Written by Daanish Khan
Have you decided to turn your idea into a startup? Congratulations, you are about to immerse yourself in an extremely fascinating world. However, be prepared as validating an idea for a startup, launching it and making it grow is certainly not easy, especially when you are alone and do not have a co-founder with whom to share the joys and difficulties.
In this article we want to give you the tools and advice for how and where to find the right cofounder for your startup.
It often happens that startups are born from an idea shared with a childhood friend. When this does not happen a person finds himself alone with a great desire to do. There is nothing wrong with this, being in company is not a necessary prerogative to open a startup.
However, you will agree with me that having someone by your side in such a demanding path is a considerable help. Multiply experiences, multiply ideas and multiply the skills available to your startup.
Above all from an emotional point of view, having a co-founder can be fundamental: there will be many difficult days and it is also important to support yourself emotionally among those who carry on the startup.
In fact, it is no secret that most startuppers have one if not more partners. Almost 40% of startups have two founders and 19% have 3.
You can have as many co-founders as you want, but as long as you don’t get along they won’t help much. If you fail to connect with it, it is very difficult for the business to be successful.
So let’s find out how you can find the right co-founder for your startup and where to look for him.
First of all we want to advise you what to look for in a cofounder and what to avoid.
Build a relationship of trust
While it might seem obvious, building a relationship of trust with a co-founder is really important. If you can’t trust it, you better stop collaborating with us as the more time passes, the harder it will become.
You will therefore have to look for a person you can trust with your eyes closed, trying to get to know them as much as possible.
Choose The Best
Just as you wouldn’t choose the wrong person to marry and spend the rest of your life with, you don’t even have to choose the wrong one as a co-founder.
This means that it will take you a long time to find the right co-founder, but it will certainly not be wasted time. Try to find out about his past, the professional goals he has achieved and also ask him where he sees himself in the near and far future.
If you have common goals and vision, it is very likely that this is the right co-founder for you. And if it still has defects, try to understand if overcoming them is feasible.
As nice as it is to find someone with whom you share a lot of personal aspects, you need to be careful not to get swayed.
You will need to make sure that the co-founder has knowledge and skills opposite to yours and that they complement each other, so as to increase your range of action.
For example, if you have an excellent imagination with which you come up with revolutionary ideas but you are not as good at seeking funding for the startup or grounding the project, you will need someone to help you in just that.
You will need to seek out a co-founder who is experienced in what you do least.
Starting a startup is complex. It is inevitable that at some point in the life of your startup you or your co-founder will scrape the bottom, for your mistake or for external causes.
In this situation it is essential to have someone by your side who does not hide his emotions, who shows that he is afraid. By doing so you will have the awareness of having a human being at your side, and as such, fallible and not always perfect.
You will reduce distances, increasing trust in each other and you will realize that you see your co-founder as a person and not just a tool for achieving success.
Learn How To Handle Conflicts
In the event that a conflict arises between you and your co-founder or co-founders, you must already have a plan ready to resolve it. So you will already know how to react and respond in case of disagreement and you will also know what to avoid doing to start the conflict.
As we already said for skills and knowledge, finding a person who is the opposite of you and who completes you can only be a positive factor for your startup.
For example, if you are very cautious and before launching you consider waiting, you need a co-founder who encourages you to try and avoid that a potential competitor arrives before you.
Similar Work Habits
If so far I have told you that you have to look for someone who has characteristics opposite to yours, in this case it is quite the opposite.
Look for one or more co-founders who have the same work habits as you, who start and finish work at the same time as you, who communicate like you do. Doing so will speed up everything you run into.
Check your financial and emotional stability
As we have already said, opening a startup is certainly not a walk in the park. For this, by your side you will need someone who can give their best in your project and you will need to make sure that he does not have any problems that could distract him from his goal.
As uncomfortable as it may be, you will have to try to ask him if his financial situation is stable, along with his emotional one.
In this case, transparency is mandatory, even on your part. You leave, speaking sincerely about what is happening to you in life, only in this way can you wait for an equally truthful answer.
I have repeatedly stressed how it is necessary that between you and your co-founder there is a bond based on trust. For this to happen, both of you must be honest with each other.
Being able to speak honestly improves the speed and effectiveness of communication and will allow your startup to be much faster.
Pick Someone You Like
In addition to looking for technical knowledge, in a co-founder you also need to find something you like. It is essential that your relationship is relaxed and to do this you need to appreciate both of you.
This is because technical skills can be taught and therefore learned, personality cannot.
Get to Know Your Potential Partner
While it is useful to find a co-founder who completes what you lack, on the other hand it should not be an excuse for not learning what he does.
This will help you first of all to understand if your potential co-founder really knows how to do what he says and if and when you work together understanding what he is saying speeds up every communication process.
Is it self-sufficient?
You don’t need an employee, you need a partner who is able to make the decisions for you and make the right ones. For this it is essential to trust and be sure that he has the right skills.
If the person you are relating to needs to be accompanied to make decisions, they are obviously not the right person for you.
Now that you know what to look for to find the right co-founder for your startup, let’s explain how to find him.
Write a description of what you are looking for
First you need to prepare a description of what you are looking for. In addition to presenting your idea or your startup, go into detail and outline the technical and behavioral characteristics you are looking for. Based on what you lack with the aim of finding the correct co-founder.
The clearer and more effective your description is, the more likely it is that it will be received by the right person.
Don’t Stop At The First Person You Find
Even if at the first conversation with your potential new co-founder you think you have found the right one, don’t fool yourself. You certainly won’t have to discard it but try talking to various people before making the decision.
By doing so you will have clearer ideas and broader comparison parameters with which to make the right decision.
Take the time to get to know it
Don’t stop at the first person you find or even the first time you talk to them. One conversation may not be enough to better understand his skills and characteristics.
Take a few more moments to get to know each other better, on the other hand the decision you are about to make must certainly not be taken lightly.
Define Roles And Expectations
When starting out together it is important to define roles and expectations with your co-founder. You will need to establish:
Who will do what?
How will the shares be divided when the startup is set up?
What is expected of the company?
Do you want to raise capital or self-finance?
It will be important to define the main points to understand the expectations of the person you will put by your side so as not to get wrong ideas.
Sign a Shareholders Agreement
Finding the right co-founder for your startup can be really important. It is always hoped that everything will go for the best but it is always preferable to be ready if this does not happen, remembering that a co-founder is a partner of the startup.
From a legal point of view, after the establishment of the startup it is advisable to enter into a shareholders’ agreement with your co-founder. Shareholders’ agreements are agreements between subjects belonging to the same company in order to ally and regulate common action within the company.
Through the shareholders’ agreements it is possible to agree in advance about what could happen in the event of certain negative events.
For example, what if one of the co-founders gets bored and from day to day prefers to leave the ship and focus on another occupation?
By documenting various cases in the shareholders’ agreements, you can avoid major quarrels when something unpleasant happens: the activities to be carried out between the co-founders of the startup will already be specified.
Now that you know what to look for and how to look for one or more co-founders, all you have to do is figure out where to find the right one.
Leverage Your Network, Friends And Colleagues
Using your network of acquaintances is the first thing you need to do to find your co-founder or co-founders. Be sure to ask anyone you know or have worked with in the past, and also ask them if they know anyone who might be interested.
Join Online Startup Community
Online startup communities are an important space to find a cofounder. They are a space where you can increase your network and meet interesting and enterprising people.
In our Startup Geeks Premium community we already have several cases where a member has found their partner for their startup.
There are various platforms for finding members online. These platforms are mostly in English, but in any case, it doesn’t hurt to try. Among the main platforms we mention Founders Nation, Founder Dating, Founder2be, specific on the search for members, while there are other more general platforms such as F6s in which one of the features is the search for members and collaborators.
Another place where you can meet potential co-founders for your startup are events related to the startup world and beyond.
By participating in one of these you will trivially have the opportunity to present your idea or your startup to anyone you want and already have the first conversation brought home. Some of the most interesting events from this point of view are the Startup Weekends or the Lean Startup Machines, in which the search for members is an integral part of the experience.
Participate in the Hackatons
Hackathons are events in which experts from sectors related to information technology participate. These events arise precisely with the aim of forming a new team to solve a particular problem.
These environments are particularly suitable for finding new people and trying to collaborate with them right away. In this case you would find a co-founder with purely technical skills.
The university is another place where you can easily find a co-founder. Trivially, because within the university it will be easier for you to find people who have yet to jump into the world of work and are less afraid and more willing to try new experiences.
Incubation programs are organized with the aim of offering support to startuppers with resources, mentorship, workspaces and even funding.
You can decide to enter an incubation program already with your team and with your idea.
Or you can decide to enter it yourself. Incubation programs often offer communication channels to enable the discovery of other talents. This way you can find the right co-founder for you.
Take advantage of social media
Last but not least, there is also social media. Clearly, every social media offers the possibility to increase your network, make new friends and also provide a platform on which you can describe what you do and your goals.
So use them not only to look for new people but also to understand what they do and what their behaviors are.
However, the social network that most of all offers the possibility to increase one’s network in the workplace and to find the right co-founder is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the right tool for those who want to communicate their work successes and their professional goals. Also in this case you will be able to find out the studies of your potential collaborator and his / her work experiences.
With this we have finished our tips to find a cofounder, now you just have to put them in place and find the right partner for your startup.