Finding a Co-founder and other partners for your Startup

finding a co-founderEveryone needs help, and when starting a business getting as much help as you can is not only recommendable but necessary. One of the most difficult and important tasks when starting a company is finding a co-founder. It is important to have someone who to bounce ideas with and split some of the work load. For this same reason it is also important to find co-founders that have different skills and experience than yours, you want someone with complementary skills and experience as this will help a lot, especially in the early days when hiring might not be an option.

Finding the ideal co-founder is really difficult and you should take your time talking and even working with potential candidates before formalizing a relationship. Choosing the wrong co-founder is one of the most common reasons for startups to fail, it leads to fights between founders, useless, endless and non-sense discussions and disagreements, low morale and it might be the one thing that can kill your startup. It happens more than you think!

We have been running the Co-founders Meetup for over 3 years now and we have some tips and insights to help you find the right co-founder:

Co-founders

What to look for

  • Skills and experience that are complimentary to the team
  • Can do attitude and compatible personalities
  • Entrepreneurial and ambitious people
  • Passionate and self-motivated
  • Writers

What to run away from

  • People looking for just a job
  • People that are only passionate and motivated with money
  • Big egos and naysayers
  • Anchors! (people who just bring you or slow you and your team down)

Where to find them

Finding a co-founder is probably the most important thing that you need to do for your startup but it is not the only one. Another type of relationship you need to be careful and selective is partnerships, who you partner with.

Depending on what your startup does, chances are that you’ll need to reach out to other organizations and companies that are in the same or similar space as your company is. Establishing a good relationship with the right partners can be very beneficial to your startup as it might bring exposure, trust, validation and resources that you might not have access to on your own. For example, for our meetup events we partnered with companies such as Microsoft, HomeAway and Capital Factory in Austin to have access to their meeting facilities and to help us get the word out about our events. This has helped us greatly and without their help I am not sure we could have succeeded, having a good reliable place to meet is the most important thing when organizing an in-person event.

Here are some tips based on our experience to help you find the right partners for your startup.

Other Partners

What to look for

  • Resourceful organizations within your industry that can benefit (now or in the future) from what your startup is doing.
  • Large enterprises interested in your space, make sure your startup is not seem as a direct competitor.
  • Community builders (individuals or organizations) that are active in your community.
  • Other startups that are in need of partnerships to have access to resources and are looking for exposure.
  • Incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces as they often help their members establish relationships with other companies and members of the community.

What to run away from

  • Organizations and individuals that offer connections and exposure in exchange of money.
  • Any organization or individual that offers get-rich-quick schemes.
  • Unsolicited “experienced” or “serial entrepreneurs” wanting to mentor you in exchange of money or equity.

Where to find them

  • Successful companies in your city, you can find potential mentors and advisors at these companies.
  • Local events, look at organizations sponsoring and partnering with local events within your space.
  • Incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces.
  • Startup-friendly government entities.

We hope the above information is useful for your and your startup. We have been running events where people are looking for co-founders for a while now and it never gets easier to find the right person and partners. It is a difficult and very important task and there is really not a perfect way to find these partnerships, our advice is to take your time and look around, observe and be patient as the right person might be just around the corner.

One comment

  1. I believe you hit every point except for one major one. Which is greediness/selfish. People tent to get greedy and they want more after you had made arrangement and that is a major killer for Startup or any business in my opinion. The major keys to prevent it is a contract because trusting people in keeping their words are no longer something that happens anymore and even a contract does not help sometimes.

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