One of the top questions entrepreneurs ask is about how to find right co-founder. Business people are looking for technical partners, and programmers are looking for business people.
So how do you go about this process, and how do you know who to pick? The following guide will walk you through why finding the right co-founder makes a big difference and what you need to do to find the right one(s).
Why it matters
The first thing you have to realize is that your founding team matters. A lot. The right co-founders at the right time can be the difference between success and failure. This post on VentureHacks outlines why it’s important to pick the right co-founders and some strategies for doing so such as waiting to name a co-founder until the last possible responsible moment and bringing people on board first and then upgrading to co-founder status when they prove themselves.
The Post: When to Fire Your Co-Founders
Finding the perfect match
In this article, Christiana Wallace describes her experience of finding a co-founder for her startup Quincy, which offers a new approach to work apparel for ambitious women. She compares choosing a co-founder to finding a spouse and explains why it’s important to get to know potential co-founders first and even to test out the relationship.
The Post: The Perfect Match: Finding the Right Co-Founder
How to go about it
This VentureHacks post explains why it’s so important to choose the right co-founder and then gets into the details about how to do so. It begins by saying: “Picking a co-founder is your most important decision. It’s more important than your product, market, and investors.” That says a lot about how invaluable this step is in the startup process, and the remainder of the post explains the best way to go about finding a co-founder, including arguments for two being the ideal number and going into business with someone you already know.
The Post: How to Pick a Co-Founder
Site: Venture Hacks
Considering the details
In this article for the Harvard Business Review, Michael Fertik talks about the many details to consider when searching for a co-founder. He discusses everything from complimentary personalities and differing skills to a history of working together and having the same overall vision. This is an in-depth guide that provides several key points to consider when searching for a co-founder.
The Post: How to Pick a Co-Founder
Site: Harvard Business Review Blog Network
5 simple yet valuable tips
Interested in some simple yet extremely valuable advice on finding a co-founder? Look no further. In this post for VentureBeat, Mike McDermott, CEO and co-founder of Freshbooks, provides five simple but important tips for selecting the right co-founder: passion, trust, more than money, complementary skills, and giving equity. It’s a short post, but it’s invaluable coming from someone who’s started a very successful tech startup.
The Post: 5 Tips for Choosing a Co-Founder
The complete beginner’s guide
Neil Patel provides in this post the complete beginner’s guide for finding a co-founder. He begins by discussing the reasons to find a co-founder: extra manpower, dividing up responsibilities, increased motivation, more ideas, and extended networking; and then presents that two founders is the ideal number since three or four puts too many cooks in the kitchen and slows decision making. He also talks about getting to know a potential partner first without committing and recommends waiting at least six months before partnering with someone. You need to read the post to find out what else is discussed.
The Post: Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Right Business Partner
Site: Quick Sprout
The importance of diverse backgrounds
This post on TechCrunch is by Seth Sternberg, CEO of Meebo. It begins by talking about how important it is for co-founders to come from different backgrounds, outlining that most people hang out with like-minded people of similar backgrounds which doesn’t help with finding co-founders possessing diverse experiences and skills. He goes on to talk about how to accomplish this with tips for people who are in school and out of school. The post is full of practical advice about how to actually meet other people with complementary skill sets who are potential co-founder candidates.
The Post: Finding Your Co-Founders
Site: Tech Crunch
How to find a technical co-founder
Now that you know it’s critical for co-founders to come from diverse backgrounds, here’s an article about how to find a technical co-founder. It’s told from the perspective of an engineer about why he bought into the pre-launch product of his eventual business partner and CEO. You’ll learn a lot in this post about the mindset of technical co-founders and what they’re looking for on the business side. It also provides a list of the following resources on the topic: Why You Can(‘t) Recruit a Technical Co-Founder; Quora: Where Is the Best Place to Find a Rockstar Developer; Some Thoughts on Hiring Technical Co-Founders; and Please, Please, Please Stop Asking How to Find a Technical Co-Founder.
The Post: How to Hire a Technical Co-Founder
Finding a business co-founder
For those who are on the other side of the table and are looking for a business co-founder, this article discusses what to look for. It recommends starting with someone who has a good level of technical understanding but can also communicate well and has a good grasp of other non-technical areas like PR, operational details, talking with investors, a clear understanding of user feedback, a good eye for talent, and more. This is a must read if you’re in the position of looking for a non-technical, business co-founder.
The Post: What to Look for in a Business Co-Founder
More advice for finding a business co-founder
This post points out that, even though technical co-founders are in high demand from non-technical founders, there still are programmers who are struggling to find the right business co-founder. This post provides tips to help programmers evaluate potential business partners with more criteria than an MBA alone.
The Post: How to Find a Business Co-Founder That Doesn’t Suck
What makes the perfect pair
Micah Baldwin, CEO of Graphic.ly, makes an argument in this post about what makes the perfect pair of co-founders: the Hacker and the Hustler. He goes on to explain that a hacker is more than a developer. It’s someone who solves problems in unique and special ways, but isn’t necessarily the best coder. The hustler, on the other hand, is someone who builds relationships and is more than a salesperson. He describes a hustler as “patient zero in a viral marketing campaign.” Read this article to learn more about Micah’s view on the perfect pair of co-founders.
The post: Hackers and Hustlers
Site: Learn to Duck
Where to find a co-founder
Finding a co-founder, whether technical or not, starts with looking in the right places. This article lists 16 different online and offline resources that can be used to find prospective co-founders. The list is comprehensive and useful.
The Post: Where to Find a Co-Founder
Site: Find the Tech Guy
Why founder vesting is a really good idea
Most entrepreneurs when they start out probably don’t give this much thought. They bring a handful of co-founders on board because they need some extra hands on deck, but they don’t know anything about vesting. Later on they hire employees and include 4 year vesting. The problem? Sometimes, early co-founders who barely worked at the startup end up owning a significant part of the company. You can avoid this by practicing founder vesting which is the same as requiring vesting for employee hires. This is a must read if founder vesting is new to you.
The post: Founder Vesting
Site: Chris Dixon
The argument for a single founder
What’s an ultimate guide to finding co-founders without an argument or two for a single-founder model? Yes, a lot of people believe in the merits of founding teams with complementary skills, but there are some benefits to starting a business solo. Actually, the highest number of businesses in the US are single-founder businesses totalling 20 million. This article discusses why. It also references this article for further reading: The Royal We: Single Founder Startups.
The post: Going Alone: Thoughts on the Single Person Startup
Another argument for a single founder
Mark Suster continues the discussion about single founders in this post on the co-founder mythology. He says that 50/50 partnerships are unstable, people change, and partnerships often end badly. His advice is to take the leap solo and then to bring talented team members on at less than 50% equity. If you consider starting alone as borderline heretical, you’ve got to read this post. It presents an excellent argument for considering a single-founder startup.
The Post: The Co-Founder Mythology
Site: Both Sides of the Table
Now that you’ve read this post, what would you add to the list? Leave a comment to share more resources and links.