I cofounded a tech startup with my husband. Listed here are 4 methods we steadiness being a pair and enterprise companions.


Josh and Shanea Leven are the cofounders of tech startup CodeSee.Courtesy photograph

  • Shanea Leven is the CEO of CodeSee, a developer startup that she cofounded together with her husband Josh.

  • Going into enterprise along with your companion will be nice in case you set the proper boundaries, says Leven.

  • Outline your roles, talk with intention, and do not let work overtake your private lives.

It at all times makes me smile to see individuals’s shocked reactions to studying that my husband Josh and I are additionally enterprise companions. We married in Could 2018 and cofounded our developer device firm, CodeSee, in 2019.

I am the CEO and Josh is the CTO. Collectively, we run the corporate and its world group from our San Francisco condo.

Whereas our scenario typically conjures up intrigue in others, it is not fully distinctive. Actually, a number of notable tech entities have been shaped by founders like us. There’s Diane Greene and Mendel Rosenblum who cofounded IT firm VMware and led the corporate collectively for over a decade, Rashmi Sinha and Jon Boutelle who launched SlideShare and later offered it to LinkedIn, and lots of others.

Whether or not in marriage or enterprise, each partnership requires steadiness. Spouses and startups can efficiently coexist so long as every companion takes steps to reduce problems, set boundaries, and maximize the well being of their private {and professional} relationship.

That is one thing Josh and I noticed from the beginning and take care to recollect typically, particularly as our enterprise has grown. Listed here are 4 issues we do to steadiness being each a pair and enterprise companions.

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1. Outline your roles and duties

Setting clear expectations for particular person roles and duties between you and your cofounder ought to be a topmost goal and one thing you ideally tackle on the outset. It will assist you to keep away from function confusion and disputes and mean you can transfer by way of enterprise selections with minimal friction.

In our case, I oversee how we construct the enterprise and product and Josh manages all software program engineering issues. We each voice our opinions, however when a line is drawn in our respective areas of focus, it is drawn clearly and decisively.

2. Discuss how you are going to discuss work

It may be difficult to take care of boundaries in conversations along with your cofounding companion. Josh and I typically battle to delineate between husband-wife and CEO-CTO matters, and a heated enterprise dialogue can begin to really feel private — notably when it happens throughout off hours.

It is useful to preemptively set expectations for matters of debate and schedule time to attach exterior of labor. Once you’re married to your cofounder, taking time to easily be human collectively in dialog is a crucial a part of seeing and understanding each other.

In our case, the corporate is an ever-present, significant a part of the life we’re constructing collectively, so we’re fantastic permitting CodeSee matters to enter our regular conversations. However relying in your relationship, setting limits for enterprise discussions like “No store speak after 6 p.m.” could be a good solution to set up steadiness.

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3. Prioritize downtime

Beginning an organization will be all consuming, so it is necessary to guard your off-work hours. We love CodeSee, but additionally notice the dangers related to failing to make time for one another and our particular person hobbies.

This has taken form in just a few methods all through our relationship. Once we’re ready, we take pleasure in taking day without work to journey. Everyday, downtime can look a lot easier — these days, we have refocused on our health and now go on a morning run collectively to attach earlier than the workday begins.

4. Talk with intention

Josh and I talk effectively, however going into enterprise collectively required a extra intentional method. We have sought steerage on communication from different cofounding duos alongside the best way and found a variety of useful sources, together with the guide, “Essential Conversations: Instruments for Speaking When Stakes Are Excessive,” which has positively improved our skill to acknowledge and tackle one another’s wants.

One in all our favourite suggestions from the guide is to hunt a “mutual goal.” For us, this may be so simple as starting conversations with “My intention is …” to remind one another that we’re invested find mutual objectives. This has been a useful finest apply for us.

Once you launch an organization along with your companion and collaborate to see it thrive, you are constructing a lot greater than a enterprise. You are additionally constructing a bond — one which has the potential to increase and thrive alongside along with your enterprise in case you’re dedicated to nurturing its resilience.

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Shanea Leven is the CEO of CodeSee, a developer platform that helps builders and improvement groups higher perceive codebases. She cofounded the platform together with her husband, CTO Josh Leven.

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