If you’re looking to start your own business, finding the right technical co-founder is
essential. Not only will this person help you with the technical aspects of your venture,
but they will also be a great team player and provide valuable insights and feedback. We
asked successful entrepreneurs and tech professionals for their best tips to help you
with your recruiting efforts.
Here are 11 tips for finding the right technical co-founder for your business.
- Look for Complementary Skills in Your Close Network
- Go Where the Engineers Are
- Start as a Partnership
- Use LinkedIn Connects to Find Your Co-Founder
- Show What You’re Bringing to the Table
- Know and Understand Your Needs and Expectations
- Choose Someone With Completely Different Skills
- Find Someone Who Shares Your Values
- Make ‘Team First Mentality’ a Criteria
- Attend Meetups, Events Related to Startups & Technology
- Look for Prior Experience
Look for Complementary Skills in Your Close Network
The decision to find a co-founder is driven by many factors, but the two most common
are — finding someone with complementary skillsets and someone who shares a
common vision. The former is more easily accomplished than the latter. When it comes
to complementary skillsets, the ideal person is someone with strong technical skills to
complement your business skills.
A shared vision is more difficult to find and it often involves one party convincing the
other to buy into their idea. Since my brother and I were both interested in gaming, it
only made sense to partner up as co-founders. He was good at backend processes and
marketing while I excelled at product development. This personal connection made it
easy for us to not only communicate and work together towards a common goal but also
to trust and support each other.
Go Where the Engineers Are
If you’re looking for a technical co-founder, the best way to find one is to go where the
engineers are. There are a number of online forums and websites where you can find
talented engineers who might be interested in joining your startup.
I was able to find my current technical co-founder through a website called Stack
Overflow. I posted a message describing my startup and what kind of engineer I was
looking for, and within minutes I had dozens of responses from qualified candidates.
The key is to be as specific as possible in your job posting, and to make sure that you’re
targeting the right audience. Engineers are most likely to respond to job postings that are
relevant to their skills and interests.
Start as a Partnership
Entrepreneurs spend more time with their co-founders than with their families. So getting
a stranger to play the role of co-founder can be a fool’s errand and the plan rarely works.
Therefore, according to my experience, the most effective way to find a co-founder is to
spend 6 months as a partner with someone.
Do not quickly turn your partnership into a co-founding relationship. Spend a good time
together and understand each other’s vision and decide what to do next. Remember
that, the person you are looking for as a co-founder is also an entrepreneur, he also has
his own dreams and missions. So, after keeping this in mind, decide whether you should
change your partnership to a co-founding relationship or find another one. I did the
same. It worked for me.
Use Linkedin Connects to Find Your Co-founder
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to find a great
technical co-founder depends on your specific needs and situation. However, here is a
tip that may help you in your search:
Start by identifying what skills and experience you need in a technical co-founder. This
will help develop your candidate persona and allow you to narrow your search and target
potential candidates that are a good fit for your startup. Our best tip is to upgrade to
LinkedIn’s premium package. Run a simple boolean search based on the candidate
persona that you created and spend about an hour each day connecting with candidates
that could be a good fit. Make sure to write a compelling message to your connects so
that you can move the conversation from online to offline.
Show What You’re Bringing to the Table
More than once, I’ve been on the receiving end of someone who wanted to find a co-
founder. As a technical person, I often get approached by people with exciting ideas they
wish to pursue. Starting a startup is a huge amount of work, especially for a technical co-
founder. So if a non-technical person wants to start one with me, I have to know that
they’re bringing something valuable to the table. An idea in itself, no matter how good it
is, is not enough!
I’ve only started a startup once with a non-technical co-founder. When I finally said yes,
it was mainly for two reasons. The first is that I trusted the guy. We had done a few
smaller projects together, and I knew he had some great skills in the area of design,
product development and marketing. The second is that he had already kickstarted the
project. He had sketched up the whole project, made a presentation website and got
4000 people to sign up for its release. All of that together made me trust that I wasn’t
wasting my time.
Know and Understand Your Needs and Expectations
If you are looking for a technical co-founder, you should know what you are looking for.
In my opinion, a technical co-founder should have 3 main qualities – communication
skills, analytical skills, and knowledge in the area where you will provide services.
Communication skills are needed for your perfect understanding and easier
communication. Analytical skills will give you an idea of you will work together.
Knowledge of the area we provide a service will allow us to understand each other and
make it easier for you to find a common language. That’s why I think that before you
start searching for a technical co-founder, you should understand your needs and
Choose Someone With Completely Different Skills
Two heads is better than one, but only when those two heads are working together as
one. A great technical co-founder doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you know, but
they need to be someone you’ve sat down with and shared your company vision with.
You must suss out whether they share your vision, and more importantly, what skill sets
and strengths they bring to the table to help you get there.
You’re not looking for someone just like you, what you need is a counterpart who offers
skills you do not have. They should have strengths differ to yours to cover shortfalls. For
example, if you're not a people person, find a people person.
In the case with Ling, I found my best co-founder in my coworker where after numerous
in-depth conversations, realized we shared the same goal and saw in each other the
skills that would bring us to success, and we are well on our way!
Find Someone Who Shares Your Values
I think the best way to find a technical co-founder is to look for someone who shares
For me, this was important because I knew that if I didn’t have a partner who believed in
my vision and was willing to dedicate their time and energy to building it with me, then
we wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we did together. This meant that when I was
looking for a technical co-founder, I wanted someone who would be willing to put in the
hours needed to make our vision a reality and cares about my project than someone
who has been coding for 10 years but doesn’t really passionate about what I’m trying to
I also think that it’s important to hire someone who will grow and learn as our company
grows, so you want someone who is going to be willing to learn new things and can help
us adapt as we grow.
Make ‘Team First Mentality’ a Criteria
I think the most helpful way to find a technical co-founder is to find someone who isn’t ready to just work as an employee. Rather, they have the ability to work as a team that will contribute to the growth of your business. An employee works for you, while the technical co-founder helps you in making the right decision and finding the best direction for the business to achieve maximum results. They’re invested in your company’s vision. Further, the individual should not only be qualified but also energetic and passionate about your business and its success.
I found such a co-founder via my LinkedIn network. After talking and sharing what we know for months, I finally shared my brain-child with him and invited him to become a part of my new journey. Because we had so much passion for the same thing, we nailed it.
Attend Meetups, Events Related to Startups & Technology
If you don’t have a personal network in the tech industry, a great option to find the best technical partner is to attend meetups and events related to startups and technology. This is a great way to meet potential co-founders and get started on your project. You never know who you’ll meet and what opportunities will come your way.
I met my current business partner at a startup event we both attended and we hit it off immediately. We had similar interests and goals, and we’ve been working together ever since.
Look to Prior Experience
There is a big difference between a new organization and an established successful organization. Therefore, finding a co-founder for a startup is difficult but not impossible. I think the most helpful way to find a technical co-founder is to find those points of your information that reveal prior experience.
First of all, you should check the experience of the candidate whether he has ever run a startup or how skilled is in it. This will make it easier for you to decide whether the person you are hiring for the technical co-founder role can handle all aspects of the business, and set a good plan for success. So, looking at experience will help you find the best technical co-founder.