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Sasha Joseph
Asked a question 3 years ago

How do I find good technical co-founder for a start up?

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Rajnish SharmaTop Contributor
Content Creator || Android App Developer

You've got to be the business partner that a technical co-founder would want. If you're asking yourself "How can I find a technical co-founder" you're not going to find a good one.

Sheer probability is against you.


  • How many people do you know that are technical?
  • What percentage of them is a self-starter?
  • Who among them is willing to quit a well paying job (read: at least 6 figures)?
  • What are the odds they'd rather work on your idea than their own?

A competent developer has gotten an education at least as rigorous as a top MBA program. And has 5 years of real world experience to back it up. Can you say the same about yourself?

A great programmer is still not an expert sysadmin, designer, DBA, or tester. Are you able to handle all the sales, marketing, accounting, and investor relations?

An intelligent, driven person is going to have their own ideas. Do you expect them to accept yours?

Some things you can do to help you prove to potential technical co-founders that you're serious:

1. Have a detailed product description.
This includes wireframes, mockups, feature descriptions, target markets and customer segments, and business strategies.

2. Have a slick looking front end.
You need to have an eye catching logo, a decent site design, and a working website. It should have *at least* your description including a call to action (e.g. registration), and a contact form.

3. Have a social media presence.
You need to have a blog on your website with lots of content describing both your product and your business model. You should be posting on other blogs and mailing lists, both asking and answering questions. You have a twitter account with lots of real followers.

4. Have done lots of customer development.
You have done surveys. You have a phone script and made at least 100 cold calls -- and gotten feedback from at least 10 decision makers. You have done at least a dozen detailed interviews. You have a pitch deck that's worn out.

5. Have a network
You need to have the personal contact information of at least one investor. You need to have domain knowledge in the field your selling. You should have at least 3 potential customers who have expressed interest in buying your product once developed (again, if you don't have their direct phone number, it doesn't count.) Multiply this number by 10 if you're selling a mass consumer product (under $50) -- by 100 if it is free -- by 1000 if it's a social network.

6. Have money you're willing to spend
You should have spend money on design, prototype, hosting, business cards, conferences, etc. A developer month is worth $10,000. What do you bring to the table? I think it's reasonable to pay them half salary ($5000/month) and give them 50% equity. You might be able to get away with a third if they really believe in the idea.

Ideas are worth less than polluted air. If all you're bringing to the table is an idea, you'd better back it up with a $100,000 investment. Either your own money or someone who believes in you enough to invest it.

Because entering a partnership with your own idea is a handicap. Your co-founder has ideas too. Unless you can agree on the idea and the execution, you're not going to get anywhere.

Remember, a business-person is just as easy to hire as a developer -- and a lot less scarce.