How to Find a Technical Co-founder for Your Startup in 7 Steps: [A Step-By-Step Process]
Are you a serial entrepreneur or avid investor needing a technical co-founder? If yes, this article is curated to provide cut-throat insights into how to find a tech co-founder partner.
You’ll learn the following in this article:
- Definition of a technical co-founder,
- When you need a technical co-founder,
- Roles of CTO in a startup,
- Where to find a technical co-founder,
- Steps to finding tech co-founder,
- Equity to share with your tech co-founder,
- Tips for choosing highly valuable tech co-founders,
- And more!
If you’re looking for some practical strategies you can use in your startup today, go right to the bonus infographic.
Without further ado, let’s delve into more details of how to find a technical co-founder at a startup.
What is a Technical Co-Founder?
A technical co-founder is a startup partner that helps create relevant digital products by providing valuable tech-based skills and insights.
Ideally, this individual should be very committed to taking responsibility for all development and maintenance projects and have in-depth knowledge of the processes involved here.
However, numerous research by reputable organizations suggests that tech co-founders aren’t necessary for certain startups.
We’ll consider some proven cases where you don’t need one to save time. Perhaps, you could just hassle through it all by yourself.
When Don’t You Need a Technical Co-Founder?
The only reason why you don’t need a tech co-founder as a non-technical founder is when you need to create a product to test-run your idea quickly.
For example, you want to make an MVP to gauge market response to your solution. If this condition holds for you, then you shouldn’t hire a tech co-founder, but do any of the following.
Common Alternatives to Hiring a Technical Co-Founder
Hire a Team of Developers
You can hire a workforce of programmers with in-depth knowledge of the process of creating your desired minimum-viable product.
There are multiple hiring models to consider. However, it’s best to hire a dedicated development team that can work laser-focused on your MVP, within a stipulated time frame.
Dedicated teams are ideal as they can be made to work for a short timeframe, fitting the object of the MVP.
Use No-code Platforms
No-code platforms are easy-to-use software systems that provide a template for non-technical users to execute software without coding.
These platforms use drag-and-drop features, allowing builders to visualize the entire implementation process and quickly determine the user experience.
Use a Landing Page
However, the expectation isn’t much, and development can be fast.
Irrespective of your preferred option, you still need in-house expertise; either a CTO or a full-stack internal developer will suffice.
When Do You Need to Look for a Technical Co-Founder?
Having a tech co-founder can be immensely beneficial. But how do you spot when you need one? Here are two cases signifying it’s time to partner with a co-founder.
Case 1. You Want to Scale an MVP into a Feature-Rich Product
Here, the founder has an idea to create a website or mobile app but lacks the technical knowledge to create the product.
In such an instance, it’s best to partner with a CTO-as-a-Service company than hiring full-time experts, as they offer you cost-effective skill expertise.
After validating your idea via a string of successful MVP feedback from your target users, the CTO will provide you with insights on adjustments.
The CTO will ensure that you have a robust software architecture that can handle planned scaling, oversee in-house workflow, or oversight for outsourced development partners.
According to a report from the startup genome, over 90% of startups fail when trying to scale. As such, you need every help you can get–especially that of a seasoned CTO.
Case 2. When You lack the Technical Expertise to Create Your Product
Have a validated idea and requisite funds but lack the technical expertise to create a live product? Then you need a technical co-founder for the web or mobile app development phase.
The ideal expert to partner with is a full-stack CTO. Who’s this?
A full-stack CTO is one with an understanding of frontend and backend development processes. Another plus is data engineering, data science, QA, UI/UX, and SEO expertise.
Although it’s impossible to be seasoned in all those roles, a good overview of the processes involved is best for optimum results.
Now that you know when exactly to hire a CTO, you’re probably more curious about the specifics of the roles they’ll play. Let’s discuss this.
What Role Does a CTO Play?
A chief technology officer in a startup is an individual responsible for mapping the organization’s technical strategy, drafting the architecture of your solutions, choosing tech stacks, and managing the development and maintenance team.
To provide you with an in-depth knowledge of what they actually do, we’ll break down the roles into the following.
|People and process manager||Just like other C-level team members, they manage team members and map out their workflow.
One example of the process it can manage is mobile app development which entails:
|Technical strategy establishment||The CTO understands the company’s business model and establishes the technical strategy needed to achieve that aim.
For example, they guide SEO strategy for most new startups.
|Your options curator||CTOs find options for technical impediments in the development and maintenance process.|
|MVP development||Many early-stage startups require a CTO with full-stack development knowledge and can create the product from scratch.
They’re primarily responsible for the overall quality of the solution.
|IT professionals hiring and coaching||CTOs in conjunction with the human resource teams test prospects’ technical skills and coach them.|
What else? Let’s discuss where to find the right technical co-founder.
Where to Look for a Technical Co-Founder?
You can find suitable technical co-founders both on the internet and by referral.
You can find partners online via social media platforms, LinkedIn, search engine platforms, online meetups, online startup communities, etc.
Searching for tech co-founders offline can be cumbersome. However, you can tap into the pool of friends, Co-Founders Lab, hackathons, and referrals from business partners.
Let’s provide more details on where to find tech co-founders.
|Where to Find||Description|
|Angelist||Angelist is a platform that connects startups with investors and workers.
There are multiple tech experts on Angellist, some of which are open to taking CTO roles.
|Online meetups||These are conferences held to discuss a specific subject. Examples of meetups are IndieHackers, OnlineGeniuses, and the UK Startup’s Conference.|
|Co-founders lab||This is arguably the most prominent website to meet and connect with co-founders operating in any niche.|
|Social media platforms||Social networks allow you to communicate with people, share ideas with them, and listen to their opinions.
Once you do that, you can know if a prospective co-founder is fit for your idea.
|LinkedIn is a network for professionals to connect with themselves and organizations.
You can search for professionals based on experience and tech stacks to communicate with one who best suits your startup’s needs.
|Referrals||Over 40% of human resource additions happen via referrals.
This is a traditional, effective way of finding talents for organizations.
You can ask within your circle of influence for referrals on highly experienced and talented technical experts.
Speak with them, and see if they’re willing to join your company.
|Freelance Platforms||You can find technical co-founders on freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, etc.
Before asking them to join as a co-founder, check their reviews, vet their skills, and ensure that they’re passionate about your idea.
|Y-Combinator’s Startup School Forum||This is a forum for individuals interested in owning a startup, and are keen on learning something via Startup School.
You can easily find a suitable co-founder by approaching a person of interest on the site.
Once you find a technical co-founder with the right skill sets, what else? Let’s delve right into that.
How to Choose a Technical Co-Founder?
To choose the right partner as a non-technical co-founder, ensure that you stick with these steps:
- Define all expectations and requirements,
- Set up a list of markers,
- Interview prospects,
- Compare and choose the most preferred talent.
Let’s discuss each point in detail.
Step 1. Define Your Expectations and Requirement from a Co-Founder
Once you’re certain that your startup requires a co-founder, the next step is writing a detailed description of the ideal co-founder your organization needs.
Highlight the answers to the following questions:
- What skill set should your perfect technical partner possess?
- What’s the best personality trait?
- Would you instead opt for experience in a specific niche?
According to Entrepreneur, a complementary co-founder is the first trait to consider when founding a startup.
As such, ensure that you aim for a technical co-founder whose characteristics complement the diversity in your skill sets, background, and experiences.
Step 2. Set Up a List of Prospects
Once you’ve identified the kind of co-founder you need, draft a list of as many people as possible who fit the description of your ideal technical co-founder.
Double-check to ensure that everyone that makes that list has a succinct idea of the intricacies of your startup.
Distinctively defining your expectations early on helps to avoid situations where you end up interviewing people with absolutely no interest in your startup’s niche or the roles you want them to handle.
Step 3. Interview Prospects
Once you’ve highlighted some names that pique your interest, start scheduling interviews with them. You may do this online or offline.
Vet the following while interviewing prospects:
- Software development prowess,
- Capacity to build a technical team,
- Product development strategies,
- Knowledge of algorithms, varying programming languages, and frameworks,
- Communication skills,
- Interest in your startup idea,
- Ensure you’re like-minded people,
- Past entrepreneurship experiences,
- Amount of equity they’re requesting,
Step 4. Compare and Choose the Ideal Co-Founder
Compare your options based on answers to your interview questions. And from the least of prospects, select one that best aligns with your technical and business needs.
Once you’ve chosen a co-founder, do the following:
- Establish a transparent communication medium. Especially for remote partnerships
- Agree on the share vesting process and percentage ownership
- Clarify short-term and long-term goals
- Agree on shared and individual responsibilities
- Establish key performance indicators to track growth.
A significant point of disagreement between founders and co-founders is equity sharing. Let’s discuss this in detail.
How Much Equity to Share with a Technical Co-founder?
The outstanding equity to share with your technical co-founder depends on their contribution and qualification.
For example, the tech co-founder may opt for about 50% equity in the business in startups whose core focus is around technical innovation.
There are multiple methods to calculate your equity ratio. One such method is the Founder’s Pie calculator.
Here, the emphasis is on distributing shares fairly via several differently weighted metrics based on their importance in forming the startup.
For a hi-tech startup, the ideal weight should be around.
|Risk and commitment||7|
Score each co-founder by their score, and allocate equity based on that. Alternatively, you can simply use your instinct as a means of judging who gets what.
7 Tips to Finding, Choosing, and Hiring a Tech Co-founder
To choose the best co-founder, it’s imperative to approach the search, selection, and onboarding process with top-notch insights.
To help you achieve your aim of hiring the most seasoned partner, here are some tips to consider:
- Hire a co-founder that believes in your idea,
- Opt for a co-founder with complementary qualities,
- Tech partners must have a needed skill set,
- Prioritize reliability,
- Undertake a test project
- Favor tech partners with previous joint work history
- Similar work ethics.
Let’s break down each point so that you can have more insight.
Tip 1. Recruit a Believer
When choosing a co-founder, opt for someone that believes in your objectives, goals, and overall concept of your idea enough to take requisite risks.
Ask yourself the question: is the co-founder equally obsessed with solving this problem?
They ensure your mission and objectives are well incorporated into the development workflow and your UI/UX designs appropriately depict your brand.
Tip 2. Prioritize Co-Founders With Complementary Qualities
Opt for co-founders that complement your character.
For example, opt for a conservative co-founder if you’re a risk taker.
If you’re a cautious person, seek a bold and charismatic partner.
The purpose here is to onboard a partner that brings new strengths to your team, including counterbalancing ideas and a new mindset.
Tip 3. Ensure the Co-founder Fills Gaps in Your Skillset
The higher your partner’s skill set, the better. A statistic by HBS accelerate suggests that a balanced team with a technical founder and a business founder will raise 30% more than a one-person startup.
Thus, opt for a partner whose skill set does not duplicate your area of expertise.
For example, if you’re knowledgeable in sales and project management, opting for a technical co-founder with a skill set that covers other skills is best.
They also enjoy 300% more growth and are less likely to scale prematurely.
Tip 4. Prioritize Reliability
A reliable co-founder is one you can trust to complete specific tasks and offer timely input to development.
Your co-founder must be skilled in requisite stacks to handle all technical activities needed to develop, maintain, and optimize your product.
In addition, they should also be willing to devote the time required to bring projects to fulfillment.
It’s the compendium of skill and time that defines a reliable co-founder.
Tip 5. Test With a Side Gig
Test the prospective co-founder’s tech expertise by providing them with a test project. Accessing someone is easier when you’re creating a live app or website.
While developing the side gig, consider how the person operates under pressure.
Are they solution minded? How do they act in conflict? Challenges often reveal people’s true colors and allow you to know them better.
Tip 6. Have Similar Work Habit
According to Harvard Business Review, mismatches in work hours and efforts often result in resentment.
As such, make sure you choose a co-founder with a similar work ethic. They should be willing to dedicate lots of time to making your solution a reality.
Tip 7. History of Working Together
If suitable, opt for a co-founder with whom you’ve had a positive history of collaboration.
Familiarity guarantees smoother cooperation, as trust is already established beforehand-this is especially beneficial if you’ve created a product together.
By adhering to every tip in this section, you’ll undoubtedly answer the question of how to find a technical co-founder in a company.
Are you Interested in Finding a Technical Co-Founder?
Upon reading this article on how to find a technical co-founder for a company, I’m pretty sure that you’re ready to get started.
At SpdLoad, we help bridge the gap in providing technical guidance to your team with our CTO-on-demand services.
Doubt our pedigree, glance through our portfolio, or read through the reviews we’ve gotten on Clutch. Get started with our CTO on-demand services today.
In order to save you time, we have decided to make a summary of our detailed guide.
In it you will learn not only how to find a technical co-founder, but also when you need a CTO and some tips on the employment process.