Ankur Warikoo's advice for Student Founders

Co-founder matrix explained by Ankur Warikoo (CEO & Co-founder,

Ankur Warikoo took a session for gradCapital’s cohort (our funded startups) and gave brutally honest advice to student founders. We may not find this information publicly because honestly, it was tactful, from his experience at We had a lot of takeaways from it. After a lot of thinking, we finally decided to make it public. We would highly recommend student founders to watch it.

Out of all the advice, the last point : “Do you need a co-founder?” is something we want to emphasise on.

First, we need to answer if you need a co-founder. The X (Core skill set) and Y axis (Control freak-ness) can be seen in the framework. This divides the framework into four quadrants. It's a function of having the core-skill set for your startup AND your control freak-ness (we know it’s a weird combination of parameters). Here’s the video of Ankur explaining this briefly.

  • Core skill-set: A startup needs people with multiple skill-sets, could be programming, hardware knowledge, design, negotiating with vendors etc - but it does have one critical function without which a startup cannot exist. For a drone company, it could be technical knowledge for aeronautics.
  • Control freak-ness: Can you sleep without anxiety when your team is doing vague projects that are mission critical for the startup? Depending upon the four parameters, you’ll be able to assess whether or not you need a co-founder and if you do, then what kind?

Co-founder matrix by Ankur Warikoo

  1. Top-right: If you have the core skill-set and are a control freak, you are better off without one because you may end up having friction with the co-founder on the basis of ‘vague’ yet critical goals. You'll keep interfering and end up frustrating yourself (if you interfere less) or them (if you do it more). Here being the sole founder works well.
  2. Stuck: If you don't have the required core-skill set, and are a control freak. Boy, you are in trouble and out of options. Either find a different idea or work on yourself. You have limited options.
  3. Bottom-left: If you don't have a core-skill set, and are not a control freak. Find a co-founder who complements you with the core-skill set. Also, make sure they are not a control freak.
  4. Bottom-right: If you have a core-skill set, and are not a control freak. You have the opportunity to find a co-founder and create a synergy. Truly making 1+1 = 11. (bottom-right)

Ankur Warikoo focused on building a team of artists and not geniuses. He said finding people who culturally fit with you will help you build the company you’ve envisioned for yourself.

02 Sep, 2022