How Any Entrepreneur Can Attract the Right Tech Co-Founder
Posted on January 21, 2014
Finding the right partner to help bring a new startup into the world can be a bit like finding your soulmate. Like a marriage, running a company means spending a lot of time together, sticking with each other through thick and thin, and maintaining healthy communication. Co-founders need good chemistry and common goals that last beyond an initial surface attraction.
For non-technical entrepreneurs looking for someone with the technical skills to bring their idea to life, finding the right person may mean wooing the right developer while competing against other entrepreneurs with equally enticing offers. When searching for your best match, it’s important to not only know what to look for, but also to consider what your potential co-founder will need from you.
How to Find That Special Tech Co-Founder
With that in mind, here are some useful ways to find and attract the developer of your dreams to help you achieve startup success.
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- Ask your friends to set you up. Trust is key when finding the right person to run a company with. A pre-existing bond goes a long way in creating that trust. When I founded Strikingly, my co-founders were people I had personal connections with.
Even if you don’t know someone personally, your inner circle might have a good match in mind. See who your friends know, or do a search on Facebook or LinkedIn for acquaintances with the background you need. It might seem intimidating to approach distant connections with a business proposition out of the blue (or ask a friend to introduce you), but people are usually more receptive when there’s some kind of mutual connection.
- Put yourself out there. Despite its advantages, not everyone will find the right match within his or her circle of friends. That’s why it’s also important to go to what you might call the “singles mixers” of the startup world.
Events and meetups geared toward like-minded entrepreneurs are great places to find someone who meshes with your own sensibilities. While you might have to work harder to establish a base of trust with a stranger, these events are meant for networking and should have plenty of developers looking for the right entrepreneur to partner with.
How to Convince Your Potential Co-Founder You’re the Real Deal
Once you’ve found someone you’d like to work with, the challenge becomes convincing your soon-to-be co-founder that you’re serious. A lot of people have great ideas, but to convince a skilled developer to take a chance on you, it’s important to show that you’re not all talk and no action.
Create an attractive landing page. Focus on creating a destination on the Web for your project. If a developer sees you have put the time and effort into creating an online identity for your brand, he’s more likely to take you seriously.
You don’t need to build a fancy site — a simple landing page works just fine, and you don’t even need coding chops to get it done. There are plenty of services that enable you to create a nice Web presence in minutes, and even a simple site is a symbol that you’re committed to bringing your idea to life.
Demonstrate real-world interest. A landing page can be more than just a pretty face. Adding a simple sign-up box to the page gives you the opportunity to collect a solid base of email addresses as tangible proof that there’s a market for your product.
It’s not difficult to get people to sign up. Tell a friend about the site, and ask her to tell her friends. If the product is compelling, it should create a snowball effect in sign-ups. If you’re a little further along with your idea, you can submit your site to places like Beta List, which provides valuable publicity to startups still in their infancy.
Showcase your skills. Even though you’re focused on attracting a tech-savvy co-founder, it’s important to remember that a developer needs you as much as you need him. When talking with a potential business partner, make sure you highlight what you bring to the table:
- Experience. While your co-founder may have expansive technical knowledge, there’s a good chance he’s never run a business before. A proven track record is a huge benefit to anyone starting a new venture. Even failures can be an advantage if you can show what you learned from them. Real-world experience is more valuable than you may think.
- Expertise. Are you a marketing expert? Do you excel at fundraising? Isolate your best skills, and make sure the person you’re doing business with knows what they are. The best partnership is one where both sides support each other’s strengths and complement each other’s weaknesses.
It’s good to remember that in the early stages of a startup, some of the most important things are the most intangible. Good chemistry and a strong passion are essential when venturing into new waters. There are a lot of challenges and obstacles on the path to startup success; that’s why it’s important to find the right person to face them with.