December 14, 2016
In the world of entrepreneurship, it’s not uncommon to find cofounders being husband and wife who are able to keep their partnership going strong before and after clocking out at the end of the day.
Tech.Co’s own CEO Frank Gruber and COO Jen Consalvo, exemplify the “couplepreneurs” of the startup world: They teamed up to head Tech.Co, and the media company has been going strong under their oversight ever since.
That example isn’t just a coincidence, ShearShare, the “AirBnB of the beauty industry,” connects salon and barbershop owners with individual beauty operators in order to fill salon suites and stations at short notice, were the winners of Tech.Co’s 2016 Startup of the Year. Shearshare beat out nearly 1,000 other startups to take home prizes and a slot in 500 Startups. And it’s the brainchild of husband/wife team Dr. Tye and Courtney Caldwell.
Taking a Closer Look
How do couples work so well together in relationships and in business? I spoke to Johanna and Juha Mikkola, cofounders of the Miami-based coding school Wyncode Academy, to gain a little more insight on how their partnership works both in and outside of the office. Here’s Juha’s response, complete with emoji:
How did you decide to get into business as a couple?
“We’ve been through a lot together dating for 18 years and felt that maybe the next challenge together should be to run a startup. :)
Seriously, though it’s something that happened very organically. We had a chance to work together on some not for profit events before our company, one of which was the Canada Cup Floorball Championship, an indoor hockey event we hosted in Toronto for over a decade with 72 teams /1000 players. This showed me we could work together well and that we actually had very different but complementary skill sets. I love business development, marketing and sales and Jo’s passionate about our product, the experience and our team. She also brings corporate experience that I don’t have from the National Hockey League while I have entrepreneurial experience to bring to the table, since this is my second start up.”
How has your partnership worked out since? Any interesting challenges or benefits?
“I feel the partnership has worked out amazing! I was the only founder in my previous startup (FloorballPro Inc., sold to Salming Sports in 2015) and I love being able to work with someone like Jo who is so talented at bringing the best out of our team and students. Having a co-founder who is also your partner means you can trust them 100%, which is amazing, and it gives you an opportunity to share at a much deeper level.
A challenge we face is separating work life from personal life. At first we thought separating the two was the way to go, but I think that is kind of an illusion. Because we love what we do, we’re coming to terms with the fact that if we feel like talking about work, we should just do it, and not try to time box it.
Something we have got into the habit of doing that I would recommend is regular walks in the evenings together, with our dog and now our first child, Matias who is 2 months old. We often don’t have time to debrief during the days so walks help us bring each other up to speed on the meetings we have had, get focused on the major things we need to accomplish and split tasks for the following day.
I’d say another interesting benefit to being entrepreneurs together has been the fact that now that we have a child, he’s like a second start up. Defiantly another element to our life together. I think running a business together has definitely prepared us to be good partners when it comes to raising Matias.”
An organic blend of work life and personal life sums up most successful couplepreneur sentiments. But the combination of tech and couples doesn’t end there: One startup’s innovative model hopes to help out self-starters plan out their wedding ceremony. Love Stories TV, hosted at lovestoriestv.us, is crowdsourcing wedding videos in hopes to “become the largest collection of wedding videos in the world” with an end goal of helping couples planning their weddings.
For any couplepreneurs hoping to seal the deal before embarking on their startup journey, it’s a must-see site to click through. Just don’t complain if you lose a few hours to the endless selection of wedding scenes.
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