Alexandra Wilkis Wilson of Gilt.com: Four Traits Your Co-Founders Must Have

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson is a co- founder and the chief merchandising officer of Gilt Groupe, the e-commerce powerhouse that runs private sales on Gilt.com. The company has raised approximately $240 million in venture capital since it was founded in 2007, and is now valued at around $1 billion.
"One of the most important decisions you can make as an entrepreneur when starting a business is picking the right team. Will you be flying solo or do you want to have at least one other co-founder? I have personally loved having co-founders at Gilt Groupe. We are a team that worked well together from day one, each of us with unique skill sets, interests and passion. This diversity of thought and experience has served us well.

As you think about who you want to team up with, there are a number of important factors to consider.

  • Do you trust this person(s) unconditionally? If you don't, that should be an immediate red flag to you. Stop. Move on and find a partner you trust!
  • How well do you know this person? Have you seen him or her go through professional and/or personal ups and downs? It is important for you to understand and anticipate how this person will handle stress, adversity and challenge, because no doubt in a start-up you will encounter all three.
  • How is this person different from you? Does he or she have skills that you are lacking? Is he or she interested in working on areas different from what motivates you? Ideally your skills and interests won't overlap too much because in a founding team you want as few people as possible to be able to master as many different tasks as possible, at least in the beginning as you are working to prove your concept.
  • Last but not least, you had better like this person a LOT because you will inevitably be spending a lot of time together as you build and grow your company. Hopefully you will have fun in the process too."
You might also enjoy these previous Startup Tips:

Aaron Patzer: The Most Common Entrepreneurial Fear and Why You Must Ignore It
Pop Cap Founder John Vechey: The Most Important Quality For Your First Employees
Angie Hicks: The One Thing a Startup Entrepreneur Should Never Do