How to Lose Co-Founders and Alienate Startups
Most startup entrepreneurs, investors and incubators will tell you that two founders are better than one. What they won't tell you is two founders are more likely to try to kill each other - or at least kill their startup. Co-founder disasters are a bit of an industry taboo. We never hear about most of them. Many great entrepreneurs have had to sacrifice a beloved startup to learn valuable life lessons about working with partners. This panel brings together four entrepreneurs who lost their prior startups to infighting but survived to tell their tales in the hope that you can avoid some of their mistakes.
Alex Cavoulacos is the co-founder and COO of The Daily Muse, a career-focused community for professional women.
Prior to founding the company, Alex was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she solved critical strategic and operational questions for top firms worldwide. She graduated from Yale University, where she was the Executive Director of Global21 – a network of international affairs magazines at premier universities around the world, reaching over 250,000 readers around the globe. She was also a co-founder of Pretty Young Professional (PYP), named one of Forbes' Top Websites for Women, where she got a first hand experience in co-founder disputes. A child of Europe, Alex has also worked for the European Union and the U.S. Department of State in Paris, France. When not at work, she is an avid cyclist and photographer.
Kathryn Minshew is the Founder & CEO of The Daily Muse, a female-focused career platform that has been featured on Forbes, The Huffington Post, INC, TechCrunch, PBS and Business Insider. Kathryn is a graduate of Duke University and worked at McKinsey & Company in the New York office before taking a job with the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Rwanda, which she left to work on her previous start-up. She was recently named to Forbes' 30-Under-30 in Media and INC's 15 Women to Watch in Tech. Follow her on Twitter @KMin.
Orian is a New York City native, the son of two sculptors who grew up to be a computer programmer. Orian is fascinated by the challenges of making sense of the ever growing amount of information made available to us through technology. His first startup, Eluciv Knowledge, aimed to build an adaptive, personalized RSS feed reader and was accepted into the 2008 YCombinator program. His recent endeavor, Siftee, delivers powerful tools for searching, filtering, sorting and archiving content from Twitter. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Seth is the Founder and CEO of YourTrove. For the past 10 years, he has held various engineering, architecture, and executive roles for many successful companies in finance, entertainment, and technology verticals. His passion is for creating seamless infrastructure that just works. At 18, Seth was one of 15 students internationally to win a scholarship from Microsoft for "potential impact on the software world of tomorrow." Born and raised in New York, Seth currently lives in San Francisco.
Billy Zane thinks Vivek is one cool dude. Vivek has spent far too many years building startups after his first big company job out of school didn't take. He has a background in sales and product development at companies such as Engine Yard, Blue Martini, and Cisco Systems. He holds a degree in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but sadly no longer checks in code.