Entrepreneurs are often celebrated as rugged individualists. But nearly a third of the companies on the Inc. 500 were founded by teams.
"If I had done it by myself, I know that Blueline wouldn't be where it is today."-Shawn Scarlata
The foursome worked together as police officers in Prince George's County, Maryland, for about 20 years. Scarlata, Cordero, and Ordono are still on the force.
It helps to have eight hands on deck, the partners say.
"Fighting it out," Scarlata jokes. "Being police officers, we have strong personalities. When there is conflict, we just sit down and hash it out. Or yell it out. Whatever it takes."
"Being twins breaks the ice and helps us stand out. Clients remember us." - Rose Cook
They're identical twins born 47 years ago. They both studied engineering at Rutgers University and then pursued careers in the pharmaceutical industry. They started FlexPro in 2008.
"Nothing between us is much of a surprise," says Cook. "We can finish each other's sentences. It's an unfair advantage."
Cook owns 51 percent of the business. When they disagree, she makes the final call. "We collaborate on everything, but it's also understood that I outrank her," she says.
Wetherill and Reiff have been close friends since their teen years and founded several companies together before launching uBreakiFix in 2009. Trujillo, a childhood friend of both, joined later.
"All of us approach problems in different ways," says Reiff. "That can cause some friction. But friction is beneficial."
When disagreements arise, the partners sit down and talk it out. If that does not work, Wetherill-who came up with the idea for the business and is CEO-makes the call.
"We're in this together. We share everything--except my toothbrush." - Renee Israel
They met 10 years ago at a party. After a couple of months of dating, Renee began helping Rob on his idea for a natural-popcorn business. Two years later, they were married.
No business talk is permitted from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. And absolutely no talk of work in their bedroom. "We literally leave the room," says Rob.
Rob is CEO, but he's willing to defer to Renee, the company's marketing chief. When they have a problem they can't fix alone, they get help from advisers and board members.
Neblett and Wollnick, a married couple, took Simpson's entrepreneurship course at Gonzaga University. The professor had purchased the domain name GreenCupboards.com to use in the classroom. "I went up to him after class and said Sarah and I would like to run with that domain," says Neblett.
Simpson is chairman and stays out of day-to-day operations. Neblett handles culture and strategy, while Wollnick manages supplier relationships.
"I am the boss at work, and she's the boss at home," says Neblett. Simpson plays the role of mentor, offering his advice gleaned from years of working with start-ups.