Where to Find Your Ideal Tech Co-Founder
There are several reasons why but finding a technical co-founder is hard. Firstly, everybody has their own "big idea". If someone is sufficiently motivated to work on a new idea outside of their own work/study schedule, then chances are they prefer putting all that time and energy into their own big idea.
Secondly, unless you have traction in your business, it is tough to attract partners who will work for equity -- ideas are dime a dozen; it is execution that matters.
As someone seeking a technical co-founder for his own SaaS tool, I was curious how successful business founders came across their technical partners. After a brief survey, here is a snapshot of how different business founders got together for their projects.
Friends from work or school.
An overwhelming majority of the business founders I talked with met their co-founders at work or at school. A lot of them had been friends for years, if not decades, before choosing to partner up on an idea.
In other cases, the eventual co-founders were brought together by a common friend or colleague who realized how the two would complement each other. Entrepreneurs who have found their technical co-founders this way recommend you tell your friends what you are working on. Some entrepreneurs met their "match" through friends from school they had not been in touch for over a decade.
If you have nobody in your immediate network who could fit the role of a co-founder, the next step is direct outreach. This is exactly what Miriam Diwan, the co-founder of NowMoveMe did when her team won the first place at a startup competition. After a lot of networking through services like AngelList, Miriam realized that the best way to get top-talent at a startup-friendly cost is through students. She reached out to every single computer science PhD in Southern California about her idea until she found her match.
One place to seek like-minded aspirants is local startup meetups. At these meetups you can network with people well placed to help you find an ideal co-founder. When David Feldsott attended a meetup organized by a Facebook entrepreneurship group, he met a software developer and entrepreneur named Julian who, in turn, introduced him to his roommate Juan Carlos who ended up joining David in launching PanTrek, an online startup that serves as a search engine for inter-city bus and ferry tickets in Latin America.
It is not uncommon for aspiring entrepreneurs to post ads on job portals (including niche ones like AngelList) to find developers who will work for equity. Web designer Jim Belosic wanted to launch a software company to help businesses create Facebook apps and manage social media campaigns. He turned to Craigslist and put up an ad for a developer. Doug Churchill, who responded to the ad, believed in the idea enough to accept an offer for equity in lieu of payment. This ad helped Jim launch ShortStack.
There are dozens of other ways successful entrepreneurs have found their technical co-founders. Some entrepreneurs found their match while working in a co-working space. Others found their technical partner while reaching out to an “expert” to help them with solving issues in their prototype. There is one common thread among all these stories -- networking. As you connect with more and more people, your network expands and the likelihood increases of meeting a technical partner who fits your need.