Strictly speaking? No. We have seen a decent number of companies come through the Kitchener-Waterloo startup ecosystem as sole founders. A large percentage of those (and a higher proportion than multi-founder companies) are still 1-person companies when they exit the program.
So as a whole, it is totally fine to start a 1-person company if you are OK to start from a place that has, based on our data, shown a pattern of lower growth.

My own theories here are that having an additional people on the team lead you to have discussions verbally, which steps up the formality and…


Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

For anyone who has stumbled onto this article, I’m am writing it for myself. Specifically, I recently discovered deepstash.com, and I’m using this article as a workaround to put my own ideas into Deepstash, so that I can use their platform to show them to me at a later time. We’ll see how it goes.

2021–03–06 — I played with LEGO a lot as a kid, and I think that still is a big factor in how I build solutions to problems today. I build things with simple, modular blocks (which Google Sheets, Airtable and Notion are very good for)…


Talking to customers is a necessary step in building a great product and a great business. But there seems to be some disagreement around when it makes the most sense to start that process.

In my opinion, it should happen as early as possible — before you even have a product or a development team to build one. But without a fully realized product, how can you start the conversation? In short:

  • Focus on finding and talking to people who don’t need a fully fleshed-out demo to get excited about what you’re doing.
  • Use mockups, still images or videos to…


Probably the second most frequently asked question I hear from aspiring entrepreneurs is “Should I have a co-founder, and how do I find them?” This seems especially common with folks who have a business idea, but don’t feel confident that they have the skills to build it themselves. As with other questions, most people have an intuitive hunch about what the answer is, but have a secret hope that there are other, easier options.

TL;DR: Yes you should have a co-founder, and you probably already know this person, so just reach out to them.

On having co-founders:

When faced with a complex or…


“Is my business idea a good one, or not?” is a question that gets asked a lot (usually indirectly) when I talk to aspiring entrepreneurs, and it’s often followed by “What should I do next?”

The short answers to these questions are “It’s probably good, with enough adjustment.” and “You should talk to customers.” Both answers are vague & not super encouraging(since they require more work), but they can be very useful in the long term.

Y Combinator is a huge proponent of getting an MVP into customers’ hands, and going from there. …


Below are a few questions that tend to come up during coaching sessions with aspiring entrepreneurs:

Q1: Have you had a conversation about your idea with a friend, classmate or peer whose opinion you really respect?

Why this is important:

1. Most ideas take the effort of more than 1 person to get off the ground. Especially big, ambitious ideas. There’s a very high chance that you’ll need to enlist other peoples’ help at some point, and in most cases I recommend starting a team with more than 1 co-founder.
2. As much as we all would love them to…


I’m a firm believer that a huge part of early-stage success comes from taking shortcuts.
Some obvious examples are using high-value people (like CEOs and co-founders) to learn & perform the work of two people, and running without any formal meetings because everyone is already spending 12 hours a day in a room together (and probably already knows more than they want to about the other person’s work).
Most of these patterns aren’t conscious decisions, because you’re spending very little of your time framing & deliberating over decisions. People just act, without asking for someone’s input, and things tend to get…

Pat Martinson

Hardware startup guy, aspiring Dungeon Master, ice cream sandwich enthusiast

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