May 19, 2019

Best strategy to meet quality co-founders?

Kevin Burton @burtonator

What's the best strategy to meet a quality co-founder?

I'm looking at raising money and it seems to be 'conventional' wisdom that solo founders have an uphill battle.

I imagine I can come in with STELLAR numbers and still get funding but we're not there yet.

One idea is to just post on a job board but right now we don't have enough money to pay salaries until we get funding.

  1. 2

    A cofounder is a multi-year partnership, so my view is to treat it the same way you would treat "meeting" a "quality" wife or husband. I.E. Stop thinking transactionally and instead look for opportunities to bump into the types of folks you'd like to partner up with, and then "date" them by working on small, unofficial mini-side projects together (e.g. launch a website, run an event, do a couple customer meetings together, make some clickable wireframes, etc. etc.). After meeting and "dating" lots of potential cofounders, you can pop the question and talk long-term partnerships. Takes a bunch of time, but I don't know a faster way if you want/need a full cofounder.

    Investors do have a strong bias against solo founders, unfortunately. But as your company matures, that bias disappears, since you're already past the most dangerous part. As you mention, if you can bootstrap until the numbers point in the right direction, the problem vanishes. Alternately, if you can tweak the business model to be customer-funded instead of VC funded, the problems also disappear.

    If you just want to hire someone, one option is to hire someone junior with lots of potential who hasn't yet been trained in a way which activates their inherent value. For example I hired several waiters and waitresses for project management and client-facing tasks, since they were super organized and good with people. They never even applied for the job, I just approached them and proposed something after seeing how good they were at their jobs (I spent a lot of time working out of cafes). Some of them later became full-time with me at very low salaries (but still better than they made in service), and I spent a lot of effort training them up and ensuring their next job would be a huge step forward financially for them.

  2. 1

    It is better to be alone than a bad co-founder. You should go to networking events and talk with the most passionate person,because you need a strong partner in hard moments

    1. 2

      This is actually really good advice... passion and drive can move mountains.

  3. 1

    I'm solo too! I did work with someone but their input was so poor (barely anything ) it was best we just parted ways.

    If you find the right fit co-founder then you're EXTREMELY lucky. You and your co-founders will build the foundation of your companies culture!

    Go to meetups and networking events. I would probably look for someone who is willing to work hard for equity than paying them a salary

Recommended Posts