This time last year, I was sitting in a conference room in Soho with two co-founders who were on the verge of closing a Series A—and they were at war. They asked if I could help them resolve their differences. They weren’t aligned on what they wanted. They didn’t have clear roles and responsibilities. They didn’t trust each other. They couldn’t stand being in the same room together. It was a tough situation. I felt for both of them.
And these founders are not alone. I wish they had Tapestry which we are launching today.
According to Noam Wasserman, 65% of startups fail as a result of co-founder conflict. In the last decade, I’ve worked with dozens of teams and seen the strain that interpersonal conflict can have on an organization. I’ve also coached and supported a handful of founders through a divorce. Every breakup is complex and emotionally draining.
A few months ago, my close friend Eric Friedman and I were talking about the prevalence of co-founder conflict and the importance of investing in interpersonal relationships. We wondered why it was common for founders to invest so much energy and effort in their company, products, and teams, but not their business partnerships. Eric mentioned that he had honed a process as an investor and advisor to unite co-founders. His process helped numerous founding teams grow more aligned, and build stronger and healthier partnerships.
We began to discuss what the next evolution of that might look like. We asked ourselves how we could help co-founders infuse their partnerships with more honesty and intention. We became obsessed with this pursuit.
After several months of collaboration and hard work, Eric and I are thrilled to unveil Tapestry.
Tapestry is a ritual and framework that unites co-founders in the early stages of company building. The process takes each co-founder through a series of questions about themselves and their startup, with topics ranging from “Communication Styles” to “Areas of Responsibilities” to “Handling Conflict.” The co-founders’ responses are then woven into a single document and discussed as a partnership. The goal is to emerge with a personal manual and shared language for working together more effectively.
Tapestry is delivered in two ways: self-guided and coach-guided. We’ve created a template that co-founders can complete on their own time. Think of this as DIY. In the second option, Eric and I guide co-founders through the process step-by-step. Each co-founder works individually with a coach and then we'll unite as a team to review a combined document. This option also has quarterly support and nudges to ensure the partnership is reviewing their document regularly and living by it.
Tapestry is meant to be a dynamic document that combines people, ideas, values, and intentions. It should evolve over time just like the company, the people, and the partnership will. The final product is a working manual not only for the co-founders, but also for future employees, advisors, and even board members.
We created Tapestry for the co-founders who know that investing in their partnership is crucial for the success of their company. Most likely, they have recently formed their company or raised a seed round. It’s also for co-founders who want to infuse their partnership with more intention, alignment, honesty, and resiliency.
Eric and I have assembled this work through coaching co-founders, investing the time ourselves with partners, and compiling all the great sources we have found helpful. We’ve wanted to work together and collaborate on something for years. We both felt Tapestry was a perfect way to weave together our beliefs and goals—serving and helping founders. We hope many co-founders benefit from our partnership.
You can learn more about the product at Tapestry.so. If you happen to be a co-founder looking to deepen and strengthen your partnership, we would be honored to serve and support you.