutually allocated. However, in the initial stages, many tech companies simply tend to focus on the technical aspect of the product. A reading of journey of startups incubated at Y-Combinator (see this book), one of the most successful early stage incubators in the world will indicate that in the initial phases of the business most founders are focussing on creation of the product / service, that is, primarily coding. There may be some element of initial marketing and carrying out pilots. This is also a phase where there is no rigid specialization between the founders with reference to their roles. Most of the time, everyone will be working on everything, although the relative amount of time spent on different tasks may differ. Hence, for the sake of efficiency, it makes sense to specify responsibilities to determine who has the final say in the event of a disagreement.

The objective behind this is not to reduce one’s role to a certain aspect, rather to have a specified role in the event that one is torn between two tasks, because – it makes sense to include a provision for re-allocation of founder roles without following the burden some process of specifically amending the Co-Founder’s agreement. It could be done through an email exchange where all the Co-Founders are in agreement, for example.  

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