Running a startup is no easy task, particularly when you’re creating a new product or service that requires some level of programming and development. While it may seem scary sharing your idea and business equity equally with someone, there is a myriad of benefits of having a technical cofounder for your business.
For starters, if you’re looking for a technical cofounder, chances are you specialize in marketing or design. A technical cofounder can balance out your skills and give you the opportunity to focus on the areas of your to-do list that you’re best at. Secondly, eventually, you’ll want to raise money for your startup or join an incubator program. Although single startup founders aren’t unheard of, it’s more difficult to secure funding as a solo entrepreneur.
Lastly, it’s always great to have another person to bounce ideas off of and support you through the early stages. Starting a company can be taxing and a cofounder can share the burden (and successes). Still, there aren’t thousands of technical cofounders hanging around. If you want a technical cofounder, you have to make a concerted effort to find the best match. With that in mind, here are a few tips on finding the right technical cofounder:
Post an Ad/ Enlist Hiring Agency
One of the most classic ways to find a technical cofounder is to post a job listing or enlist the services of a staffing agency. There are pros and cons to both options. The main thing to consider is that, as a founder, chances are you aren’t paying a salary (or anything at all) to start. This limits your options as far as staffing agencies go, but it’s not impossible. And while you can certainly post an ad on any job site, be prepared to get less interested applicants while you’re unable to pay right now.
Another thing to consider is where to post your ad. While traditional job and networking platforms like Indeed and LinkedIn will work, you can also post ads on more specialized platforms like AngelList or Hackernoon. These platforms cater to startups and technical founders and would be ideal for linking with potential cofounders.
Before you post an ad or work with a staffing company, you should know what you’re looking for. What skills do you want your technical cofounders to have? Should they be proficient in web development or mobile app development? Do they know how to use a package manager known as Helm Kubernetes? Are they proficient in C++ or Python? Are they familiar with DevOps principles? Understanding the scope of work you’ll need will also help you hone in on the right co-founder for your startup.
There are several co-founder matching platforms, including Co-FounderLab, Tech Cofounder, and Y Combinator’s Co-Founder Match. For example, Y Combinator—one of the world’s best startup incubator programs—uses its matching platform to help entrepreneurs find co-founders based on interests, locations, skills, and much more. To date, the platform has matched over 9,000 cofounders. Even more, potential co-founders are vetted and screened before they can join the platform to ensure you’re being matched with high-quality individuals.
Check Your Network
Your network of friends, family, colleagues, and alumni is a great place to start your search for a technical cofounder. These are the people who have already built some level of trust and familiarity with you and would likely be more open to the non-paying co-founder role. Start by reaching out to your immediate network for potential candidates and let them know that you’re looking for someone to fill the role. You should also post on your social media accounts to spread the word. Many colleges have alumni network portals and platforms that make it easy to connect with people in your alma mater, too.
To find the best technical cofounder, you’ve got to put yourself out there. Networking outside of your network widens your horizons. And there are plenty of networking opportunities out there, both online and offline. For example, a simple search for startup or programming and development-related events on Meetup.com will yield plenty of results.
Similarly, a standard Google search for conferences and seminars in your particular field reveals plenty of networking opportunities you can take advantage of. It will also help to observe (or participate) in hackathons, where you’ll find plenty of passionate people who care about the programming and development field and can bring plenty of that passion and value to a startup.
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