At least 20% of new businesses fail within their first year, for various reasons. Some lack budget, some don’t have a unique selling point, some are just not lucky. And some startups fail because their founders have bright ideas but don’t have the necessary technical expertise. And the way out of this trouble is not that hard — you need to find your number two, a technical cofounder who will strengthen your business. In this post, we’ll explain how to find a technical co-founder and, more importantly, how to do it right.
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Signs You Need a Technical Cofounder
Business skills are vital when starting a tech company, but they are not enough if you want to succeed. You can be a great entrepreneur and have awesome ideas, but won’t be able to implement them or understand that everything’s going according to plan if you are alone on the field. Well, at least in most cases. If you are not sure you need to start looking for a potential business partner, here are five reasons to consider this option.
You Lack Tech Expertise
One of the most obvious signs that finding a technical co-founder is what you need immediately is when you lack the necessary tech expertise to build and develop your product. While you may have a great concept for a product or service, you may not have the technical skills to turn it into a reality, and simply hiring a freelancer might not be the best solution in this case. A technical co-founder can fill the gap, provide the necessary skills and knowledge to turn the concept into reality, and all that while having a real stake in the company’s success.
You Need a Long-Term Partner
Building a successful tech company takes time, effort, and dedication. If you don’t find any joy in the idea of taking this journey alone — find a technical co-founder. Having a reliable partner who shares your vision and is committed to the development of the business is crucial for your potential success, and, let’s be honest, it’s just nice to have someone who has got your back. A person who understands the technical aspects of your product, can bring new ideas to the table, and is willing to work with you in the long term can be your ticket to the world of unicorns.
You Need to Validate Your Idea
Validating your idea is essential before you start building your product. Validating your idea means testing it in the market to see if there is a demand for it. A technical co-founder can help you validate your idea by building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) quickly and efficiently. An MVP is a basic version of your product that you can test with potential customers to get feedback and see if there is a market for it.
You Need to Scale Your Business
Scaling a business is a complex process that requires expertise in various areas, and technology is obviously one of them. When you’re ready for your business to grow, having a technical co-founder can be invaluable. The right person can help you build and maintain the technology infrastructure necessary to support that growth. They can also help you make informed decisions about which technologies to adopt and how to optimize your tech stack for maximum efficiency.
You Need to Stay Ahead of the Competition
In the fast-paced startup world of technology, you can’t stop running. And a technical co-founder can help you stay ahead of the game. They can help you identify the latest trends and technologies that can give you a competitive edge, and they can help you adopt those technologies quickly. Finding a tech cofounder who loves what they do and is always looking for ways to improve your product can be a game-changer for your business.
Which Role Can a Technical Cofounder Play?
When looking for a co-founder, it’s important to define which role they’ll be playing in your company. It will help you find a person whose plans and values match yours and avoid any miscommunications in the future. The roles of a technical co-founder in a startup include but are not limited to:
- Developing a product strategy. It’s your technical co-founder who will be responsible for the roadmap of the development process and the global technical strategy.
- Leading the technical development process. A co-founder will take charge of the product development process and ensure it meets the necessary standards and requirements.
- Forming and managing the technical team. If your co-founder is both a technical expert and a good manager, they can form and lead the technical team, ensuring that the right people have been hired and everyone works together effectively.
- Evaluating and adopting new technologies. A co-founder can evaluate new technologies and tools to determine whether they’re a good fit for the product and implement them as needed to improve the product’s functionality and user experience.
- Validating the technical feasibility of the product. A co-founder can provide insight into the product’s technical feasibility, helping to identify any potential issues or roadblocks that may arise during development.
- Ensuring product scalability. A technical co-founder can design and build the product in a way that allows it to scale easily as the business grows, making sure that it can handle increased traffic and demand without any technical issues.
Let’s be honest, in most cases, your tech co-founder will be doing all of these things and a hundred things more. That’s why you need a person with deep technical expertise and great soft skills to help them keep up with the industry pace and successfully manage the team that will hopefully grow with time.
How To Find a Tech Cofounder?
So, the reasons checklist worked, the roles have been defined, now it’s time for the main question — how exactly do you find a tech cofounder? Well, if you’re not lucky to have the best college buddy building a software miracle in his garage, you’ll need to resort to other options.
Startup Incubators and Accelerators
There is probably no better way to search for a new member of your startup team than to go to a startup accelerator. Such programs often offer resources and support to early-stage startups, including mentorship, office space, funding, and access to networks of investors and other entrepreneurs. And, of course, they lure everyone interested in the startup culture and dreaming of their own place in the successful company. There are usually many people at such events, some of them just idlers, but some might click with you and share your passion for building something real.
Hackathons and Thematic Conferences
While incubators and accelerators mostly attract startup-focused people, hackathons and conferences bring together all kinds of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs to work on projects together. Such events are a great way to meet potential technical co-founders passionate about building innovative products and looking for new opportunities — and immediately look at how they work.
Sometimes, you don’t need to go anywhere to find that tech-savvy significant other for your startup. Start a thread on Twitter, describe your idea, and review the replies. Get active on LinkedIn (yeah, we know, but it might actually work), join a relevant chat room in Slack or Telegram, dig into Github. And, of course, ask your friends or colleagues. Someone might know someone who knows someone — and that someone is your future technical co-founder.
What if there was Tinder but for startup co-founders? You’ll be glad to know there are actual websites where people can look for business partners and technical specialists to join their startup team. Here are some of the most popular ones.
CoFoundersLab claims to be the largest startup community on the internet, and it probably is. It provides useful resources for startup founders, helps get funding and stay aware of the latest industry trends, and, most importantly, it can help you find a technical co-founder within the community. Here, you can create your profiles, search for potential partners based on their skills and location, and communicate with them directly on the website. Just like Facebook, but without your junior school classmates.
FoundersNation is a much simpler website, both in terms of general interface and the services it provides, but it can still be a source for the right connections. FounderNation claims to help establish 600 startups yearly, so your chances of being one of them are pretty high — providing you have time and nerve to look through all the users’ profiles. One of the nice perks of this website is that it offers free legal, finance, technology, and marketing consulting from its partners, and there is never too much knowledge when you’re a startup founder.
Formerly known as AngelList, Wellfound is a startup community and job portal. It’s not designed specifically for finding a co-founder, but it can help you find pretty much anyone interested in startups. The platform connects 8 million job candidates worldwide and offers advanced filter features so that you can find people with a specific tech stack, timezone, job search status, and so on. Note: unlike other popular startup websites, Wellfound doesn’t look ugly and has a pleasant UX.
Pitching Your Company to A Potential Co-Founder: Tips And Tricks
Imagine you found someone you like and see at the place of your future tech co-founder. This feeling might be mutual, but you need to pitch your company first, and you’ll only have one shot at this. Here is how you can make your pitch more successful:
Be clear about your mission and vision
Before you pitch your company to a potential co-founder, make sure you have a clear understanding of your mission and vision. Articulate why your company is important and what you hope to achieve with it. Even if you fail with the pitch, having a clear vision will help you grow a successful company anyway.
Show the potential
Share your long-term vision for the company and the potential impact it could have. It will help the potential co-founder see the potential of your company. It’s also a good place to talk about numbers — while people should love the idea, first of all, money is no less important.
Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses
Be open and honest about your own strengths and weaknesses as a founder. It will show the potential co-founder that you’re willing to be vulnerable and value their input. Besides, by showing your company’s weak spots, you can also demonstrate to a potential co-founder how exactly they can be helpful, providing the weaknesses match their expertise.
Highlight your achievements
Obviously, you don’t need to concentrate solely on weaknesses. Share any achievements or milestones you’ve already achieved, such as customer acquisition, revenue growth, or successful fundraising. It will help the potential co-founder see your company has momentum and potential.
Emphasize the opportunity
Emphasize the opportunity that your company presents, both in terms of the market opportunity and the opportunity for personal growth and development as a co-founder. People in this industry are ambitious, you need to show there is a place to use those ambitions for good.
Address potential concerns
Be prepared to address any potential concerns or objections the potential co-founder may have. For example, if you don’t have a technical background, be prepared to explain how you plan to address that gap. Don’t avoid uncomfortable questions. As we already mentioned, being honest and open is the best strategy.
Be passionate and enthusiastic
You need to be passionate and enthusiastic about your company and the opportunity to work together to actually sell that opportunity. Your passion and enthusiasm can be contagious and help you convince a potential co-founder to join your team.
Once the pitch is over, your potential candidate will most likely start asking questions you haven’t covered in your speech. We can’t get you prepared for every situation, but make sure you are ready to answer at least the most popular questions:
- What is the company’s mission and vision?
- What is the target market for the product or service?
- What is the current condition of the product or service?
- What is the technology stack being used?
- What is the revenue model?
- Who are the competitors in the market?
- What are the long-term goals for the company?
- What is the company culture like?
- What is the team composition?
- What are the challenges facing the company?
- What are the growth plans for the company?
- What are the biggest risks facing the company?
- What is the funding situation for the company?
Overall, pitching your company to a potential co-founder is all about being clear, honest, and passionate about your vision and the opportunity that your company presents. If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to finding the right partner to help you build your startup.
Bonus: Startup Pitch Example
If you are struggling with your pitch, here is a good example. Don’t copy it to the word, obviously; just use it to structure your thoughts and ideas.
“Hi, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. I’m the founder of a new startup called FoodieFinder, an online platform that connects foodies with local chefs and culinary experiences. We’re looking for a technical co-founder to help us build out our platform and take it to the next level.
Our mission is to make it easier for food lovers to discover new and unique culinary experiences while also providing a platform for chefs to showcase their talents and connect with potential customers. We see a huge opportunity in the market for this type of platform, and we believe that we can make a real difference in the food industry.
Our platform is already up and running, and we’ve already signed up several chefs and foodies. However, we know that we need a technical co-founder to help us take it to the next level. We’re currently using a simple WordPress site, but we know that we need to build a more robust platform that can handle a larger user base and more complex functionality.
That’s where you come in. We’re looking for a technical co-founder who has experience with building scalable web applications and can help us build out our platform. We’re open to discussing the technology stack, but we think that a React/Node.js stack might be the best fit.
Regarding the market opportunity, we’ve done some research, and we believe that there is a huge market for this type of platform (it would be nice to provide some real numbers at this point). There are millions of foodies and chefs around the world who are looking for new and unique culinary experiences, and we believe that we can help connect them. We’re looking for someone who shares our vision and is excited about the opportunity to join us on this journey.
So, that’s a bit about our company and what we’re looking for in a technical co-founder. We’d love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you might have.”
Don’t Wait: Start Your Search for a Technical Co-Founder Now
Finding a technical co-founder is a crucial step in building a successful startup. A person with strong technical expertise and a passion for startup culture can help you bring your vision to life and ensure that your product is built to last. However, finding the right person can be challenging, and requires a lot of effort and dedication.
Following the tips and strategies outlined in this blog post is half the way. From identifying the signs that you need a technical co-founder to understanding the roles they can play and the questions they might ask, we’ve covered the key aspects of this important topic. The second half is your knowledge and intuition. Listen to your guts, and you’ll find a perfect partner in crime.
Remember, building a successful startup takes a lot of hard work, but anything is possible with the right team in place.
Do you need a technical cofounder?
If you have a strong business idea but lack technical expertise, having a technical co-founder is highly recommended. A technical co-founder can help you build a solid product and ensure it is scalable, secure, and reliable. They can also help you make strategic technical decisions and navigate the complex world of software development.
How much equity does a technical co-founder get?
The amount of equity that a technical co-founder receives can vary depending on several factors, including the startup stage, the amount of work they put in, and their experience and expertise. As a general rule, it is common for technical co-founders to receive between 25-50% of the equity, with the exact percentage depending on the circumstances.
How much should you offer a technical co-founder?
The amount you offer a technical co-founder should be based on a few different factors, including their experience, the amount of work they will be doing, and the amount of equity you are willing to part with. It’s important to be fair and transparent in your negotiations and offer a competitive equity stake that reflects the value the technical co-founder will bring to the startup.