Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship Noam Wasserman, of Harvard Business School, followed more than a thousand American start-ups for ten years and writes in his book The Founder's Dilemmas that about 84% of the companies in his database embarked on the entrepreneurial adventure together.

It is striking, according to Wasserman, that more than half of the entrepreneurs choose a business partner that they know from a social environment: friends, family, acquaintances or partners are their favourites. While these are also the most vulnerable companies according to his research: there is a good chance that these people have the same skills and that the personal connection is getting in the way of the company's progress. 

Yet it can be explained that many people reach for someone they already know, says Magdalena Cholakova, associate professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at RSM. “Entrepreneurship is already exciting enough. It feels safer working with someone you know.” Still, she recommends starting a business with someone you have a certain distance from.


  • Magdalena Cholakova
    Role: Faculty
    Reference type: Quoted

Media Outlets

  • Het Financieele Dagblad (Online)