What is the correct term to use, or what is the difference between the two?

For instance, if you describe yourself as a founder in a resume it sounds like you founded something alone. In plural form (founders), it suddenly seems more like co-founders - that you didn't do it alone. But I don't know if co-founder alone maybe sounds as if you didn't have a leading role in the founding part.

Hope anyone can clear up my confusion here! Thanks

CC (From Denmark - if the grammar isn't perfect I apologize in advance ;)

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    The grammar was pretty good. @JonathanVanMatre only made minor cosmetic changes. Nice job.
    – David M
    Mar 19, 2014 at 15:10
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    Seconded...I only put in the edit because it smooths the way for people to focus their attention on your question. Your English is quite good! Mar 19, 2014 at 15:13
  • OMG - it wasn't flawless at all ;) But hey thanks guys - I appreciate it! Mar 23, 2014 at 10:29

2 Answers 2


Effectively the two have the same meaning, but have a nuanced difference.

I believe part of what is causing confusion for you is the two meanings of the prefix co- in English.

On the one hand, it means the subordinate position: e.g. Co-chairman, co-pilot

But, in this case, this is using the other definition of co- meaning equal or together.

All co-founders are founders. It just gives the sense of beginning something together. That is, they have worked as a group toward the same goal.

But, founders can mean people who did not necessarily work together. The founders of an artistic movement may never have spoken to one another, but still have been seminal in the movement. Hence, they can be founders, but not typically co-founders.

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    Agreed. I was composing an answer toward the same end. Co-founder emphasizes the jointness of the act, but it does not imply that a founder must necessarily be a solo actor. As an example, I would not consider it wrong for Steve Wozniak to list "Founder, Apple Computer" on his resume, even though he co-founded it with Steve Jobs and the oft-forgotten Ronald Wayne. Mar 19, 2014 at 15:17
  • I think co-founder implies "2" to me. Mar 19, 2014 at 15:37
  • @RyeɃreḁd I think that most would probably use it for two people, but it wouldn't be incorrect for 3 or more. When you start getting into larger numbers of founders, you start losing the connotation of having worked together as a tightly knit group.
    – David M
    Mar 19, 2014 at 15:41
  • @DavidM - If someone told me they were a co-founder of Google, and Google was founded by 200 people, I would think they were talking out their ass. If they said they were one of the founders of Google, I am fine with that. Mar 19, 2014 at 15:43
  • Thanks for the replies! English is not uncomplicated ;) I understand that both terms actually would be correct to use, but that it rather is a question of whether I want to put myself in front - or acknowledge the fact that we were two (or more). So the co- prefix would be the less ego choice :) It works for me! Mar 23, 2014 at 11:21

"Founders" often refer to people who did the same thing, but separately and, may be,in different periods of times. Founders of a political party ( the main early figures). "Co-founders" is more related to people who gave their contribution together and probably at the same time. Co-founders of a company or a project.

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