We all know that co-founders with a longstanding personal bond have a better chance of building a successful company than co-founders who don’t share a strong friendship. But what about when that bond between two co-founders is a bit deeper, as a romantic relationship?
Eventbrite co-founders Julia and Kevin Hartz have shown that building a business with your significant other — in this case, a spouse — can lead to big success. The online event planning and ticketing platform, which is understood to be making its way to an IPO, just hit a major milestone this week, crossing $1.5 billion in gross sales and 100 million tickets sold.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the Hartzes in a fireside chat last month at the really fantastic Startup Grind 2013 conference headed up by tech entrepreneur Derek Andersen in Silicon Valley. In our 30-minute conversation, we talked about all things Eventbrite, from the early days as a budding startup to its current status as a sizable tech company, and you can watch it all in the video embedded above.
But, being that today is said to be the wedding of Wildfire Interactive co-founders Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard, another uber successful co-founding couple (congratulations!), I especially wanted to highlight Julia and Kevin’s comments about running a business with a loved one.
Kevin and Julia said placing a priority on keeping their interpersonal relationship strong was a smart decision that should be used by other co-founding teams, whether they’re in a romantic relationship or not. Starting at around 4:50, Kevin said:
“There’s been famous husband and wife teams where it’s worked out remarkably, and famous husband and wife teams, as in the case of Cisco, where it’s kind of a disaster — but, you know, Cisco became a great company. Like anything, it’s a co-founder relationship, and in our case we had to be extra sensitive about it because there was this extra personal relationship important aspect about it.
So, we approached it somewhat cautiously. We had many different chances where we would say, ‘OK, we’re not going to ruin the marriage,’ so you know, one of us steps out, and we have this kind of a Plan B if things went poorly. I also think it’s a great exercise in really ensuring we’re compatible founders, and we were very conscientious of it. When you’re working with founders, your fellow founders, that relationship is fundamental whether it’s romantic or not.”
And Julia added:
“We were so cautious about the decisions we made and what kind of modes of operations we would have. We had this law that we would divide and conquer, and wouldn’t work on the same thing at the same time. It just so happened we had complimentary skills so that was an easy thing to do.
When I overlay that over any co-founder relationship, it’s vital actually to be talking about those kinds of things.”
There was much more where that came from, and you can see it all in the video above.