Let’s say you have an amazing idea and have already laid the groundwork to build your startup. Or even better—you’ve already launched your company, and are seeing some early traction, with little to no marketing and revenue potential ahead of you. Now, the next most logical step is to find a co-founder.
Choosing your startup co-founder is one of the most delicate decisions you’ll ever make as the founder of a company. If you’re on the hunt for a co-founder, you’ve likely realized you can’t do everything on your own and could use some beneficial help. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to find the perfect co-founder:
Learn Your Strengths & Weaknesses
One of the first things you need to think about as you search for a co-founder is what you’re looking for. In a business relationship—much like any relationship—you’re looking for someone to compliment you. In order to do this, write down a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Then, take a deeper look at your weaknesses and think about what strengths a co-founder would need to have to balance out those weaknesses.
Take Advantage of Matching Platforms
Fortunately, much like traditional dating, there are matching platforms designed to help you find the perfect option. For example, with Founder2be, you can identify marketers, developers, and designers who are interested in what you’re doing. Similarly, Founderdating can connect you with like-minded people who share your vision, while CoFoundersLab makes it easy to message people who are looking for the same thing as you.
You can also turn to discussion forums like Y Combinator’s Hacker News to keep an eye out for accepted incubator founders looking for co-founders, as well as other founders looking for co-founders before they apply for incubators and accelerators.
Chances are, you won’t always a co-founder behind your computer screen. And even if you do, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right co-founder. One of the best ways to put yourself out there is to start networking, and there are many ways to do this. On a local level, check your entrepreneurship events happening on Meetup.com. Networking is a huge factor on the Meetup site, and you’re likely to find events that suit your needs—especially if you’re in a big city.
Another networking opportunity is to go to tech conferences. Tech conferences are the ideal place to meet potential cofounders because it shows you that the other individual is committed to the craft, and willing to pay to better themselves and network. Ideally, even if you meet a potential co-founder online, you can both accompany one another to a conference. Check out this list of tech conferences you don’t want to miss.
Tap Into Your Existing Network
You’d be surprised to find that there could potentially be viable candidates in your existing network. As an entrepreneur yourself, you’ve likely gravitated towards people who share similar interests and a passion for the startup world. Sometimes, people you’ve worked with in a previous company could be great assets as co-founders. In this case, at the very least, you know of one another and can begin the relationship with some form of trust. If you’ve already lost contact with them, now might be a great time to reach out and say hi.
You can also reach out to your extended network. People who you’ve worked with previously might know someone who’s looking to start a venture of their own as well. You never know who’s out there within your six degrees of separation unless you make a move. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to post about what you’re looking for on social networks. This is where people who you may not have spoken to in years may see your call for a co-founder and reach out.
Lastly, you can also turn to people who you know to help spread the word. Natasha Che, the founder of Soundwise, is a great example of this. She turned to Joshua Konowe, the chief product officer of Canvas, to describe her interest in finding a co-founder. After he offered to help spread the work, she had two great co-founder candidates within just 10 days.