Just about every resource you'll find about starting a software company says that you should find a co-founder. Building a company from nothing is hard work, and working with a co-founder increases the company's small chance of success. Finding a co-founder is so important that there are websites (some even call themselves "dating" sites) dedicated to pairing co-founders.
To the outside observer, I don't have a formal co-founder of Roompact. Roompact's first full-time team member didn't join until 6 months after the company was founded. The journey over those 6 months was long, grueling, and lonely.
What most people don't know is that the journey to Roompact started 13 months prior to its official founding. For 13 months, I worked on several different business ideas. For each idea, I did market research and developed early forms of software. I'd do that for about 40 hours per week and did freelance programming work for another 40 hours per week. Lots of work. Not much time for fun. Those 13 months before stumbling upon the idea for Roompact were even lonelier. That's almost 2 full years of solitary work.
Well, thankfully, that work wasn't so solitary. I had a companion. Though you won't find her name in Roompact's incorporation papers, and you won't read about her on Roompact's "About Us" page, I have a very special co-founder -- my wife, Megan. The person I'm lucky enough to come home to after every work day is also my greatest sounding board, my biggest confidant, and my closest advisor.
Megan has also been one of Roompact's volunteer team members from day one. The work she does is usually behind the scenes and unglamorous. Accounting work, documentation work, and other organizational-focused work -- the kinds of things that need to happen for a company to run that not many people think about. Back in 2013, we went to our first-ever conference, GLACUHO, and stayed in a fleabag hotel in Indianapolis because we didn't have much of a budget. Megan was one of the reps at our booth.
The photo looks blurry because the exhibit hall had a severe low-lighting issue. Also, you'll notice that the Roompact logo was different, and we had uniforms!
Particularly in the earlier days of Roompact, I had a one-track mind. Sleep didn't matter, and even eating was an inconvenience. Megan took care of me. She made sure I stayed healthy. She cooked, she cleaned. She was my care taker. I might have been living in a ditch if she wasn't there to guide me along in all of my non-work necessities.
She's also one of Roompact's investors, both financially and emotionally. Financially, she has helped the company by picking up my slack. From day 1, I've paid myself less than a living wage so that the company can use money for other things. Well, that wouldn't have been possible if she didn't effectively subsidize my tiny salary. Emotionally, Megan had been dating a deadbeat for about 13 months. A guy with no job. An "entrepreneur" without a company. I had very little time for anything other than work. I was emotionally unstable as well -- there were a lot of highs and lows in this time period. Through it all, Megan stayed with me. We pushed forward, together. For all of this, I'm incredibly thankful.
Megan is the more risk-averse person of our partnership. In the early days, she'd wonder out loud, "What if this Roompact thing doesn't work out? What would we do?" My response would always be a stern, "It's going to work out." We'd have that exchange about once a month. Well, the other day I realized -- it's been at least a year since she last asked that question. It hasn't been easy by any means, but we're out of the weeds. The toughest days are behind us. And we wouldn't be here without Megan.