Could you start a company with your SO? 9 successful companies cofounded by significant others -


Sep. 1, 2015 11:24 am

Could you start a company with your SO? 9 successful companies cofounded by significant others

From Y Combinator to Slideshare, some big names in tech were founded by couples.
Mixing business and pleasure works for many cofounders.

Mixing business and pleasure works for many cofounders.

(Photo by Flickr user little birth, used under a Creative Commons license)

Would you be surprised to hear that over 1.4 million couples work together? (And manage to not kill each other in the process?)

Starting a business is stressful no matter what, but having the one you love at your side can be just the thing you need to get it off the ground.

Here are nine companies, some venture-backed, others privately held, ranging in size and industry, that have been founded by (or partly by) couples:

1. Eventbrite

What they do: “Eventbrite is the world’s largest self-service ticketing platform, hosting a vibrant collection of live experiences to fuel people’s passions and enrich their lives.” The site allows hosts to create and organize events, sell tickets, and track updates. On the other side of things, people who are looking for things to do can browse events and make weekend plans. Eventbrite is used in over 180 countries around the world.

  • Founders: Renaud Visage and couple Kevin & Julia Hartz
  • Founded: 2006
  • Headquarters: San Francisco
  • Number of employees: 497
  • Company value: $199.6 million
2. ModCloth

What they do: An online clothing retailer focusing on unique fashions (often with a vintage bent). “ModCloth is the go-to source for all fashion fans, fun lovers, and free spirits of the world.”

  • Founders: Susan & Eric Koger
  • Founded: 2002
  • Headquarters: San Francisco
  • Number of employees: 393
  • Company value: $100 million
3. HouseTrip

What they do: Vacation sharing has exploded in recent years, and HouseTrip is one of the websites through which that’s possible. Hosts can list their homes for guests to stay in as a more affordable and spacious alternative to hotels, with a system in place to ensure peace of mind on both sides.

  • Founders: Arnaud Bertrand & Junjun Chen
  • Founded: 2010
  • Headquarters: London
  • Number of employees: 107
  • Company value: Over $60 million in funding received
4. XO Group

What they do: XO Group is the parent company of three. Their first company, The Knot, focused on multimedia wedding planning, and was so successful that they added The Nest (for moving in together) and The Bump (for expecting parents).


  • Founders: Carley Roney & David Liu
  • Founded: 1996
  • Headquarters: New York City
  • Number of employees: 100
  • Company value: $31 million in revenue
5. Duarte

What they do: Basically, Duarte is a marketing and design firm focusing on “translating information into inspiration.” Using their unique VisualStory methodology, they bring the principles of storytelling and visual thinking to the craft of presentation creation, because few things resonate more with an audience than good stories and a human connection.

  • Founders: Nancy & Mark Duarte
  • Founded: 1988
  • Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • Number of employees: 92
  • Company value: N/A
6. Slideshare

What they do: Acquired by LinkedIn in 2012, Slideshare is the largest presentation-sharing site in the world. It is widely used in professional spaces and is one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world.

  • Founders: Amit Ranjan, couple Rashmi Sinha & Jon Boutelle
  • Year founded: 2006
  • Headquarters: San Francisco
  • Number of employees: 90+
  • Company value: $946 million
7. Kel and Partners

What they do: Public relations and social media agency that focuses on cross-media marketing with a personal touch and a focus on trustworthy dealings with clients. Their employees “have not only walked a mile in the client’s shoes, but have run a marathon in the dark and freezing rain while darting across a six lane highway.”

  • Founders: Kel Kelly & Ginny Pitcher
  • Founded: 2002
  • Headquarters: Boston
  • Number of employees: 53
  • Company value: N/A
8. Y Combinator

What they do: Y Combinator is a seed-stage accelerator that helps launch startups in a non-traditional way. Twice a year, they choose promising startups (usually a lot at a time, most recently 85) and give them $120,000 in funding in exchange for 7 percent equity. These startups then spend three months in Silicon Valley working with YC partners to hone their business plan and pitch. At the end, they present to investors at Demo Day and have the chance to take their companies to the next level.

  • Founders: Trevor Blackwell, couple Paul Graham & Jessica Livingston, Robert Tappan Morris
  • Founded: 2005
  • Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
  • Number of employees: 23 full-time
  • Company value: N/A
9. Mattermark

What they do: Mattermark is a data-driven website that aims to help venture-capital firms identify and analyze the startups they may want to invest in. It compiles information from around the web, including sources like LinkedIn, Twitter, news articles, CrunchBase, AngelList, and more, to help VCs locate potential investment opportunities and have the numbers to back up their decisions.

  • Founders: Couple Danielle & Kevin Morrill, Andy Sparks
  • Founded: 2013
  • Headquarters: San Francisco
  • Number of employees: 12
  • Company value: $9.9 million in funding received


Not every relationship can make the crossover to business, but if you love each other, communicate well and remember to breathe, it can be an incredible (and profitable!) experience. There’s nothing better than sharing a passion with your other half and working side by side to succeed at your goals.


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