Why Founding Team Diversity is Important

Business Model CanvasThere’s a very interesting blog post on Harvard Business Review site, Reversing the Decline in Big Ideas, that talks about why we don’t see more startups tackling the “I want to change the world” goal.

One argument the author makes is the lack of diversity in the founding team, more specifically the lack of subject matter experts.

“The missing piece from the DNA in the founding teams of transformational companies is now the domain expert, who has deep insight into the industry they are trying to disrupt.” – Max Marmer

It’s interesting and I have thought about it for a while, why two startups competing in the same industry, having the same technology can have so different results. The answer typically lies in the business side of the equation (how they market the product, distribution, etc.). At every event I go there’s inevitably a handful of companies that tell me they are doing something I have heard a couple times before from other startup founders. What will make them succeed or what will be their pitfall? How can you tell which one has better chances of succeeding?

Don’t Ignore the Business Guy

In a time where developers are the most sought-after talent, the composition of the team sometimes shows a gap. You have a very strong developer, a great UI person, but the business guy (or girl) is often neglected. Well, unless you can find a developer or UI person that has deep industry/market experience, you will need that business person to help out. Without them, it’s unlikely your startup will succeed.


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