This might be a silly question buts say you started a company as a startup over a year ago and you're seeking a co-founder. You then find the co-founder which you of course have more equity over. Are you still the founder because it was your idea or are you now a co-founder?
IMHO you are founder of the company and the person who joins you later is a partner. The word founder implies that you are the one who started it. If someone started the company with you they are a cofounder. Otherwise they are business partners.
IMHO if you have more than 1 person on the founding team, no one is the founder. Everyone is is Co-Founders. That how we run it at WorkFeel.io
A founder is a person who comes up with an idea and then transforms it into a business or startup. Founders can set up a business on their own, or they can do it with others. For example, Larry Page is a founder of Google.
If a founder sets up a company with other people, they are both a founder and a co-founder. So Larry Page is not only Google’s founder, but also a co-founder with Sergey Brin. Co-founder is a term that exists to give equal credit to multiple people who start a business together.
A co-founder may be part of the vision of a startup from the get-go, or they may be brought on very early by the original founder because they have skills the founder is lacking. For example, the founder may have design skills, but no engineering skills. In that case, it greatly benefits them to bring on a technical co-founder early in the process of launching their startup.
You are definitely the founder, not the co-founder, in regards to the hypothetical given. If that person came at an earlier time when your product was in i.e. the prototype stage or your company was still an infant, he or she could have been also a founding member. He or she would be one of the first employees/hires rather than a co-founder if you are already a year in. I mean technically, you can make the new hire a "co-founder" I guess on paper if you want.
Depends on the stage of the company. If you have no MVP then you're going to be a co-founder.
Beyond vanity it really doesn't matter. Being a 'founder' or 'cofounder' carries no legal status, and it's not a position or role within an organisation.
As a rule of thumb, the initial people who take an idea and turn it into a viable business are the founders, or cofounders. They won't necessarilly have been there from day one, but will have come on board probably before the business became viable. By nature of their early involvement one would also expect them to hold a significant equity stake. Ultimately though, it comes down to what you all agree upon.
What is more important is who holds what position in the company, what their role is, and do they carry any legal responsibility (ie. are they a director?). This is what will be important to company stakeholders.
I use the phrases "a Founder" and "a Co-Founder" interchangeably. And this is how I see them used most of the time.
I actually laugh when they use the word "Co-Founder" and something lesser than a "Founder".
I also find ideas worthless, so I believe it's irrelevant who "had the idea". Maybe the second person coming in had the idea 5 years before you did. How would you know? Can you read his mind?
It all amounts to the actual implementation of the initial versions of the product and the initial work to setup the company (paperwork, admin work, first hires, etc).