Date Your Co-Founders
Updated: Aug 30
Finding a co-founder is a daunting task, and seemingly a necessary one for solo founders. Having co-founded 2 startups and having worked with 4 co-founders I thought to share my perspectives and write this short guide.
1. Do you actually need a co-founder?
We sometimes get fixated on the idea of finding a co-founder even if we don't need one. Ask yourself: why are you really looking for one? Is it absolutely needed? Can you outsource the work that you need to get done, hire an employee, or do it yourself?
A couple of pointers to inspire you and give you a different perspective. First, consider going solo. Recent research has shown that being a solo founder has its advantages. Second, consider other options. For example, in one of my startups, GrowthClub, I operate as a 'hands-on advisor' - something in between the founder and the advisor role. There are a bunch of advantages to such a role, and I wrote an article about it here.
2. Look around
Finding a co-founder is almost like finding a girlfriend (or a boyfriend, probably, but that I never tried). And dating is validating. It takes time to get to know the other person, to judge if they would be a good business partner.
That is why the easiest place to start with is to look around at people in your network. There exists the advice to never work with friends, but it worked for me, although they were not the closest of friends. For my first startup when looking for a CTO, I first asked a friend who I knew was a techie to help with a thing here and a thing there. Before he knew it, he was my CTO.
3. Hackathons and other places for building things together
Since finding a co-founder requires validation, one of the best ways to meet a co-founder is to work together. It can be a hackathon, a school project, or just a day job. A couple of my good friends who have been working together on their startup for the past few years have met while working at another startup.
4. Put up a job ad
No, really. Recently I was hiring a personal assistant. I got 85 applicants by posting on one website and in a few Facebook groups. Especially in the current economic environment of a pandemic world, many people might consider becoming entrepreneurs if they see an opportunity.
5. Communities like GrowthClub
I think communities of founders are another great place to meet potential co-founders. Even better, they can often support you in your journey while you are looking for one or if you decide to stay solo.
In one of my previous articles, I described why networking is better done through P2P coaching communities like GrowthClub. GrowthClub is a community of founders with $5K+ MRR where founders exchange growth hacks and build genuine connections in 1-on-1 video calls. Full disclosure: I am a hands-on advisor there. A word in my defense though is that I initially joined GrowthClub as a user and still use the service on a weekly basis! So check it out ;)