Reid Hoffman has said that the first 6 employees should be considered cultural co-founders. One of our portfolio company CEOs has elaborated:
“Your first round of employees will have a VERY heavy impact on the fingerprint of the culture. They help lock in mission and vision, decide core values, and help hire the next round. In this stage, you are looking for smart employees (of course), but maybe even more important, employees that you think you could model the culture after, because whether you like it or not, they will have an impact.” – Travis Terrell, Soundstripe Co-CEO
Another very important consideration at this point is visionary vs. integrator mentalities. Ensuring a healthy balance among the founding team will pay dividends. Scratch beneath the surface to understand which is which – it’s not uncommon for people to claim (or want) one but actually tend toward the other.