Finding the Technical Co-FounderPosted: April 26, 2013
By Ismet Balihodzic
Choosing someone to start a business with is a lot like choosing who you want to marry. You’re going to spend countless hours together and there will often be disagreements, but ultimately you know that you are both working toward a common goal — whether that is a successful business venture or a happy marriage. And if you need a technical co-founder?
If you’re building a tech startup and you don’t know how to code, you’ll need to find the elusive technical cofounder who can partner with you to bring your product idea to fruition. These days, finding a technical cofounder seems to be the equivalent to finding the Holy Grail. Every entrepreneur with an idea proclaims she could be starting the next Facebook if only she could find a technical cofounder?
But with demand for technical talent at an all time high, your startup doesn’t stand much of a chance of finding a first-class technical co-founder. Instead, you need to focus on attracting one.
The first step is getting into the right mindset: Stop right now with thinking you have the best idea and that this is all it takes. You may very well have the next game-changing idea, but that’s missing the point. A technical co-founder wants to build your company with you, not for you. So you need to show prospective co-founders more than simply an idea, and you need to make them feel like they will be part of that idea, not just working for you.
So, before jumping into business together, you should check some essential qualities in your future cofounder:
- Complementary skills – The most common response we received from co-founders was to look for complementary skill sets in your business partner. You should look for someone whose strengths balance our your weaknesses, and vice versa.
- Mutual respect – You should choose someone whom you respect, and someone whom you think is equally as intelligent and hard-working as you.
- Alignment of Mission and Passion – It’s obviously important for both co-founders to be invested in the company, but making sure your goals are aligned is essential. You should also ensure that you both are on the same page regarding the future of the company.
And finally, it is essential to find a co-founder you trust unconditionally — someone who will take the pitfalls in stride and adjust gracefully.
Remember, you need to treat a technical co-founder like a true partner, not just the person who will write your code. The key to attracting talent is to show real, tangible progress and commitment.