If you are looking for a technical cofounder, you must be well aware of the fact that having a technical co-founder greatly improves your startup’s technical capability and is one of the wiser decisions a tech startup can make.
But finding the right technical co-founder is challenging. Whether starting up a new business comes naturally to you or not, having someone by your side can have a huge difference in making the company successful.
With this guide, we would like to give you a few ideas on what to look for in the right cofounder, and how to go about finding them. Hopefully, you will be able to find the right person for your team with this guide.
Why is it Important to Have a Co-Founder for your Startup?
Why do I need a co-founder with technical abilities and skills when I can code (or learn to code) myself? While some basics of coding will help you have a better understanding and communication with your tech team if you’re into coding things yourself, who will look after growing the business and focusing on the strategy?
At least one founder focus purely on the business side of things, and in that case, a technical co-founder becomes a necessity. You need someone who can take on the role of CTO and handle product development and engineering while you focus on business strategy and growth.
In addition, for any tech startup, having a technical co-founder on the team is a must-have for investors. This is because investors prefer that the team have at least one core member who can handle the technical aspect of things with a deep understanding of the workings of the product. This founder is the core team’s inside man on all things tech: hiring, development, strategy and maintenance. In addition, of course, to the stability and additional perspective such a teammate can bring.
What Does a Technical Co-founder Do?
The role varies depending on your company environment, how mature your company is, and the resources you have at your disposal. In early stage startups, the technical cofounder is responsible for the actual product development itself, which will include a lot of hands-on programming as well.
However, they will also be providing valuable input on setting the product direction and roadmap, along with insights on what would be needed to provide e.g. a new feature to your customers.
In the early days of product development, you will need not only a very specialized programmer but someone with “general skills” as well, because early on there are lots of considerations before launching the product other than programming.
As the company evolves, the role of the technical programmer (while they may still actively code) moves more towards ensuring that the technical team is on track, that develops processes are in place so that the team works more efficiently, and that the product is technically moving in a direction aligned with the strategy.
You should have an idea of what you need from your co-founder and what sort of person fits the role.
What Makes a Great Co-founder?
Personality traits are what makes a great co-founder. Here are some critical qualities that you should look for when you’re joining hands with your co-founder.
- Integrity & Sincerity is not just a good-to-have but a need. You’ve got a long road ahead of you, and will need to work with full trust to grow your business. Honesty is the best policy – we’ve heard this idiom hundred of times – when it comes to business, it is the one thing that can make or break your company. Keep in mind that if you want sincerity and trust from your teammates, you will need to encourage an environment that allows such people to thrive while eliminating unethical behavior.
- Skill is the second most important quality that you should look for in your to-be cofounder. Naturally, technical exposure is required. It does not matter too much what their tech stack is, technologies can be learned. What’s critical is that they are willing to put in the effort to learn new technologies and grow as the company grows.
- Communication is important because as your team grows, being able to communicate effectively will determine whether someone can handle the team under them or not. Essentially, you should be able to trust that your cofounder will be able to translate the company strategy and product roadmap down into concrete deliverables and communicate them to the tech team, and ensure that things are delivered on track.
- Personality match is an essential part of a long term relationship as a cofounder. According to CoFoundersLab, “62% of startups fail due to co-founder conflicts,”. It’s important that you look for a person who shares the same values and vision as you and can collaborate with you in the long run. Your co-founder should compliment you and drive you.
- Vision is critical because every founder needs to be able to see the long game. Success in startups is not an overnight thing, so you need someone who can peer into the future over the next 5-10 years, envision your startup at a global scale, and set goals and milestones to get there. It takes time, patience, effort, and dedication. But being a visionary doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be capable of executing in the here and now.
- A team-first approach to ensure that your cofounder doesn’t bring a one-man army attitude to everything, but focuses on building a team that can collectively take things forward beyond the capacity of any one person. Such a person will put the team first and himself second.
When to Look for in a Technical Co-founder and How to Prepare
There is no hard and fast rule for this. At first, when you don’t have funds to hire a full team, it’s a good idea to have a technical cofounder on your side to help you with building an MVP to raise initial seed funding, and onwards. But even if you have a budget to hire a tech team, having a CTO on board to manage it all makes things a lot simpler.
It is a wise decision to do some groundwork on your idea before proceeding to search for a cofounder because your idea and its vision is what will help the candidate decide if this is what he would like to work on for the next several years of his life or not. Without groundwork on your idea it will be difficult for you to convince people to accept your offer.
At AppRocket, we would suggest that you structure your ideas, make an initial roadmap and plan based on market research. A Business Model Canvas and an initial pitch deck should be documents you put together before looking for a technical cofounder. Use facts, data and insights from market research and customer surveys to make a compelling business case.
Here are a few things that you should communicate to your cofounder when you’re reaching out:
- Prove that the gap in the market exists and that there is an opportunity to solve a compelling enough problem
- Prove that your envisioned solution to the problem (your startup) is the right way to solve the problem
- Prove that the problem is compelling enough and widespread enough to make solving it worth your time (does your business get enough $ at the end or not?)
- Prove that you have a reasonably well-thought-out growth plan and that you have the skills necessary to execute your plan
Where to Look when Finding a Cofounder or a Partner for a Startup
A few years ago, it was not easy as it is now, and the reason is that there is a lot more awareness around startups and there are many resources easily available to people who would like to start their own business and succeed. Here are some places where you can dig deeper to find the right partner to go along with you in the journey to success.
Remember, your job is not just to find a co-founder but to find the right one. There may be hundreds of people ready to join you but you will have to identify who you are looking for and make the call. It’s better to wait than to rush into a decision as your cofounder could potentially be your cofounder for life.
CoFoundersLab is a platform where you can connect with over 400,000 potential co-founders, team members and advisors. One of the cool things about this platform is that it is focused on helping co-founders connect with each other. You have to make an account and starting digging to discover people worth conversing with. Again, the job isn’t just to find a cofounder but to find the right one.
FoundersNation is also a platform where you can find a cofounder for your idea or startup, with an option to search by skills and location. Sign up and begin cofounder hunting! Connect with several profiles, have a chat and interview potential candidates through this platform, and see if you can hit it off. Having the right skills is important but the understanding between cofounders is the top priority.
For us, AngelList is a platform where we post startup updates or job openings but it can be something else as well. Now, how can you benefit from this platform? It’s as easy as posting a job for a cofounder and interested people will reach out to you directly.
Indie hackers is more like a forum-community-type platform with a lot of other features in the box. Here founders and developers live under one shed, sharing thoughts, strategies and experiences. You can find developers and founders in a few steps. It’s easy to create an account and start interacting with others in the community.
Who doesn’t know Reddit? Reddit has a subreddit by the name “Co-Founder’s Subreddit.” It’s a cool subreddit where you can go in search of the right CTO. Find people who are interesting, shoot them a message and interview them, or post a bit about you and what you’re looking for on the subreddit.
StartupWeekend is basically a 54 hour long event, where developers, founders and marketing specialists to name a few – get together, learn, meet and make a network. You probably won’t have to fly to another country or state because you can use the online website to find a Startup Weekend event happening near you. There will be potential cofounders attending the event. What’s more, the hackathon style of the weekend will give you insight into what it might look like to work on a product with them.
What if You Don’t Want A Co-Founder?
If you don’t want to have a cofounder on your side, you can simply hire a company for your technical needs. However, we would strongly recommend that you have a cofounder in your startup journey. If you still decide not to bring on board a technical cofounder, the best option is to find a company who can understand your needs and can deliver exactly what you’re looking to get developed.
If you like, you can have AppRocket’s services on board. We try hard to meet our clients’ expectations and deliver the best version of their idea on time within a minimal budget.
Finding a cofounder is not an overnight process, it takes time to understand the cofounder in person. You need to build a relationship by talking, meeting and knowing each other, the same as in any other relationship.
You don’t just date someone and expect them to say yes to your marriage proposal the next day, the same goes for a cofounder. Give time to the process.
Hope this helped. I will be glad to hear your thoughts in the comment section and don’t forget to share this guide with your friends if you found it helpful. Cheers!