If you are going to launch a startup, how many friends would you need?

Once in a while, I always like to research and take down some "useless statistics", which probably doesn't have any real meaning, but interesting to waste time at.  And here is one of them. 

I have always been curious as to how many people does it take to "found" a successful company.  So I decide to dig up some pretty shallow info on big name companies and their founders, and find the average number of founders among those companies.  The list simply contains just companies which are started by individuals, not a subsidy of another corporation (e.g. Alta Vista).  Although they could eventually be acquired by other companies.

Here is the list in no particular order, and the list is quite random.

Company name Founders Total
Microsoft Bill Gates, Paul Allen 2
Google Sergey Brin, Larry Page 2
Youtube Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, Jawed Karim 3
Yahoo! Jerry Yang, David Filo 2
Overture (formerly Goto.com) Bill Gross 1
eBay Pierre Omidyar 1
PayPal Peter Thiel,Max Levchin 2
Skype Niklas Zennström, Janus Friis 2
Kazaa Niklas Zennström, Janus Friis 2
Hotmail Sabeer Bhatia, Jack Smith 2
Ask.com Garrett Gruener, David Warthen 2
Excite Graham Spencer, Joe Kraus, Mark Van Haren, Ryan McIntyre, Ben Lutch, Martin Reinfried 6
Napster Shawn Fanning 1
Lycos Dr. Michael Mauldin 1
Amazon Jeff Bezos 1
Apple Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne 3
MySpace Tom Anderson, Chris DeWolfe 2
FaceBook Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes 3
Netscape Marc Andreessen, Jim Clark 2
AOL William von Meister 1
Mirabilis (which engineered ICQ) Yair Goldfinger, Arik Vardi, Sefi Vigiser, Amnon Amir 4
Digg.com Kevin Rose 1
Average 2.09

So it looks like chance of success is definitely better with a team of two. I think two is a good number -- it's easy to collaborate and get things done.  A single phone call would be sufficient to get both stakeholders in touch with each other.  In addition, two-person team would not take up too much space as well, which makes either a single-car or two-car garage an ideal place to setup office, conference room, server racks, and so on.  That's what I call flexibility. 

This sort of puts new perspective into the old saying, "Two heads are better than one", doesn't it.  :)